Tag Archives: MLB

Gary Sanchez: New York’s Next Superstar

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The New York Yankees had by far the most interesting season in all the MLB this year. To sum it up, their year had three parts. The first part ranged from opening day until the All-Star break, where fans saw a continuation of the previous season with their team showing flashes of greatness only followed by long periods of disappointment. Sporting an everyday lineup filled with injury prone veteran players, fans had to hope t00at these men would play above their potential every game in the very tough AL East. But to their disappointment, we watched as Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Mark Teixeira struggled mightily and went through lengthy absences due to injury. When the All-Star break finally arrived, the Yankees sported a .500 record of 44-44, this is where the second part began.

Following the break, the Yankees ended July going 8-8 and capped it off by getting swept by the dreadful Tampa Bay Rays. This generated a lot of chatter about what New York would do at the trade deadline, either stay course and hope the team could rebound and make a push for the playoffs, or cut their losses and sell some of their top players to build for the future. General Manager Brian Cashman chose option number two and at the deadline agreed to multiple trades which resulted in Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova being shipped to different teams. The pool of players that New York brought in return were highlighted by highly touted prospects Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres among many others. To go along with these trades, the Yanks also decided to part ways with Alex Rodriguez when they cut him on August 13th and thanks to the pressure he was feeling from the fans, Mark Teixeira announced he would retire after the season.

With all of this said, the Yankees now had a totally revamped major league roster to go along with a much improved minor league system. Part three occurs when NY called up their top prospects Gary Sánchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin. Each player helped spark the team and allowed them to realistically contend for the post season. But as everyone is well aware, Gary Sánchez was the heart and soul in the last two months of the season.

On August 3rd Gary Sánchez was officially moved up to the big leagues and while many knew of the incredible skill set this young man had, no one could have predicted he would go on the tear he did. After making all the trades they did, New York was seen by many as officially entering the rebuilding stage, they were trying to get these young players at-bats and playing time so when the 2017 season rolled around they would at least have some level of experience. But to baseball viewer’s amazement, Sánchez played historically good and not just because he was a rookie. In two months, Sánchez was able to break multiple rookie records, was the main reason his team even sniffed the playoffs, and somehow put himself in contention with Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer to win AL Rookie of the Year. In just 53 games, Sanchez’s slash line was .299/.376/.657 to go along with an incredible 20 home runs and 43 RBI, those stats are nothing short of amazing.

Image result for gary sanchez                                                                                                 Image via nypost.com

Ever since two of the Yankees all-time legends, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, retired, New York has been dying for their next superstar. After spending millions of dollars on big names like Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka, it’s only right the next star would work himself up through the team’s system. The buzz and hype that Sánchez generated from his play is ver similar to what Jeremy Lin did to the city when he came to the Knicks, not just the city of New York was in a state of shock and utter disbelief but as was the entire nation. In an article titled Gary Sánchez has impressed the baseball world written by Erik Boland, there is a quote from an opposing AL team executive describing his view of Sánchez, he says, “I’m buying. I don’t think it’s a fluke. That’s a stupid pace he was on, but . . . with that swing, he should be a 30-home run guy, I would think.” This just adds to the point of how in just two short months, Sánchez has already won over many people in the league thanks to his consistent high level of play.

During the 53 games he played at the major league level, it is impossible to find just how many articles were published about this player or how many times he was mentioned in broadcasts because simply everyone in the sports world wanted to talk about Gary Sánchez. He could have done what he did on any team in the league and would still be receiving a crazy amount of attention, but the fact that he did this in New York City, the center of the sports world, only added to the hype.

It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that in such a short time Sánchez has already put himself in the center of the Yankees plans for years to come, looking to him as the player they need to build around. Even though his club still missed the playoffs, his efforts helped shift the view of the team from being in a state of rebuilding, to being one that should contend in 2017. Obviously in sports it is impossible to predict if a player can continue to have such an incredible level of play but when discussing Sánchez, how can you doubt him anymore? His tenure with New York this year was filled with many claiming it was beginners luck but night after night he kept producing. No adjustment could be made to slow him down and now fans are eager for next year to see the numbers he will put up. The 2016 New York Yankees season will simply go down as the year Gary Sanchez emerged.

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

Who’s in the Wrong? Curt Schilling or ESPN?

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

Curt Schilling has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The former Major League Baseball pitcher has served as a baseball analyst for ESPN since 2010, but this past Wednesday was fired from the network because of the “transphobic” comments that he posted on Facebook.

                                                                            Image via awfulannouncing.com

To give a little background, Schilling first entered the public eye in 1988 when he debuted for the Baltimore Orioles as a right-handed pitcher. The former second round pick then went on to play for the Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox over the course of 19 seasons. During his career, Schilling won three World Series titles (including being named co-World Series MVP in 2001) and was a six-time All-Star. Arguably the most memorable part of his MLB tenure came in game 6 of the 2004 ALCS when he was on the Red Sox and pitched while having a torn tendon in his ankle causing blood to become visible through his sock, this game is now known as “the bloody sock game.”

Sadly these are all just memories and now the former MLB star is seen as transphobic by many. As stated earlier, Schilling was let go by ESPN because of a post he shared on Facebook, it was a picture of a man dressed as woman  and read, “Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!” He also added a comment that said, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.” This post was obviously a response to the recent uproar caused by North Carolina passing a law which restricted public restroom and locker-room use to individuals based on birth sex. In simpler terms, people are angry that a person who was born a man but has since changed genders to a woman, will still be forced to share a locker-room with men even though they are a woman now.

This actually is not the first time that Schilling has been disciplined by the network for comments he made about popular social issues. In August of 2015, Curt was suspended from ESPN after he posted a meme on twitter that read, “It’s said ONLY 5-10% of Muslims are extremists…In 1940, ONLY 7% of Germans were Nazis, how’d that go?”

With all of this said, is it wrong for ESPN to fire Mr. Schilling because he expresses his personal beliefs? Some will argue that a man is entitled to his own opinion and he should not have to keep it to himself when we live in a country that takes pride in their freedom and where the First Amendment of our Constitution protects our freedom of speech. This is true but technically in the First Amendment it states that only the government cannot restrict freedom of speech from anyone. So actually ESPN did not infringe on his First Amendment rights and legally has the power to fire him if they wish.

Many of the stories that have been written about Curt Schilling and his recent termination state that what he said and more importantly how he said it was wrong but also credit him with starting a public conversation concerning a very popular issue. In an article from The New York Post titled “Curt Schilling got fired for his Common Sense on Bathrooms,” author Linda Chavez is inspired from Schilling to ask an important question. She writes, “Are Americans being intimidated into accepting public behavior that many feel threatens them — namely, allowing biologically male or female individuals to use public bathrooms that are designated for the opposite sex?” While this was a pretty “raw” way of giving his opinion on this certain topic of discussion, it has caused more and more people to start talking about something that may be looked at as a “sensitive” subject.

The statement ESPN issued regarding Schilling’s dismissal reads as follows, “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.” In an article titled “Curt Schilling’s Crassness, Not Politics, Got Him Fired From ESPN” from forbes.com, author Alex Reimer claims that the analyst was only fired because of the way he gave his opinion, not the opinion itself. He writes, “Curt Schilling isn’t being persecuted for his right-wing views. He’s being persecuted for the crass and crude ways he expresses them.” This is very interesting and makes one think that if he had stated his views in a more appropriate way would he have still been let go?

It is unclear whether the public will ever know if the former pitcher was let go because the network thought his views were offending or if it was only because of the way he said it. One thing that is clear is that Schilling will not be a part of ESPN’s staff moving forward. Following his termination, Schilling was quoted as saying, “I’m not transphobic, I’m not homophobic.” So the question I have now is that if a different analyst, who doesn’t have a history of being outspoken, would have said something similar (in a gentler way) would he or she have been fired?

 

 

 

Hard Work Pays Off, Just Ask Jeremy Hazelbaker

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

It is pretty common to hear a feel-good story about a professional athlete, whether it is about them coming from a low-income family or overcoming a devastating injury. But Jeremy Hazelbaker’s story is a unique one, it is about perseverance, dedication, and dealing with adversity.

                                       Image via http://www.ksdk.com

Currently, baseball analysts are spending their time discussing Trevor Story’s historic start, but one player that has maybe been more impressive than Story is the rookie outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, Jeremy Hazelbaker. Similar to Story, Hazelbaker was only given a shot in the big league this year because of something that happened to another player. For Story, he was given the opportunity because Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes is on paid leave from the MLB stemming from a domestic violence case. In Jeremy’s case, he got his shot because of an injury that Cardinals shortstop Ruben Tejada suffered which opened up a spot for him on the 40-man roster. With that said, let it be known that Hazelbaker certainly earned his spot and it was not only because of the injury. In Spring Training, the prospect showed the team that he was capable of playing all three outfield spots, led the club with two homers, and was one of the top base stealers in the entire league.

This is one of those feel-good stories because not only did the Ball State alum earn a spot on the team on the last day of Spring Training, but also because he had been in the minors for the past seven seasons before finally breaking through this year. Originally a fourth round pick of the Boston Red Sox, the outfielder’s path to the majors included playing in 751 minor-league games where he had 3,104 plate appearances. At this time last year Hazelbaker was sitting at home wondering if he would ever get another chance in professional baseball after he was cut by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The only team to reach out to him after his release was the Cardinals, who signed Hazelbaker to a minor-league contract. He then went from AA to AAA in 2015 sporting an average above .300 at both stops. Hazelbaker was rewarded for his excellent play with a contract that paid him $18,000 a month, more than he had ever been paid before, and an invitation to Big-League camp. He made the most of his chance and as described before, eventually made the Major League club out of Spring Training.

As of Monday, the 28 year-old is batting .394 with three home runs, seven runs batted in, and an OPS of 1.239 through the first two weeks of the 2016 season. Those numbers are eye-popping for any player, let alone one viewed as a career minor-leaguer. The rookie has also earned praise from his teammates through his play. In an article from baseballamerica.com titled After Long Stay In Minors, Hazelbaker Arrives, writer Derrick Goold includes a quote from Randal Grichuk one of Hazelbaker’s fellow outfielders. Grichuk is quoted as calling Jeremy “the greatest hitter ever.” This is definitely a stretch but it is obvious that Hazelbaker has not only earned respect from the coaching staff but also his teammates.

The coverage of the (kind of) young outfielder hasn’t been the same as that of Trevor Story, but I venture to think this player maybe prefers it that way. As he has joined the MLB’s top hitters atop the leader boards, more and more stories are being written about him by the day. Hazelbaker’s story is very appealing to baseball writers because they know that we as fans crave these kind of feel-good tales about players overcoming obstacles to ultimately succeed at the highest level. Similar to myself, Jeremy hails from a very small town. He grew up in Selma, Indiana which has a total population of 858. There is no doubt that this man, who is one of the hottest topics of conversation in baseball, is the talk of the town and is serving as not only an inspiration to all the kids from back home but also to anyone who is at a cross-roads whether in sports or life in general.

It is pretty obvious that the player will eventually slow down in terms of his production but he has certainly impacted many from his dedication and humbleness. In an article from USA Today titled Jeremy Hazelbaker’s big league dream comes true with Cardinals, author Bob Nightengale includes a quote from the player himself where he demonstrates this humbleness. Jeremy is quoted as saying, “this is stuff you think about, even dream about…But at the same time, it’s not something you can prepare for. I can’t thank them enough for giving me this opportunity.” The stories that members of the media have wrote about the player have all been positive ones that emphasize the player’s determination and credit him for finally reaching the big leagues because of his incredible work ethic. It is my hope that Hazelbaker stays consistent throughout the 162-game season and I am confident he will, solely because of the motivation he has gained from his past failures.

 

 

Trevor Story is Writing His Own Story

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

Major League Baseball kicked off the 2016 season on April 3rd and the first week has been an entertaining one to say the least. There were a couple interesting storylines going into the season such as how Zack Greinke would do in his first start for the Arizona Diamondbacks, if the Chicago Cubs would be able to meet expectations, and whether the San Francisco Giants would be able to win the World Series again with this being an even year. But Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story has stolen the spotlight during week 1.

                                         Image via http://www.m.mlb.com

2 off-seasons the Rockies traded their superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays for SS Jose Reyes among others. Fans were shocked that the team decided to ship their franchise player to Toronto but most understood that they are in the midst of rebuilding for the future. After arriving in Colorado, Reyes finished the 2015 season productively but this past off-season the veteran was brought up on domestic violence charges in Hawaii. Currently the MLB has placed Reyes on paid leave and a timetable for his return is uncertain, but the question now is will he even have a starting spot when he returns? The person that is responsible for creating this question is none other than rookie shortstop Trevor Story.

Story earned a starting spot on the Rockies after he posted impressive numbers this Spring Training. Even after his stellar performance in the spring, no one predicted for him to get off to this kind of start, not the fans, the media, or any baseball analyst.

In the Colorado Rockies first game of 2016 they faced the Arizona Diamondbacks led by their newly acquired ace, Zack Greinke. In 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Greinke posted the ninth best ERA in baseball history with a 1.66, so expectations were high in his first start of 2016. But don’t bother telling Trevor Story he should be intimidated by Greinke. Story became the first player in MLB history to hit two home runs in a big league début on opening day, both coming off  Greinke. With this breakout performance, Story had the Colorado fan base going wild. There was even a picture that circulated around social media of a fan wearing a Tulowitzki jersey that had Story’s name taped over Tulo’s.

                                                                                                    Image via http://www.denverpost.com

Following his opening day performance, expectations were through the roof for the former 1st round draft pick. So as everyone predicted of course, he would hit another home run in his second career game off of talented pitcher Shelby Miller. With this, Story became the third player in baseball history to hit three home runs in the first two games of his career. But he wasn’t done yet, in his fourth career Major League game, Trevor Story homered twice against the San Diego Padres becoming the first rookie in baseball history to begin a career with two multi-homer games in his first four games. Another notable record that Trevor is a part of is becoming the fifth player to homer in their team’s first four games of the season.

As of now, the Rockies shortstop is batting .333 with 7 home runs in 6 games…Wow. The numbers he has put up cannot be described as anything less than astounding. And he’s on pace to get video game like stats.

You should give credit where credit is due, it is not easy to follow in a superstar’s footsteps, just ask New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius when he took over after Derek Jeter retired. The question that was asked after his first game and is still asked now is if Trevor Story is going to be able to keep up his historic run? An article titled Rockies’ Trevor Story Homers in Record 4th Straight Game from cbc.ca.com, includes quotes from Story and teammate Carlos Gonzalez, Story says, “I’ve said it before, I’m not trying to hit home runs, sometimes it kind of happens,” and later Gonzalez adds, “He’s fearless. He’s playing like a Hall of Famer right now.” With his quote, Story appears humble while downplaying his recent success and his teammate known as CarGo praises the young player like most of his other teammates are probably doing.

The media coverage around the rookie phenomenon has been extensive and rightfully so, this kid has become the talk of not only Rockies fans and media but media and fans league-wide. At this point, Story is probably accustomed to being swarmed by mobs full of baseball writers, journalists, and reporters following games. But there have already been some wild comparisons between the former LSU Tiger and some of the MLB’s all-time greats. In an article from The Score com titled How Does Story’s Debut Rank Against MLB’s Greatest? Author George Halim stacks Trevor Story up against Babe Ruth among others. First he writes about Story, “In his first four major-league games, the Rockies rookie is the best hitter in the majors, and the greatest of all time.” Well that is quite the statement if I do say so myself, later Halim talks about Hall of Famer Babe Ruth, “At one point, he was the home run king, and his career is among the greatest ever. But Ruth’s first four major-league games? Not so historic.” So as you can see with this specific example it is ridiculous to even put Trevor Story in the same sentence as Babe Ruth. Story has gotten off to a historic start but there is still no need to compare him to any Hall of Famers because he has still only played seven career games at the Major League level.

There is no telling how long this player will stay hot or continue to mash home runs for his team but even if he doesn’t hit another homer all year he has still broken multiple records and caused a league-wide media frenzy during this first week of baseball. Personally I am rooting for Story to continue his excellent play because it makes baseball so much fun to watch. Only time will tell what player he will eventually become but he has certainly made a name for himself quickly. I also recommend you to pick him up in your fantasy league if you haven’t already, you can bet I have.

 

 

Effects that tanking has on media and fans

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

Recently, the issue of “tanking” was brought up at the latest Major League Baseball owner’s meetings. Tanking is described as teams intentionally being bad in hopes of landing a high draft pick and trading away veteran talent to acquire young prospects to build a better future. These teams that are reportedly tanking much prefer the term, “rebuilding.” Although no steps have been taken to prevent tanking in the future, it is good to know that it has crossed these owner’s minds that it is a problem that needs to be fixed.

The blueprint that teams currently tanking are trying to follow is that of the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. The Cubs had not made the playoffs since 2008 and until this past year they were known as one of the worst teams in the National League. As recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 games, and suddenly in 2015 they go 97-65; how is this possible? From those years of being terrible they managed to draft the 2015 Rookie of the year, Kris Bryant, with the second overall pick in the 2013 draft and Kyle Schwarber with the fourth overall pick in 2014. The rebuild was also helped by a couple key trades including the one that landed them Anthony Rizzo, but in just a couple years the Cubs had revamped their entire roster and are now recognized as a contender and have turned into a free agent hot spot. After signing such stars as Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, the Chicago Cubs are scary good.

The Astros may not be on the level of the Cubs yet but they have certainly had success with their tanking as well by making the playoffs in 2015. They certainly have a bright future though, by having the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa, 2011 first round pick George Springer, and emerging superstar Dallas Kuechel. Prior to this season the Astros were seen as the very worst team in baseball and were seemingly content with staying that way with the lowest payroll in baseball in 2013 at a whopping $26 million. By contrast, Alex Rodriguez was making more than the entire Houston Astros team. They have been able to stockpile young talent and trade some of those pieces to acquire proven stars as well. They will be a playoff contender as well in 2016.

A team currently in the midst of tanking are the Cincinnati Reds. This offseason, fans saw their All-star third baseman, Todd Frazier, get traded to the White Sox for a handful of prospects and Aroldis Chapman be shipped off to the Yankees for a bunch of unproven young players. It seemed like after the All-star break, the Cincinnati front office decided to call it quits and tried to give the young players a chance to gain some experience before they geared up for a long rebuild process and this did not make fans or media happy. After sporting a starting rotation of almost all rookies for most of the season, the Reds finished the season 64-98 and earned the second overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft.

It is a dark time for Cincinnati fans and media. With the only proven players on their roster being Joey Votto and Homer Bailey, fans know they don’t have much to look forward to in 2016 or even 2017. The same goes for the media, it is difficult to cover a team that is intentionally running themselves into the ground. Maybe in the next couple years they will be able to draft well enough to put a contender on the field for 2018 though. In this day and age, tanking is a viable strategy because at least you will get a good draft pick that will contribute to the rebuild, instead of being somewhere in the middle and not getting good enough draft picks to get the team over the hump and into the playoffs. Media members in Cincinnati are not as ferocious as they are in let’s say New York, but certainly they will give their thoughts on the tanking strategy and it’s almost inevitable that some of them will voice their frustration and call for the GM’s head. The media has to be patient as well, the Reds will point at the Cubs and say they will be on that level in the next couple years; it is just a matter of time. It will be interesting to see what the Reds do with Joey Votto and his massive contract; will they look to him as an important part of their rebuild and hope he can help younger players develop or will they send him packing as well and hope to grab some good young players?

The one example of tanking that teams in other sports do not want to follow is the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers have not made the playoffs since the 2011-2012 and since then have drafted and traded Rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams and in back to back years their number one draft pick missed the entire season. Finally it seems like they have drafted a top tier talent in Jahlil Okafor but they still have an absolutely embarrassing record of 8-43. Philadelphia media have been patient these past couple years but lately there have been grumblings that media and fans are done waiting and expect General Manager Sam Hinkie to start adding to the roster and surround young prospects Nerlens Noel and Okafor with some nice complementary players and end the embarrassment.

Hopefully in the next couple years the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia 76ers will be done with tanking and put out a product on the floor that will make the fans and media happy.

Link

by Brandon Busuttil

Toronto Blue Jays Playoff Hype Video

The hottest team in Major League Baseball is no doubt, the one Canadian team there is: the Toronto Blue Jays. This team has shown it all season long that they can hit. Game after game, home run after home run. These guys can get it done in the hit and run column.

It is amazing the transformation that this team has gone through this MLB season and it seems to be a hot topic for all baseball analysts and fans. At one point right around the beginning of the summer the Blue Jays were sitting at 4th place in the AL East, a few games below .500 and it looked like this was going to be a similar season to the one they had the past season. Talk on the street was that this team, with some good hitters, was going to struggle to even try and make the wildcard spot with pitching being a weakness. The team got their act together midway through the summer getting to around a .500 average. Media and fans were wondering if that was going to be enough to get a team with a 22-year playoff drought into the postseason.

At the end of July everything for the Blue Jays changed. Acquiring ace pitcher David Price would be a game changer, but he wasn’t the only one. They also acquired Ben Revere, all-star short stop Troy Tulowitzki and other supporting players that would take large roles in relief pitching. Something for the Blue Jays changed after these moves and made them the team to beat. A 10 game winning streak that took place in August pushed the Blue Jays into battling the Yankees for 1st place in the AL East, which they successfully won.

For the first time in 22 years the Toronto Blue Jays are in the playoffs and not only is Toronto loving it, but all of Canada is loving it. Players and coaches of not only the Blue Jays, but any team that had to play the Blue Jays in the final 21 home games of the season have spoke on how insane it is to play at the Rogers Centre. For the final 21 home games of the season, 20 of them were sold out crowds of around 50,000 people.

It is going to be interesting to see how a team, city and country with a lack of playoff experience will perform in this situation. The Toronto Raptors used to be the talk of the town with their ability to make the playoffs two years in a row, but still could not get over the hump of getting through to the second round. Now, not only has the Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs, but they are also picked as a favorite to win the World Series. If we take a step back in history, the last time the Blue Jays were favored to win the World Series was in 1993 (22 years ago) when they won their last World Series (part of the back-to-back World Series championships) and the last time they made playoffs.

Canadians are expecting a lot of their team this postseason. Even with the expectations, there is no worry with the Blue Jays’ ability to play in front of a post-season crowd. In reference to the past 21 games of sold out crowds (minus one game) John Gibbons (Blue Jays Manager) had this to say about the crowd in the late part of the season: “From pitch one, everybody’s been on their feet, really into it. I don’t know how it can be much different, to be honest with you, as loud as it’s been, as enthusiastic as they’ve been.” From hearing this it sure sounds like a dare to every Blue Jays fan in the stadium and beyond.