Over the course of a long baseball season, unforeseeable and unimaginable things happen on a regular basis and what purported experts deem to be inevitable isn't always inevitable. So-called 'sure things' stumble with surprising regularity and even those universally considered to be without hope can rightfully harbour hope.
Are performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) an unnatural advantage? Sure. But so are many of the extreme training methods and nutritional regimens that are all now a regular part of almost all professional sports, including baseball. If PEDs were permitted, MLB could at least take the significant money it would save on expensive detection schemes, investigations, and mediation (players' unions don't tend to take kindly to 100-game suspensions) and use it instead to educate players about the health dangers of PEDs and the doses at which they are safest.
It's Opening Day in Toronto. All of which is to say that as of around 7 p.m., when 125-million-dollars-worth of terrific talent takes the field for the home side at the Rogers Centre, and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey lets fly (or lets float) that first pitch -- we will be finally able to utter those three beautiful words: Baseball Is Back.
The Toronto Blue Jays pulled off a historic 12-player deal with the Florida Marlins. As last evening wore on, the hype and hoopla on Sports Talk Radio in The Big Smoke was ratcheted. Ah, but Toronto being Toronto, all that giddiness, all that love, all that manic mirth was short-lived. By the time I turned on Sports Talk Radio this morning at 6 a.m., confidence in the trade had turned to caution.
Not to suggest that the world revolves around Kate Upton, but given all the hoopla and hype afforded in recent days to the star-spangled awesome actress and supermodel, an observer could easily conclude that the World Series most surely revolves around her. But as one writer put it: "an entire city breathlessly awaits an answer to what fans really want to know. Is [Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander] really dating supermodel Kate Upton?"
Somewhere, somehow -- in some corner of the baseball universe or the baseball-watching universe -- there is somebody who does not understand why everyone loves the Oakland Athletics. Moneyball is not the reason. It's not their salary or their ongoing rivalry with the concept of capitalism. That's too easy.
Imagine walking into your workplace tomorrow morning, grabbing a marker from the supply closet, walking into the boardroom and writing the words "You are a Faggot" on the company white board. How do you think the boss would react? The Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escoba wrote those words in his black eye and received a three-game suspension. Three games? For offending every homosexual watching at home? For telling every athlete out there that even in 2012 you shouldn't feel comfortable coming out of the closet? The Jays should be ashamed of themselves.
Withholding the honour to Barry Bonds is petty beyond belief -- except that it's happening. The Hall of Fame guys are so damned sanctimonious and dogmatic that it curdles belief. Criteria for entry into the Hall should only be a player's record in the game, none of this drivel about "integrity" that the MLB is judging without proof.
This is a good team with considerable potential that is not being tapped. The management is arguably the best in baseball, the players excel at every position, and they are exciting to watch -- but frustrating. What's puzzling to us fans is when the Jays are three or four games above .500 they go into a dive and lose three or four. Their comfort zone is .500. Maybe they'll come alive July. If not, another .500 season beckons -- if they're lucky.