In May and early June, the Toronto Blue Jays were on top of the baseball world. They occupied first place in the American League East and it looked like they were bound to run away with things.
Their closest competitors were the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees, who appeared stuck playing .500 baseball.
New York was never really considered a threat, but the idea of Baltimore struggling for wins sent a sense of relief and excitement across Toronto.
Maybe those other birds weren’t such a threat? Maybe they’re overrated like the Jays were overrated last season?
Fast-forward one month and the situation has been completely reversed. The Orioles have soared to the top of the division and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. They’ve quickly built themselves a three-game cushion over the Jays, who seem eager to help Baltimore reach new heights.
Toronto, which has been bleeding ground since June, are 2-8 in their last ten games. Baltimore, on the other hand, are 7-3 in their last ten games, taking full advantage of weak opponents.
It’s obviously disappointing to see the Jays slip into irrelevance, but here’s the thing: I’m not upset.
I can blame the Texas Rangers for the Jays’ recent slide, but I hold no grudge against the Orioles.
Like the Jays, they’ve spent many years at or near the bottom of the American League East.
Like the Jays, they’ve often been an afterthought in their own division.
Normally, it’s talk of New York or Boston that dominates, but that’s not the case any longer. A pair of birds hold our attention right now.
Regarding Baltimore, it’s nice to see their patience and hard work as an organization finally pay off. They opted for a long-term fix versus the quick fix sought by the Jays so we can’t really lament their success. They deserve it.
I’ll always remain a Jays fan at heart, but if I find myself watching orioles this October instead of blue jays, it won’t really bother me. After all, it beats watching a group of expired Yankees or a bunch of dirty red socks take center stage again.
As for the division’s fifth team, they’ve stung themselves in the foot and may see several marque players leave. That’s something worth being upset over.