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Unfair comparison

I love the Giants.

It seems like there are a lot of people this morning making noise about how because the San Francisco Giants just won the World Series, Blue Jays fans should have a lot of hope now because it’s proof you don’t need to spend a lot to win.

Do not listen to these people!

While it is true that a team can win without a Yankees-sized payroll, saying “The Giants did it, so the Jays can, too!” is a gross oversimplification.

That book that Billy Beane wrote about computers sums it pretty well with the “my shit don’t work in the playoffs” line. No, I’m not saying that the Giants won this year on the strength of a Moneyball-style team philosophy — far from it, actually. What I am saying is that the point of Beane’s often-misinterpreted quote is that anything can happen in the playoffs.

To play in the National League West and be the benefactor of a massive collapse is one thing. To play in the American League East and hope for everything to go exactly right so you can finish ahead of at least two of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Rays is completely different.

That’s not to say that a Jays fan can’t look at the Giants’ success and be a little bit inspired. There is one important similarity: Home-grown pitching.

The Giants won largely on the backs of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Brian Wilson.

The Jays have excellent young home-grown pitching in Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil and more. Kyle Drabek and Brandon Morrow weren’t drafted by Toronto, but we can lump them into this category, I think.

On top of the talent, the recent hiring of John Farrell as manager and the retention of Bruce Walton as pitching coach shows that Toronto is committed to winning the best way — with pitching.

On a somewhat related topic, I have seen MLB games in two cities: Toronto and San Francisco.

My first game in Toronto was in 1992 and the Jays went on to win the World Series. My first game in San Francisco was earlier this year and the Giants went on to win the World Series.

Coincidence? Hell no! (But probably yes.)

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Marty McFlyin’ is pointless

 

Note the date. No amount of Marty McFlyin' can fix this mess now.

 

One thing on which everyone can agree: Doc is awesome. I’m happy for him, but I’m not going to root for the Phillies to win the World Series just because he’s on the team.

I enjoy watching him pitch, sure. But you know what? I enjoy watching the Giants more. And I’m really, really going to enjoy watching Doc go head-to-head with Tim Lincecum. The Freak will rise to the challenge.

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PLAYOFFS!!!1

You may not have noticed, but I’ve been away. I’ve missed some things in Jays Land — Bautista going oppo, Cito’s departure, E5 flashing his power again — and while it would have been nice to see all those things, I can’t say I missed them.

When confronted by someone who makes a claim like “I don’t care about the Jays and I won’t until they play meaningful baseball in September,” I’ve often responded with something along the lines of “there is no such thing as meaningless baseball,” and I still believe that. But having spent a few days in San Francisco while the Giants were fighting for a division title, my perspective’s changed.

I grew up on the East Coast, far from any professional sports teams. When the Jays won the World Series it was exciting, but I didn’t get to experience the buzz that I’m sure existed in Toronto. Until last week, I had never attended an MLB game anywhere except the Dome. What I’m trying to say is that my first-hand experience with pro ball is pretty limited.

Being in San Fran, seeing Giants gear everywhere, seeing the Giants on TV through every window at almost all hours, having strangers walk up and talk baseball in bars, having a man who runs an ice cream shop in a small town hours outside of San Fran start a conversation about the Giants — the city, and a big chunk of the state, almost seemed to be living and breathing Giants baseball.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Los Gigantes and, since the Expos left, they’ve been my go-to National League team. It was easy for me to get swept up in the excitement. What surprised me is that my girlfriend, who normally doesn’t care about baseball in the least, got swept up in it, too.

And then I finally got it. I was not wrong, but I was wrong. There is no such thing as meaningless baseball, but there is such a thing as meaningful baseball.

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Missing the Doc? Nope.

I had always thought of myself as a complete baseball fan. By that I mean a fan who enjoyed all parts of the game equally. Since I started this blog, I’ve come to realize that’s not quite true.

Sure I enjoy when the Jays put on an offensive blitz, but offence (unless it’s in the style provided by Ichiro) is not what turns my crank. Turns out I’m more of a pitching guy.

As such, I was pretty disappointed when Doc was traded. It’s not often you get to watch the best pitcher in baseball throw for your favourite team every five days.

I was again disappointed when the Phillies series was moved to Philadelphia. I had been hoping to see Doc pitch once again — so much so that I flirted with the idea of making a trip to Philly for the series.

That didn’t last very long though.

I’ve got a Toronto Star Season Pass this year. As such, the team sent me three vouchers for best available seats to any game this season as a way of making good for moving the Philly series. Last weekend when the Giants were in town, I got to sit in some pretty great seats and watch Jesse Litsch and Matt Cain engage in an excellent pitcher’s duel.

I loved it. And seeing it up close was only possible because I won’t get the chance to see Doc pitch in Toronto this year. I’m cool with that. I’ve seen Doc pitch a number of times. I’ve never seen Cain live before, and may never again. It was a treat.

And now tonight, as a great number of Jays fans everywhere will be sobbing their way through the game not sure what they want to happen, I’ll be out with my friends drinking and trying to not get arrested for not showing my papers.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Doc. I wish him the best. I may even sneak a look at a TV if I end up in a bar that’s showing the game (HA!) but I’m not going to stress about it.

Doc wanted to leave. It’s time to move on. I wish it hadn’t taken me this long to come to be finally over it, but I hope the game tonight provides closure for those of you who aren’t there yet.

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