Blue Jays’ World Series Hopes Already Doomed?
As the Toronto Blue Jays close in on the AL leading Kansas City Royals, it is easy to start dreaming of another World Series banner hanging in the Rogers Center. Since acquiring Cy Young-worthy pitcher David Price and star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the Jays have gone from a middling team with power to a balanced powerhouse taking Major League Baseball by storm. While the New York Yankees have played almost as well since, the Jays have gotten the better of them on their quest to win the AL East. One can, therefore, understand the excitement for fans have north of the border.
A big part of this surge was fueled by not one, but two winning streaks of more than ten games, a feat so rare only a handful of teams have done it in MLB history. What is even more interesting is that all of those teams went on to the World Series the season they did so and LOST! Yes, history tells us the only outcome for a MLB team that wins more than ten games in a row twice in a season is destined to make it to the World Series, and then lose.
Could the Jays be the first team in history to break this trend? Well of course there is a chance. But this is a franchise that was last in the playoffs in 1993. You would be right to point out that was part of back-to-back World Series wins. However, prior to those two wins they, lost the ALCS in 1985, 1989 and 1991. There is only one postseason trend in the history of the Blue Jays: lose in the playoffs three times and win two World Series after. So for them to take a 22 year break and turn around and win the World Series is improbable, despite what any oddsmaker will tell you.
This is an especially troubling trend for the Jays, who will see the still freshly acquired David Price hit free agency after the season. Price is likely to be seeking a long term contract, which is problematic for the Jays, whose current management have a firm policy of not offering deals longer than 5 years. Given that Price is already 30, signing a pitcher for top dollar into, and past, his mid-30’s is not a wise decision. But the Jays’ chances of replacing Price range from slim to nil. In fact, the chances of any top end pitcher wanting to join the Jays and deal with the AL East’s power and hitter friendly parks are low. There is still hope among fans that the new management, lead by former Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro, has a different outlook and can at least make an one time exception for David Price, assuming the price is right.
They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That is certainly true, and when the history points so overwhelmingly in one direction it is hard to not foresee a repeat of past post-season failures. For the fans of the Bluebirds, however, just being in the playoffs after a 22 year drought should be enough. Given the team’s history, it could lead to a similar stretch of five post-season appearances over the next eight years.