Can The Maple Leafs Follow The Blue Jays?


Good evening!

So you read Jeff Blair’s article on the state of the Blue Jays farm system and you can’t help but get giddy. Of course there are no guarantees but when the local media start to get positive it’s hard to not get giddy.

“It is the levels of talent that are impressive. D’Arnaud, McGuire and Drew Hutchinson (numbers eight and nine) and pitcher Chad Jenkins are lined up behind Drabek and knocking on the door for 2012 if needed. They will at worst be September call-ups. Gose, rated No. 2 by Baseball America, will push the envelope by cutting down on his strikeouts.”

What I am left wondering most is what could have been had the Maple Leafs followed a similar path. Yes, it’s much harder to stockpile and amass draft picks but you know what I mean. What if Burke came out at his first press conference and said, the job ahead is massive, there are no quick fixes, it’s going to take a long time and we are going to build it slow.

I wonder if that route had been taken if today the Leafs may to be on the cusp of becoming something special as opposed to having to have a mini training camp in late March.

I wonder.

As for the Blue Jays, tell me Jays fans, is the minor league cupboard as stocked as the experts claim? Is there reason to believe?

Back to the Leafs, we all know what’s around the corner. Brian Burke will take to a podium and tell us how pissed he is that the Leafs didn’t make the playoffs again. He will tell us that he doesn’t blame the current group for the years of failure that preceded them or him.

What we don’t really know is what else he will say.

The media I think will be rather blunt, unforgiving and relentless. Their jabs have been consistent over the last couple of weeks. With the exception of one article in the Globe and Mail suggesting that the Leafs aren’t far away as may appear, the press are going after the leafs, and well given the product we’ve seen, it’s hard to blame them.

Remember this:

“The Leafs are not there yet, but they’re closer than their play in the past month would have you believe. With a little more experience, in goal and on defence, and with a fresh voice behind the bench, it’ll happen. Soon. Promise.”

Eric Duhatschek wrote that. Have you seen anything remotely optimistic since that?

Raju Mudhar is looking into his crystal ball as to what Burke may say, or at least face. Or, at least I thought he was given this headline “Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke in eye of media storm as another dismal season winds down”.

Instead, there isn’t much in his article about the end of the season at all.

“The real question is whether his style will mesh with the increasingly corporate culture as the team’s new owners come in. They might like the idea of Burke as the lightning rod and deflector of criticism, as it is something he’s really good at. It’s everything else that looks like it could use some work.”

Must be the late hours I am keeping. Here I thought I’d find an article about Burke is about to face, but rather a poorly written headline (not by the author of course) regarding how Burke will do given new ownership that includes to massive media companies.

To bad, I’d love to have read what he thought was coming.


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