This Could Get Ugly..

No, very few expected the Tampa Bay Rays to be as good as they were last year. No, very few expected the USA to elect an African American as President. Surprises do happen, occasionally. I am willing to bet that next to no one had the Cardinals and the Steelers as the teams in this years Super Bowls. When it comes to sports surprises do happen, not that often, but they do. Money, also doesn’t guarantee you winning. There doesn’t appear to be a direct correlation between championships and payroll. However, in a sport like baseball, where teams can spend freely it surely helps. When our beloved Blue Jays were 2 time championships they were also leaders in the payroll department. No, money doesn’t guarantee a championship, but it certainly, if spent properly goes a long way to putting you in the position to win. So the Yankees being over 400 million doesn’t mean they are going to win the world series. If I were going to bet on a team, I would wager on the Yanks ahead of our Jays. So yes, every major player could have shit seasons with the yanks, or suffer season ending injuries, so too could each Blue Jay starter win 20 games. Hey it COULD happen..Likely? No, I think not, and so do most of you.

The Blue Jays brass met with 400 season ticket holders last night. Following in the footsteps of the Maple Leafs the Jays have lowered expectations for the upcoming season. They haven’t come out to the same extent as the Leafs, but to be honest they don’t have too. The Jays have a very easy excuse to use as the reason for their inactivity this off-season, the economy. When the Leafs started the season, they had an interim GM and everyone knew or hoped that once a permanent GM was hired the building could begin. The Jays have an interim President and a GM entering the final year of his contract. I think we would feel a lot better if the roles were reversed. Imagine they had let JP go, or he had decided to move on and say Pat Gillick was the interim GM, then the wait till next year song would sound a hell of a lot better then it does right now. Most Blue Jay fans aren’t overly enamored with JP. With the exception of the real die hard, he hasn’t done much to excite the average fan. The average fan doesn’t know who is on the farm team and who may be coming up. The average fan knows who is on the team now and may know a name or 2 based on what Elliott, Griffin or Blair has to say. To the average fan, JP was brought in as the boy wonder who was going to turn water into wine. He had the difficult task of bringing down payroll, drafting well and then building up to a championship. Of course things aren’t under the GM’s control, and that works both ways. Success or failure falls on his shoulders. Is it his fault they haven’t won, yup. In the same he would take the credit for winning a ring. Fair?? Nope.

“There’s a little bit of a setback this year with A.J. Burnett not coming back,” said Paul Beeston, the Jays’ interim president. “The rest of the team is back. Hopefully we don’t have too many injuries. We think we have the wherewithal to take the team forward to play some competitive baseball.”

Ouch! This is not the Maple Leafs. The TED is not filled every game regardless of outcome. As goes the team so goes the attendance. As goes the team so goes the sale of sponsorships and luxury boxes. Ask a fan of the Montreal Expos to tell you how the story goes and this is starting to look familliar.

“We’re really not looking back. We’re looking forward,” Gaston told reporters after an hour-long question-and-answer session with fans. “We’re looking at the next five to 10 years, and not just one year.” “You’re going to see in the next few years baseball that is very, very exciting,” Beeston said, while raving about the talent in the team’s minor-league pipeline.”

We Maple Leaf fans know all about looking at prospects through blue and white colored glasses. We all know this, a prospect is just a prospect until they arrive and perform. Baseball America and similar publications haven’t rated this “pipeline” as anything exceptional. That’s not a slam on any one player, its a comment on the group as a whole. If any publication has rated the Jays farm system as being in the top 5 in all of baseball I haven’t seen it. Could the experts be wrong? Of course.

“You increase your revenue at the same time as you increase your salaries. The salaries are a function of how much revenue you’re bringing in,” he said. “You cannot sustain losses forever. … As we go forward, we raise revenue, we raise our salaries and we take it to the level we want it to be at.”

That is why this could ugly. There is no real reason to think that revenues are going to go up. Ticket sales are off from last year. A lower payroll doesn’t mean higher revenue, it means lower expenses. GM, the biggest sponsor is gone. The CBC didn’t renew their television contract. No one is stepping up to the plate to fill that void. Revenues are going down. Salaries are going down, this reeks of preparation for a sale. No one wants to buy a team with expenses far outweighing revenues. What’s the answer, slash expenses because it is a hell of a lot easier then raising revenues…

As for JP, he sounds like he as already left the building. ” “I’ll be honest,” he said. “My two boys are growing up (in Worcester, Mass.) without me. It’s a tough thing when I leave the house and they’re both crying.
“My No. 1 priority is to be a father. I love being a GM, I love being a part of this team. But in two years, I’ll sit back and assess where I am.” Doesn’t make you feel all warm and cozy, for the Jays sake does it? Don’t get me wrong, I hear what he is saying, as a father of 2 I really do. I have no problem with him saying Boston or bust, my family comes first. Just as long as he is sincere about it. If it is a Toronto thing, then say it.

Everyone including my dog knows the Jays need a bat. ” One fan wanted to know, and legitimately so, why it wasn’t possible to bring in a big bat, such as Jason Giambi, to fill the team’s power void, even on a one-year contract. “We just feel it’s going to take at-bats away from Travis Snider and Adam Lind,” Ricciardi said. “With the uncertainty on our pitching staff, we feel like it’s a chance to get those two guys established.” That just doesn’t make me want to run out and buy tickets. I am the Jays target audience. A father of a family of 4, with 2 kids under 18. Why? Well, if they can get my kids interested now, they will be fans for life. Kids in this city don’t have baseball in their blood, so they have to be wooed into baseball.

“It’s going to be a shootout in spring training,” Ricciardi said. “The only safe bet is Doc as No. 1.” Why they aren’t trading this guy to speed up the rebuilding is beyond me. For years we bashed the leafs for being in no mans land. Not good, and not bad enough to get good. All the times they could have moved valuable assets like the Flyers and they never did. The Jays have the rare gem. The one guy that could bring back cornerstones and they don’t. Forget what they owe Roy. Forget what he owes them. Do the right thing. If you are rebuilding, REBUILD. If the Jays trade Roy and get studs back, there is a chance i will take the kids to see the young studs. To go watch one guy pitch surrounded by question marks, why bother? They jays are trying to be half pregnant and I for one am not buying it. Could they pull a rays?? Of course they can. Is it likely? Nope… Baseball fans, this could UGLY this year.

quotes were used from the globe, star and sun

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