This is an exciting time for Canadian baseball fans. Over my time watching the sport at least, I have never seen the Blue Jays competing for a playoff spot this far into the season.
As someone who was born in 1994, I missed the opportunity to see Joe Carter touch ‘em all. From my vantage point, this may be the best team Toronto has had in my lifetime.
As a longtime observer of the Blue Birds, I had been used to hype leading to disappointment. When they acquired R.A. Dickey, as well as Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle before the 2013 season, they were supposed to be the team to beat in the AL east. But, for the next two seasons, they missed the post season and extended Major League baseball’s longest playoff drought to 21 years.
I do admit I was skeptical from the start of this season because of their prior track record. However, for the first time it seems that hype is meeting reality in Toronto.
If the Jays last series against the Angels, where they set a franchise record for hits and runs in a series, is any indication, it appears that there are many good times ahead for playoff starving fans.
For the first time, it seems the team’s pitching is set with former Cy Young winners R.A. Dickey and David Price, as well as Mark Buehrle on top of his game.
As Canadian Don Cherry has proclaimed him, the Jays also appear to have the league MVP in Josh Donaldson, who leads the birds in hits with 145 and in batting average at .302.
In the past, it has been the firepower that has been there and not the pitching. But now the birds seem to have the perfect package. Bigtime hitters such as Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, good defence from the outfield and a spectacular pitching squad.
The team seems to have the confidence and swagger of a winning team. Case in point, Jose Bautista told TSN in a recent interview that the team feels like they “can’t lose any game.” As many sports fans will probably know, when you feel like you can win, more often than not, you do. It is a formula for success, confidence equals victories. A perfect example would be last season’s Toronto Maple Leafs. They had no confidence by the final leg of the season and thus could not win hockey games.
Soak it in and enjoy it baseball fans, because this may be the closest thing to a World Series calibre team that Toronto will get. Let the good times roll!
It was the end of an era for our family last week, as the family car I nicknamed “Black Beauty” met its final demise.
Coming as a shock to us all, our 11- year- old Pontiac Grand Am received a final blow, when the brake line decided to go. After several past repairs such as a new transmission and brake replacements, it was no longer feasible to put any more money into an old car, and the search for a replacement began.
As many people will probably know, this is a step involving a lot of thinking and deliberation as it is to decide your future transportation. You start to think of questions such as ‘What can I afford?’, ‘Can I see myself driving this for the next ten years?” and so on.
Luckily, the search was short, as a healthy new Chevrolet Cruze has officially been adopted into our family. However, I have yet to choose a nickname for it.
A new car comes with many perks. First, there is the new car smell. This is something that I swear we need to find a way to bottle.
Second is the opportunity to play around. The newer the car, the more buttons or gizmos to play around with and discover. It creates a new learning adventure that is endless fun for all.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the new brakes factor. As the car is newer, the brake system is a lot more sensitive, and thus you don’t need to apply as much pressure for them to be activated. This has been something to get used to, but is a big plus for the experience.
At the same time, this has been a big step for me as well as my family as well. Having the original vehicle as long as we did, I had gotten used to the subtleties of the vehicle: The ticking noise it made every little while, how much pressure to apply to it when accelerating or braking, and where all the necessary buttons were located. Also, not seeing a large black vehicle in the driveway is another thing that I am adjusting to.
The old car had served us well, getting us to family vacations, community events and just simply from work to home and vice versa. If that car could talk, it would probably have a lot of interesting stories to tell.
But now, we have a chance to create some new memories and have some new adventures with this new car. Rest easy, old Grand Am, you’ve earned it.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy