There are moments in this offseason where we find ourselves slipping further into despair over the outlook for our team. Could we really handle the fifth place finish that most of the pre-season prognosticators have foreseen for the Jays? Could we continue to show up in our blogging pants day after day if this teams slides back? Are we prepared for a long, miserable season?
Then, we snap out of it. What would Mom say if she knew that we were sending such terrible, negative thoughts out into the universe? Are we asking for the failure that we so fear? Why can't we just be happy, and enjoy this moment for what it is?
(Sorry. We're kinda losing our rational stoicism through this winter. Maybe it's a vitamin D thing.)
If there is one thing that has stoked the fires and really got us geeked for the coming season, it's the sheer number of new faces in the Jays camp, as well as the familiar faces that didn't make an appearance in 2009. We're amazed at how excited we get when we see a newish face in the crowd as we take a gander at the photos being posted by Jordan Bastian through his Twitter account, and glancing through the shots on Daylife. We're even getting a bit excited when we see marginal players, who we assume might make their way to Vegas or get their walking papers before the end of March.
Hey look! There's José Molina, blocking what must have been an awesome February slider in the dirt! There's Brett Wallace, with a first baseman's trapper, wearing number 46! (Snider's 45 and Wallace is 46...there's something to that, isn't there?) There's Alex Gonzalez, who is suddenly growing on us as an everyday option at short...unless the better option is Mike McCoy. (Look at that fielding form!)
Even more encouraging for us are the faces of Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum. While we don't necessarily anticipate them stepping in and blowing the roof off the Dome immediately, we've started to look at their return to the pitching staff much in the way that we would think of two prospects about to emerge into their big league roles.
Sure, people can dump on the lack of prospect depth in the Jays' system, and the losses in terms of big league talent. But we think that misses the point. People who have this team pegged as the worst in the league they'll have so many players in uniform in 2010 who were not a part of the late season meltdown last year. Maybe more than any team (or at least as much as any team that we follow obsessively), the Jays will have more turnover in their lineup this season.
We don't want to sink into pat, management seminar clichés of how "change = good". But, given the alternative route of picking apart the weaknesses and building the case for the team's downfall, we prefer to embrace the newness of this team. The number of new names and numbers on the jerseys at the very least gives us something new and compelling to wrap our head around in the coming months.