“Fans in Toronto have an unhealthy history of building up their sports stars, praising them intensely during their peak, and then turning on them once disappointment over the seemingly inevitable failure to deliver championship reaches a crescendo.”
As a lifelong fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, truer words have never been spoken. It may seem crazy but I feel like there’s this unspoken curse looming over the professional sports teams in The Big Smoke. The Leafs haven’t hoisted Lord Stanley’s cup since 1967, the Toronto Raptors have been frequent basement dwellers and after winning two back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 & 1993, the Jays have been unable to make it back into baseball’s postseason.
I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In 2013, respectable baseball was looking to make a comeback in the city of Toronto. GM Alex Anthopoulos was on a tear having locked up several exceptional players through blockbuster trades and free agent signings. Media hype was at an all time high which in turn, drove fans into a frenzy that a World Series championship was all but confirmed. Ticket sales soared and on opening night, the Rogers Centre held nearly 50,000 rabid Blue Jays fans.
Unfortunately for Toronto, hype is sometimes just hype.
While summarizing the 2013 campaign, co-authors Shi Davidi and John Lott expand upon the backgrounds of key roster members. Highly touted players R.A. Dickey, Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie were all highlighted through brief bios as well as their struggles throughout the year. There’s some great in game shots thrown in the middle of the book that break things up nicely but add very little.
My biggest issue with this book is that I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. You’re recapping an entire season only weeks after it ended and while the team didn’t live up to the impossible expectations heaped upon it by the media and Las Vegas oddsmakers, I wouldn’t consider it as soul crushing as the prior season. 2012 was laughable and almost unbelievable in the amount of injuries suffered to the pitching staff. That year was an absolute tragedy. The whole book felt like it exaggerated the failure of the season, or maybe I’m just apathetic when it comes to the Jays.
Overall, I guess I wasn’t into this as much as some diehards could be. The season was truly a huge let down for the city but being a fan of Toronto based pro sports teams, I’m more or less used to it (which is sad in and of itself). The Jays are in an extremely tough division and who knows if they’ll ever be able to compete against juggernauts like the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Unlike the Yankees, the Jays can’t just buy a winning season.