It's been quite a ride so far, hasn't it? The hot start through the nine weeks of the season helped to separate the true believers from the doubters, and the hopeless romantics from the incorrigible cynics.
Ah, the salad days: Homers were bountiful, and pitching performances were surprisingly satisfying. Brett Cecil got the call, and quickly emerged as the future (if not present) ace of the staff. Travis Snider was out of the lineup, but we hardly seemed to notice, given the performances of Fred Lewis and José Bautista. We'd even managed to relax about the whole thing with The Manager, even stepping in occasionally to (quietly) defend one of his moves. We looked at the standings daily, and saw the Jays sitting above the Red Sox, and mere percentage points behind the Yankees.
These were good days, and times to savour. We could hardly have been happier. We relaxed, smiled, and put on five more pounds.
But on the tenth week, it suddenly went ugly. There were shit-kickings, painfully close games that got away or never seemed far from our grasp. But all of it added up to a week with only a single narrow escape of a win. (And that win only added to our general anxiety about Kevin Gregg as our closer, leading people to start talking wistfully about the days of the Beej and Billy Koch. Or maybe that was just us...)
We've all been conditioned at this point to keep our eyes open and to anticipate the moment in the season where it all goes wrong for the Jays, and where they slip off the pace and back into the mid-pack (or lower) of the American League for good, so a week like this is certainly going to resonate. And while we're generally committed to be the last dude handcuffed to the ship's rail when it hits the ocean floor, we'll confess that there was much about this past week that causes us concern.
(Like JoBau's inability to hit inside pitches. Or the Jays' inability to get guys on and move them along. Or the spectacular ratfuck that is the fifth spot in the rotation. Or the prospect of meeting up with the Padres and the Cardinals.)
But if we can offer any solace in this, we'd tell it you like Ray Charles' momma told him: There's gonna be hard times. This past week sucked, but you've got to just pick up your replica retro Jays cap, dust it off, slap it back on your mellon and hope for a better week ahead.
This team has surprised us already, so let's try to hang onto those happy thoughts, even as they drift into memory. Because the alternative is a long miserable summer.