The Death of Baseball in Toronto

The Blue Jays have released B.J. Ryan. He probably has about $14-15 million left on that $47 million deal they gave him. That’s on top of the $99 million or so they owe Vernon Wells through 2014, the $61 million or so they owe Alex Rios through 2014, and the combined $26.5 million or so they owe Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay through next year. As a result, the Jays have to trade Roy Halladay to save money. Those other dudes will still be hanging around.

As Pete mentioned in the comments yesterday, attendance in Toronto stinks. As he wrote last winter, the future of baseball in Toronto is rather ugly as well.

What a mess. Toronto is something like the fifth largest market in baseball, which probably makes them the second or third largest single-team market. They’re certainly the only team that has a whole country to itself in many important respects. They used to outdraw everyone. They used to win all of the time. Yesterday Pete said that he “wouldn’t be surprised if there is no MLB in Toronto in a handful or several years.” I don’t know if I’m that pessimistic, but it’s certainly beyond depressing.

What, or who, killed baseball in Toronto?


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Kevin S.
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Kevin S.

Given the Mets’ absolute dearth of minor-league talent, the best way for them to add a player would be to flex their financial might.  If they offered Toronto a crappy non-prospect to take Vernon Wells’ contract off their hands, the Jays would have to do it, right?

Arun
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Arun

J.P Ricciardi and Gord Ash?

Alex K
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Alex K

Matt Wieters killed baseball in Toronto. He decided he didn’t want to play in Canada, and Matt Wieters gets what Matt Wieters wants.

Vin
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Vin

Kevin: Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that Vernon Wells is basically lesser Carlos Beltran. I’d guess the Mets could put him in a corner, but he’d be below-average there (though still better than Daniel Murphy). It’s not the worst idea in the world, but I think someone like Adam Dunn would be better fit for the Mets.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
Point the fingers at the fans, or what is termed as “fans” in the great white north. When attendance was up it was because of a boom and a subsequent height in popularity (two world series championships and a playoff caliber team will do that to even the smallest market – see Cleveland). However, when things began to go a little north, the “fans” turned on the organization, from the players, to the ownership, to the front office. Keep in mind that over the last decade this has been one of the more successful teams in baseball (posting a winning… Read more »
bpasinko
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bpasinko

Dunn would certainly be a better fit but he would also require prospects, and good ones at that.  Wells would seemingly require nothing to get in a trade, so if the Mets are willing to spend they can have themselves a better OF than they currently have.  However, at this point with Beltran and Reyes still weeks maybe a month+ away, trading for Wells or anyone rather, may be a bad idea.

devil_fingers
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devil_fingers

While Vernon Wells was a very good player a few years ago, at this point, he is a lesser version of Carlos Beltran in the same way that Mike Jacobs is a lesser version of Mark Teixeira.

I’ve lived in the GTA for years now, and if you ask people around here, they’ll say what killed baseball here was the ‘94 strike.

Connecticut Mike
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Connecticut Mike

JP has done a horrendous job, there is really no doubt about it.  Instead of following the Rays’ model of building from within, they tried to spend with the Sox and the Yanks.  They do seem to be coming up with some promising young players lately, so maybe they have learned their lesson. 

I watch almost every Sox game, and I dislike watching them play in Toronto because the place is like a morgue.  The only highlight used to be that they had attractive bartenders/servers working the expensive seats behind homeplate, but even that seems to be gone now.

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

If the ‘94 strike killed baseball in Toronto, then baseball was never very alive there in the first place. All I can add is that I watched Expo and Jays games in their home stadiums. I always felt that the fans were waiting for a hockey game to break out, and were disappointed when it didn’t. Maybe getting to see games on real grass fields would have helped.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau

Interesting discussion as to why Detroit and Cleveland are somehow immune to the same problems that allegedly are dooming Toronto. Oh wait. That would require some critical thinking beyond the Sky(dome) is Falling!

Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly
I am a Chicago Cubs fan and thus, I know what it is like to be the financial powerhouse in my division.  Current ownership juggling aside, I know that my team has the best resources available to squash a Brewer/Cardinal/Astro uprising.  Any credit given Jim Hendry for anything he’s ever done doesn’t belong to him, it belongs to $$$$$$.  The Cubs have been a playoff team two years running for the first time in my life and it would never have happened if the Cubs didn’t have the wherewithal to overpay Soriano, Zambrano, Fukudome, Lee, etc.  (Seriously, how many bad… Read more »
Ben2009
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Ben2009
I think it’s more accurate to say no that JP Riccardi killed baseball in Toronto – because it was probably dead or dying when he got there – but that he’s done nothing to revive it.  Some of this is bad luck – who knew Wells would crater the way he has; before they signed him, Toronto was already being preemptively ripped for not signing him.  Same with Rios – looked, at the time, like a really good player.  Just didn’t work out and now they’re saddled. Other contracts, like Ryan’s or Rolen’s, however, are JP’s fault. Toronto used to… Read more »
Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
“JP has done a horrendous job, there is really no doubt about it.” Horrendous? Because his team has been a .500 club for the last decade plus? Let’s not get too excited about the Rays single season of success. Yes it happened, but a team that is currently 4.5 games out of the playoffs mid way through the season does not look to be on their way to revisiting the postseason this season. Another point I don’t get is claiming that the Jays were big players in free agency. Over the last handful of years their big free agent signings… Read more »
mkd
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mkd

It’s their stupid stupid uniforms. And I’m not just saying that, it’s a scientific fact.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
Rolen’s contract is JP’s fault? And that is being said as a bad thing? According to FanGraphs WAR Salary calculator Rolen was worth an additional $1.3M over what he would have been projected to make as a free agent in 2008. This season, in a more typical healthy Rolen season, he is poised to be in the $6-8M value gain range. So if JP is to blame for Rolen’s contract, then he is to blame for doing a good thing. It boils down to people not fairly evaluating the job JP does. People still harp about his failure to draft… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

I like the uniforms theory. But as for the AL East conspiracy—-I’m sorry, but if your appreciation of baseball rests on whether your team is going to make the post-season or not, then you don’t really like baseball all that much. Toronto has had good teams playing good baseball most of the time for close to 20 years now. If the fans won’t support that, I think it’s a stretch to blame the Red Sox and Yankees.

Pete Toms
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Pete Toms
Geez, look what happens when you’re away from the internet for 18 or 19 hours!  I’m surprised (pleasantly) that there is this much reaction to a post about pro ball in our “home and native land”. Without looking back on what I wrote this winter and in no particular order, the future of pro ball in Toronto is threatened by; 1. Ownership.  Big media companies – Time Warner, FOX, Disney – did a 180 and decided pro sports franchises weren’t a good fit with their business model.  I suspect Rogers might reach the same conclusion (the Toronto papers were rife… Read more »
Ben2009
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Ben2009
Jack said: “I’m sorry, but if your appreciation of baseball rests on whether your team is going to make the post-season or not, then you don’t really like baseball all that much. Toronto has had good teams playing good baseball most of the time for close to 20 years now. If the fans won’t support that, I think it’s a stretch to blame the Red Sox and Yankees.” Is it really too much for fans to ask for their team to make the playoffs every once in a while?  Or how about just being a serious contender in September every… Read more »
Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly
Jack, I never said that my appreciation, or anyone else’s appreciation, of baseball is predicated on my team making the post-season.  I am a 32 year-old Cubs fan who has seen his team make the playoffs just 6 times in my lifetime, please don’t mischaracterize my comments like that.  For me, it’s not necessarily that the team needs to make the playoffs or win the World Series, it’s the HOPE that they might (we Cubs fans are known for our reckless optimism after all).  It’s my guess that the hope dies quicker for fans of the Orioles, Jays, & Rays… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

Oh please. “Bay not bought” is right. Manny’s free agent status—-8 years earlier!!—-doesn’t turn a trade into a purchase. Pittsburgh ended up with three players of various potential—-Moss, Laroche,and Hansen, in trade for Bay. How is that a purchase?

Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle

Why was Bay available again?

Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly
I would defer to Pete Toms as the expert on Toronto baseball so I have nothing to add there.  Two other things: 1.  It should not be difficult for people to understand the very different financial realities faced by the Yankees/Red Sox vs. the other clubs in their division.  Arguing about Bay or Manny or AROD or anyone else is just a distraction.  The distinctions are obvious. 2.  I think it’s wonderful that Jack grew up in a time where winning didn’t matter, it was just about the love of sport and the purity of it all.  That all sounds… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
Tim: I never said there weren’t empty seats. There are always fans who only care about winning teams, and the presence or absence of those fans affect the bottom line, often critically. These are the people who will jeer at team icons in their waning years. I just find it amazing, coming from an era in which every single team in the American League realized annually that the chances of anyone but the Yankees winning the pennant were slim and none, that people can seriously offer the argument that the strength of Boston and New York depress the enjoyment of… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
You guys talk like the Jays are the Nationals. The Jays have been spectacularly unlucky with injuries the past two years. It happens. If Wells and Rios had not declined, if the young pitchers not come down lame, if all that pitching depth could have been converted into depth elsewhere, I don’t think it’s at all certain that the Jays wouldn’t have a play-off team. And what stopped the Jays from trading for Jason Bay (who was not “bought”)?  The Pirates gave him up for some minor leaguers. The Jays have the resources to compete in the East, and so… Read more »
Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau
I took Jack’s point to mean that if winning is the end-all, be-all for a fan, then (s)he’s not a true fan of the game, but of the bandwagon. That may sting, but that’s only because the truth hurts. The knee-jerk reaction that winning is required to attract these “fans” is also correct; it simply downplays, if not ignores, the fair-weather nature thereof. The fact of the matter is that there are more reasons to go to a baseball game than just to see the hometown team win. Stan Kasten may have been a little over the top in welcoming… Read more »
Kevin S.
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Kevin S.

I’m sorry, this Yankees/Red Sox whining is quite annoying.  This decade, the Yankees and Red Sox have both made the playoffs in four of nine years.  In those other five years, they could have beaten out another AL team for a WC berth (in 2006, in fact, they DID finish ahead of the Sox, though not the Tigers), and they failed to.

Rule 76: No excuses, play like a champion.

Jason B
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Jason B
As a Blue Jays fan in Braves/Cards/Reds country (Tennessee), I can only chime in that yes, it is maddening how little margin for error the team has.  Things have broken badly for the Jays over the last couple of years, as Jack rightly points out; while every team deals with injury issues, some are able to bob along and remain in contention in a thoroughly mediocre divison (witness the Mets).  Some are able to buy and trade their way out of their injury woes.  Injuries pile up in Toronto, and you can barely make out the Yankees and Red Sox… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
I wonder how much of that feeling is tied to hockey and basketball cultures, in which the regular season is just a warm-up for play-offs. I became a baseball fan in a city where you knew the team had no shot at all, and that the goal would be to finish a place higher than the previous year. 3 games out of 4th in September is what mattered, not the 24 out of first. First? Are you kidding me? But the games were exciting and it was our team. I saw great plays. I saw great players. I saw games… Read more »
MatthewA
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MatthewA
@Johnny Tuttle: Amen. I remember reading Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette shortly after the Expos’ last game (yes, I’m aware Todd is a grouchier, more-Canadian Mike Lupica). But he argued the point that what happened in Montreal didn’t have to happen. It took a concerted effort by MLB to ignore what was happening rather than do something legitimate to fix the mess. They drew over 3 million fans a season in the late ‘70s – so the interest was definitely there. Once the Expos became wards of MLB, it was over. So you’re absolutely right. If the fans stayed… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
Now, the Expos are another story. It would take quite a fan to keep going to that mint green horror the Expos had to play in. And if my team was finally looking like it was going to make a Series run after 25 years and baseball picked that season to shut down the season and the Series…well, let’s put it this way: if there had been a strike in 1967 just as the Red Sox were in their first pennant race since 1950, I wouldn’t bet that the team would still be in Boston today. Blaming the strike is… Read more »
Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly
Having a chance to win matters, and it matters for nearly everyone.  You don’t need to win, but you need to demonstrate the capacity for winning at a minimum to keep a large % of your fanbase interested, and more importantly, willing to spend their money to support you.  The original question was about what killed baseball in Toronto and I stand by my original argument:  Fans in Toronto have the deck stacked against them.  No one is arguing about how genuine the fans are in Toronto, or whether they have hard-core fans, or the nature of bandwagons.  Go read… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

And yet, ironically, Red Sox and Yankee games, of which the Blue Jays have significantly more than teams in the other AL divisions—-22% of their home games—-, are by far their most lucrative.

Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
Again, Tim Kelley’s got a nice post on the second page. Sure, they make money in the short term off of the Sox and Yanks. Someone before said that we should consider it a strength for MLB that these two teams are strong, and here’s a reason why that’s true. That can’t, doesn’t, or will never change that the Sox and Yanks and their budgets consign the Rays/Orioles/Jays to the second division barring the exceptional. The Blue Jays did get a cheap skate owner in the late 90s and early 00s, but generally have been a fairly large spender. For… Read more »
J. McCann
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J. McCann
There is parity in the National League, and all those teams have a chance to build a team and make the playoffs.  Good luck to Toronto and Baltimore though.  And in about 5 years after all their monster prospects become free agents and final arbitration year players, then Tampa Bay is done. Here is an idea:  Why not have the AL go back to 2 divisons of 7 teams with 2 wild cards.  This way there is room for another good team after the Yankees and Red Sox, plus the Jays get to still play the Yankees and Red Sox… Read more »
MatthewA
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MatthewA
@Jack: Excellent point. You can’t truly judge a fan base until a team reaches the playoffs. And judging by the Blue Jays attendance records in the early ‘90s, they showed up. One can argue that the ‘94 baseball strike short-circuited Toronto’s attendance momentum, and maybe derailed any chance at prolonged success by the Jays (even though they were 16 GB when the strike commenced). I’ll listen to that. But there’s something to be said about all that successful baseball not leading to bigger and better things. Fans are happy to see competitive baseball (I’m a Mets fan – I’d kill… Read more »
tadthebad
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tadthebad
My only point on the Sox aquiring Bay was that he was not strictly bought as a FA.  If Toronto had been willing to part with some of their prospects, couldn’t the Jays have dealt directly with Pittsburgh and not involved another club to complete a three-way trade?  I’m not suggesting that it would have been the smartest move for them, but it was possible, right?  And of course the resources of clubs make a huge difference with respect to potential to contend.  But as it stands now, the Red Sox have the fourth highest payroll in MLB (according to… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

What? If Bay wasn’t acquired in trade, then what’s a trade? He had two years on his contract, the Red Sox gave two minor leaguers to Pittsburgh for his contract, and the Dodgers threw in one player as their payment for getting two free months of Manny’s company. Bay was NOT a free agent by any stretch of the concept. He had no say in the transaction. The Pirates would have been thrilled to trade him to the Jays if the Jays had made the best offer.

Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly

Tad,

Yes the Cubs and Mets are high payroll clubs as well, but in the AL East you have *two* behemoths, not just one.  Swap the Yankees for the Nationals and tell me just how great life is going to be for the Braves, Phils, & Marlins…

tadthebad
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tadthebad
OK, fair point, Tim.  But still, Tampa has proven it can be done, and perhaps not only on a “one-and-done” basis.  Is there any reason Toronto, rather than TB, could not enjoy similar success?  It just seems to me that blaming the payroll disparities, without considering the business acumen of the front offices, ignores a rather large factor in the competitive balance argument.  I think beyond the money – a huge part, no question – the Yanks and Sox demonstrate the ability to make smart business and baseball decisions, and it’s that combo that really sets them apart.  Does Toronto… Read more »
Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
Part of the reason why Tampa Bay succeeded for at least one year was having had a top three pick in each round of the draft for more than a decade. Longorias, Prices, Crawfords, etc. don’t grow on trees. I’m hearing in this thread that only 4 of 9 years this decade have the Sox and Yanks made the playoffs together, and the Jays should be waiting for the other down years to compete. But then I hear as well that they should lose and lose big time to accumulate the highest draft picks. Does Toronto possess similarly talented front… Read more »
David
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David
(1) Considering the huge number of successful Canadians in MLB (off the top of my head: Jason Bay, Eric Bedard, Justin Morneau, Russell Martin, Scott Richmond, Matt Stairs….I’m sure there are at least a dozen more) and considering how popular they were in the 90’s (first team to draw 4m) saying that the team can’t draw in Canada is asinine.  There are clearly a lot of Canadians playing at a high level and there are clearly a lot of Canadians who’d pay to watch competitive baseball. (Incidentally, a player on the ‘93 Phillies team said that the Skydome was the… Read more »
Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly
Thank you Tad, and yes, I agree with you on two points there: 1)  The Red Sox & Yankees have smart people running their operations 2)  The Blue Jays could certainly enjoy similar success to Tampa Bay I don’t mean to ever claim that baseball in Toronto is hopeless.  I have been having the conversation with other people in the office here today (including a Twins fan, a Cardinals fan, and a Cubs fan) and no one I could find would want to be in the AL East with the Yankees and Red Sox.  Sure, the Blue Jays could have… Read more »
Kevin S.
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Kevin S.

“Part of the reason why Tampa Bay succeeded for at least one year was having had a top three pick in each round of the draft for more than a decade. Longorias, Prices, Crawfords, etc. don’t grow on trees.”

Crawford was taken 52nd overall.  Virtually every team had a shot at him.  That’s the thing, really.  Outside of Longoria, Upton, and Price, everybody else was acquired via a later draft pick, shrewd trades, or budget FA signings.  They hardly have a top-five draft pick manning every position on the team.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
“The mistakes that Ricciardi makes don’t go away, they linger.” But this draws back to the problem of Torontonian’s. Had Ricciardi not locked up Wells and he had left after the 2008 season – even after a relatively weak performance that year – the fans of Toronto would have been calling for Ricciardi’s head for letting another star get out of town – the same way they were when Delgado first left, although that tune has changed, at least a bit. Also, we need to disregard Mr. Marshall’s comments regarding a time when winning in baseball wasn’t #1. Were players… Read more »
Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
“Is there any reason Toronto, rather than TB, could not enjoy similar success?” Yes, there is. Toronto is a huge market with a variety of things to do. It also has a fairly weak baseball following to begin with (if you stopped and asked 10 people on the street who two non-Wells position players were, most would keep walking), it’s simply not a baseball town. That said, a dramatic drop in attendance would kill the Jays, and having a decade of around .400 baseball, while selling and never buying would bury this franchise that has an extremely valuable piece of… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

Boy, Brandon, now there’s a distortion worthy of The New York Post. Who said winning wasn’t the main thing? Winning’s great, and #1, whatever it is, is great in life too, but in life and in games, if you can’t enjoy #‘s 2-10, you’re missing a lot, and you’re going to be disappointed most of the time. I also believe I was talking about the fans, not the players, who, you know, HAVE to show up. But why pay attention to such trivial distinctions?

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop

And you think that if Vernon Wells said in a post game press conference “I’ve been stealing signs the last few weeks and we are winning” his fans would begin to boo him?

The fact is, fans view their time and money as an investment in the club. Only the most dedicated fan rarely support a loser for a long period. This is why fans refer to the team they support as “their team” and “us”, or “we”.

That being said, fans have, and always will, want to see a winner.

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

Brandon, that comment makes no sense whatsoever. Compose yourself. Your argument is a tautology. The most dedicated fans support a team when it’s losing, and the definition of a dedicated fan is one who does so. The Jays have not been “losers” unless you define “losers” as “not winning championships.” Real fans don’t like crummy teams, but they’ll support good ones that fall short of winning it all. Maybe you won’t, but it’s true.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop
Sorry, mis-worded my statement. It should have read, “Only the most dedicated fan will support” not “rarely will support”. Question, when did I state that the Jays have been losers? All along I have said the Jays have been extremely successful, which is one of the reasons why I think JP has done an outstanding job throughout his tenure. Please refrain from making this argument personal with comments such as “maybe you won’t”. This is a conversation about the Jays and about Jays fans. I am neither a Blue Jay (surprise) nor a Jays fan. I do have a lot… Read more »
Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
“The real baseball cities still are like that, aren’t they?” Yes, and that’s true in Toronto. Every team has a good, core base that’s going to stay there through thick and thin, and to suggest that that wasn’t there in Montreal or not there in Toronto now is silly. The two main points I have are: 1) Loria and MLB murdered baseball in Montreal. It wasn’t the park, apathy on the fans, or the strike (although the strike didn’t help). Loria killed baseball in Montreal. 2) You’re asking Toronto to (along with the Rays and Orioles) uniquely accept something no… Read more »
tadthebad
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tadthebad

Kind of some long and winding logic there, JTuttle.  Sox didn’t simply go out and spend more than anyone else to get Bay.  As stated earlier, Toronto had an opportunity to aquire Bay, but whether through ignorance or apathy, they did not.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop

People recall that some Ramirez guy was a part of the deal acquiring Bay, right? And while LaRoche had struggled in his limited big league playing time prior to the trade, he was still a highly touted youngster, maybe not in the mold of Travis Snider, but certainly not far from the value of Adam Lind.

That said, would the Jays be much better right now if they had replaced Bay with Lind? What about in 2011?

Nevertheless, the negativity shot at JP for not acquiring Bay is a joke.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau
The Nationals are the worst organization in baseball, in my opinion.  Nevermind the uniform (“Natinals”) incident, nevermind Elijah Dukes and the back-and-forth about firing Acta, nevermind the barren, taxpayer subsidized stadium that the residents resent.  No, this organization’s standing can be summed up in one anecdote: the team’s president phoned Philadelphia sports talk radio and pleaded with the opposing team’s fans to attend games at his team’s stadium. Yeah, I suppose it’s really, really easy to rebuild an organization after it had been plundered by Loria and raped by Omar Minaya and MLB. But thanks for not mentioning those facts,… Read more »
Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle

Hey, Tadd.

How did the Sox get Ramirez again?

Are there are differences between how the Pirates and Sox treated or are treating Bay’s pending free agency?

Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
Tim Kelly’s hit the nail on the head: the Blue Jays had a phenomenal run prevention year last year and were judged by Baseball Prospectus to have been a top 5-7 team overall for all of MLB. In virtually any other division, their record would have skyrocketed on strength of schedule, and culminated in a trip to the playoffs (at least potentially) with the concurrent revenue & attendance spikes that could have fueled more player aquisition and development. But instead they played in the same division with three of the only 5-6 better teams in the game and barely sniffed… Read more »
Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
Jack, any team has a hard core fan base, including for the Blue Jays, me. Also true is that any team reaps huge benefits from even one playoff appearance, something institutional denied from the Blue Jays. To overcome the unbalanced schedule even one year would be remarkable. (And kudos to the Rays for doing it and for the Orioles for lurking for 2011/12). B Pro documented the $ effects of even one playoff appearance, and they were substantial. In every other professional league or division of MLB, we have something approximating parity. We don’t in the AL East. It’s financially… Read more »
Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly

I think the test case is Tampa Bay.  As Tad points out, they have a good baseball ops department and anyone can see that they have a ton of talent at the major league and minor league levels.  Will this lead to long-term success in a division with NY & Boston?  I guess we’ll see…

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

OK, Brandon, I officially give up trying to follow your arguments. I can’t tell whether you are talking about actual Blue Jay fans or some fans of some abstract definition of “losers” you would not apply to the Jays. Never mind.

Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
I’d agree with Tim yet again if I weren’t so pessimistic for what happens to TB as its vaunted young talent reaches arbitration and FA in droves. Seriously? Someone questioned that the Rays were built through the draft, aided by higher choices there? And simultaneously dismissed that as “only” having yielded three blue chippers (Upton, Longoria, and Price)? The Blue Jays are a team caught in the old success cycle middle ground in that division (where they could very plausible win the AL West or NL Central). That ain’t rocket science, folks. They can’t outspend the Yanks and Sox. They… Read more »
Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop

Jack, I’m talking about 75% of “baseball fans” in Toronto. The ones who show up when the Sox or Yanks are in town. Not the small percentage that make the road trips down to Comerica or the Prog. These are the sports fans in Toronto that really could care less unless there is a big ticket event.

Brandon Heikoop
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Brandon Heikoop

Jack, I’m talking about 75% of “baseball fans” in Toronto. The ones who show up when the Sox or Yanks are in town. Not the small percentage that make the road trips down to Comerica or the Prog. These are the sports fans in Toronto that really could care less unless there is a big ticket event. This is why the UFC does so well in Canada, as does the Super Bowl.

Tim Kelly
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Tim Kelly

Johnny,

I’m pessimistic on TB too (and the Orioles), but I can’t say that I *know* (yet) that they can’t succeed.  I do think this system can only last so long, if TB does melt away and the O’s get derailed by some mistake or injury in a few years, change will have to happen…

tadthebad
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tadthebad

I’m confused.  Which is it?  Toronto doesn’t have enough money to compete with Red Sox/Yankees, or is it that Toronto doesn’t suck enough to get good draft picks a la Tampa Bay?  As mentioned above, not getting the very top draft position(s) can hardly be an excuse/reason for poor drafting.  Either way, I’m still unconvinced that a shrewd front office couldn’t make up for either.  TB has the money to craft a good baseball ops department, why not Toronto?

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