David Brown

Walk Toward The Light: Your 2009 Toronto Blue Jays

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Like 2008's Nail in the Coffin series, 2009's Walk Toward The Light aims to memorialize the eliminated teams that are gone and will likely be forgotten.

Toronto Blue Jays

Current record: 66-80

Season highlight The highest man-made point in Canada? Easy, the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, next door to the Rogers Centre. The highest point for the Blue Jays this season? On May 18, Alex Rios(notes) hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the eighth, scoring the go-ahead run in a victory against the White Sox that put the Jays 3 1/2 games ahead in the AL East with a record of 27-14. They've gone 39-66 since.

Season lowlight The nine-game losing streak starting May 19 was pretty bad, and the attempted beer assault of B.J. Upton by two female fans did not reflect well on the drinkers of Toronto, but the misery Roy Halladay(notes) endured while J.P. Ricciardi unsuccessfully shopped him marks the franchise as perhaps its most embarrassing and costliest moment.

We knew the Jays were done for when ... the Red Sox swept the Jays in Boston in May, starting the club's nine-game swoon. It doesn't take much of a slip to fall out of contention in the AL East and it was a sign Toronto would not be long for the pennant race.

The Stew's favourite posts on the Jays:

How 'bout a beer, eh? Rogers Centre (how I long to call it SkyDome) got into trouble with liquor license violations, which led to a couple of dry dates at the ol' ballpark. It would be a portent of things to come, with the Jays unable to maintain their hot start and give Torontonians a celebration, replete with champagne, at the end of the season.

Call 911, eh? No — call Roy Featured in a clever commercial as an unexpectedly effective hostage negotiator, Roy Halladay ironically would be held hostage himself by Ricciardi in just a few weeks.

Injury dominoes An early sign of trouble came in late April when the team put B.J. Ryan(notes) on the DL with control problems. The same day, rookie Ricky Romero(notes) (say that 10 times fast) also went on the DL. Still, there was optimism after the Jays became the first team to score on Zack Greinke(notes) in a start by an up-and-coming mustache named Brian Tallet(notes) (vous).

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Avril's perfect pitch Hopes rose when pop star/ex-ballplayer Avril Lavigne threw out the first pitch and the Jays announcers got all gooey in her presence.

Roy must go Letting the genie out of the bottle, J.P. tries to start a bidding war for Halladay he doesn't let anyone win. Ricciardi doesn't make a deal, but he does make Halladay's wife cry.

Rios makes like a maple tree and leafs In what might have been a job-saving masterstroke for J.P., or perhaps it was just dumb luck, or neither, the Jays lose expensive Alex Rios on the waiver wire. After he's claimed by the White Sox, the Jays just let go of the two-time All-Star — getting no bodies in return — and let the Pale Hose pay the $60-million balance on Rios' contract.

Cecil B. Demented No Blue Jays review would be complete without the absent-minded error made by rookie Brett Cecil(notes), who threw a baseball out of play without calling timeout first. This story received nearly 900 comments, most of which told the writer he was an idiot for thinking it was a big deal.

What the team needs to do for 2010 If the Jays want to remain unintentionally hilarious, the suits running the club need to do whatever possible to keep J.P. Ricciardi as GM. Don't be surprised if Ricciardi, knowing how hot of a property he is, starts a bidding war for his own services.

You know, the Jays actually have some pieces in place. All-Star Aaron Hill(notes), The Amazing Travis Snider(notes)-Man, some really good young pitchers, Doctor Roy Halladay and $60 million (U.S.) of house money. It's a weak free-agent crop, but maybe they can add some mid-range pieces and give this thing another try in '10, Roy's last season in Toronto. For sure this time.

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