Saturday, February 4, 2012

The State of the Blue Jays Franchise

Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos
       How is it going everybody?  I know it has been a few days since our last post but we are going to hit the ground running again.  In this post I am going to discuss the recent event that happened at the Rogers Centre: the annual state of the franchise address.  Every year the Blue Jays staff sit down and allow the fans to ask questions and comment on the moves made in the offseason.  It is a unique way for the fans to connect with the higher ups of their favourite team.  At the meeting was manager John Farrell, general manager Alex Anthopoulos, and president Paul Beeston.  Over the course of the meeting topics such as the field material, payroll, and playoff success were discussed.  It created a sense of optimism among those involved.

Rogers Centre
       The first topic I felt was nice to hear was that of the potential of changing the field of the Rogers Centre from turf to grass.  This has long been something I have wanted to see the Blue Jays move towards.  The field has twice been changed to grass to accommodate soccer matches for teams from Europe.  These events went off without a hitch.  However the biggest roadblock seems to be the Toronto Argonauts using the dome. If a grass field is installed, the configuration of the stadium must stay the same.  With the constant moving of seats to accomodate football the grass would not hold up.  But with the Argos potentially moving after this season this could become a reality.  The other hitch is events such as concerts coming as well.  However if events could be halted until outside of baseball season this could greatly benefit the team.  Turf has long been seen as dangerous in comparison to grass.  Players feel their careers will last longer playing on grass and it has stopped Toronto from bringing in big name free agents.  Most recently that of Carlos Beltran.  The fact is only two teams still use turf: Toronto and Tampa Bay.  This is a move that could greatly increase the chances of bringing in big name players and prolonging the careers of our current stars.

       Payroll was also brought up during the address.  Paul Beeston said for the second straight year that Toronto has the potential to one day spend upwards of $140-150 million dollars.  This would put Toronto up with the top tier teams in terms of payroll.  The major complaint fans had was the ability to not bring in any big names.  Specifically another big bat to protect Jose Bautista.  Mr. Anthopoulos stated that he only wanted to use trades to bring in players and would not commit to long contracts.  While I disagree with that sentiment I feel the Jays have the talent and the bats to protect their lineup.  However, in the future it would be nice to know that the team can at least entertain the idea of splurging and bringing in a big name bat or pitcher.  But the fact remains until fans come to the park, the budget will stay low.  So it remains to be seen who will budge first.  Will the fans come see a young team and bring in the dollars?  Or will the ownership have to cave and spend big money in hopes it will draw the fans in? We will have to see.
Blue Jays President Paul Beeston

       Along those same lines was the statement by Paul Beeston saying over the next five years he would like to see the Blue Jays in the playoffs at least two or three times.  He feels that the team has the talent to make an impact in the American League and that results should begin to show.  The fact is that when you are in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox, it will always be difficult.  Tampa Bay has shown that it can be done and I think the Jays have the core talent to make a push.  With the new wildcard in play anything is possible, and with the new bullpen in place this could be the first of many years of success for the Toronto Blue Jays.

       In the end this warm sense of optimism has to turn into something more.  For years we have said this will be our year.  But eventually that warm feeling turns into cold disappointment.  It is my hope as a life long Jays fan that this is the start of something new and not the same old feeling of good but not quite good enough.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts and reactions and remember to follow us on Twitter! @leafsdinosbirds.

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