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Why Blue Jays fans should be cheering for the Cardinals

It would be very easy right now to label the St. Louis Cardinals a “team of destiny.” They snuck into the postseason on the last possible day and only because the Atlanta Braves completed a collapse that was nearly as legendary as that of the Boston Red Sox. Since then they’ve knocked off the Philadelphia HalladayLeeHamelsOswalts and the Milwaukee Prince Fielders.

Now all that stands in the Cardinals’ way is the Texas Rangers, a team which has no trouble defeating destiny. In the ALDS, they dispatched the Tampa Bay Rays rather handily. Not enough proof? Why, just last year, they won the World Series when they beat a team that made it that far despite not knowing how to score runs! (What? They didn’t beat the Giants? Oh…)

Anyway, look. The Rangers are pretty huge favourites to win the whole thing this year. I believe the odds are such that if you bet on the Rangers in Vegas, you’ve got to put down about $1.50 to win a dollar.

But you, dear Jays fan, should be cheering for the Cardinals to overcome the odds again. Not only because it’s more fun to cheer for an underdog, but because the better the Cardinals do, the better off our real favourite team is.

Tony La Russa is a Questionable Man who thinks Questionable Things

You know how so many Blue Jays fans go around calling Alex Anthopoulos a “silent assassin”? Maybe a ninja? I don’t like it, but the sentiment is justified. Anthopoulos earns the title because he does things like trade (essentially) Marc Rzepcynski, Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson for Colby Rasmus.

(I know the deal was more complicated than that, but come on.)

Judging by the reactions of most Jays fans, Anthopoulos had reached the Billy-Beane-in-Moneyball level of trading. That is to say that other GMs should be afraid when Anthopoulos gives them a call. That reaction is and was justified. And it’s exactly why we should all be cheering for the Cardinals right now.

For all the fleecing of St. Louis that took place back in July, the Cardinals still made it to the World Series. On top of that, Tony La Russa is saying that his team getting ripped off in the deal is the REASON the Cardinals are in the World Series. Seriously. I’m not making this up.

“I’ll tell you if that trade had not been made, I believe we probably would have been an under .500 club. That’s how important it was to us.” —Tony La Russa, genius

The more the Cards win, and the more the more their people make Toronto’s front office sound stupid for trading with them, the better is for Toronto.

If you’re a competing GM and Anthopoulos gives you a call, would you rather be afraid that he’s going to rip you off or would you like to think that “hey, maybe he’ll help me win the World Series, too!”

If the Cardinals win, it will make Anthopoulos look, in the eyes of many people, a little bit dumb. We know that’s not true in the least, but it’s a damn good thing for other teams to think.

So, Go Cards. Win it for the good people of Toronto.

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Filed under General baseball, Toronto Blue Jays

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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Filed under General baseball, Toronto Blue Jays