Toronto Blue Jays Midseason Review

The ceremonial halfway point to the 2013 MLB season is here and the Toronto Blue Jays are in a familiar position, near the bottom of the A.L. East, looking for a playoff spot.

This reality hurts a little more this year after the extremely high expectations that surrounded the team before the season started. The blockbuster trade with the Marlins and the Rogers Media hype train prepared Blue Jays fans for a magical season that hasn’t really arrived.

April was possibly the worst month in Blue Jays history, with the team going 10-17 and immediately dampening Toronto’s hopes for a winner. But at least they stopped playing that damn Metric song every commercial break once the Blue Jays were 10 games under .500 (May 3).

Injuries also took a toll on the Jays for a second straight year. Key players like Jose Reyes, Brandon Morrow, Brett Lawrie (twice), Josh Johnson, J.A. Happ and more have landed on the disabled list.

The starting pitching was also dreadful. With many starters banged up (Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, J.A. Happ) and pitchers like Ramon Ortiz taking the mound (he’d get injured soon after) the rotation’s ERA exploded. The starting rotation was supposed to be a strength of this team, with Cy Young award winners and perfect game throwers, so it has to be the biggest disappointment so far. It’s hard to win games when you’re giving up three runs in the first inning every game.

But let’s not dwell all on the negatives. The Jays are kind of still in the race after an 11 game winning streak and some players have stepped up and given hope to the fans. They deserve to be commended and I am tired of writing about the negatives (the list is too long). It’s time for Toronto Blue Jays All-Star Break Awards.

The “Touch ’em All Joe” Award for Biggest Home Run 

This award obviously named after Joe Carter’s World Series winning home run in 1993, and is awarded to the home run that was both meaningful to a game and exciting to watch. So no garbage time home runs.

And the award goes to…

Munenori Kawasaki for his two-run homer  in the 7th inning against the Orioles on June 22. It tied a meaningful game (that the Jays would go on to win) and continued the Jays June winning streak. Even more, it came from a 32- year-old player who had never hit a home run in the major leagues. Kawasaki doesn’t speak English, hits around .220 and somehow gets massive applause from the fans when he bunts a runner into scoring position. The homer cemented Kawasaki’s legendary status in Toronto and so he deserves the award.

The Kelly Gruber Mullet Award For Best Hairstyle 

Kelly Gruber, third baseman for the 1992 World Series winning team, had one heck of a mullet. This award goes to the player that’s not afraid to buck the trend and do something a little different with his hair.

And the award goes to…

Colby Rasmus, for his fine mullet and beard combo. Rasmus wins this award because his Gruber-esque hair sets him apart from all his teammates who universally have neatly trimmed hair. Look it up, everyone on the team has the exact same haircut. So here’s to Rasmus, who isn’t afraid to do what he likes, regardless that it’s not the ’90s anymore (no matter how many Jays fans want it to be).

The Tom Henke Glasses Award for Best Reliever

Tom Henke, the Blue Jays closer from 1985-1992 was a intimidating figure on the mound. He was nicknamed The Terminator, and with his frigid demeanor,  thick glasses, and ability to close out games, the nickname was well earned. Whenever Henke was on the mound, Jays fans felt safe. So this award goes to the pitcher that comes out to the mound and lets the Rogers Centre breath a sigh of relief.

And the award goes to…

Brett Cecil. What hasn’t the guy done this year. He’s beefed up his fastball from the high 80s to the mid 90s. He set a Jays record for most batters faced without giving up a hit with 43. He’s been named to the All-Star team, which never happens to a mid-relief pitcher. Not only that, but when he gets on the mound, his attitude and ability make fans confident the team won’t give up any runs (a rarity this year).

The Brett Lawrie Thrown Helmet Award for Sticking it to Umpires 

If you ask most Jays fans, they’ll tell you that a lot of calls go against the Jays. So when a member of the Jays chirps an umpire, fans get behind them. This award commemorates Brett Lawrie throwing his helmet down and striking an umpire after  a few brutal strike calls that cost him a walk.

And the award goes to…

John Gibbons, who leads all managers in Major League Baseball with four ejections. In fact, the Blue Jays lead the league in ejections with 7. Something that would make Brett Lawrie proud.


What do you think of our awards? Do you think anyone else on the team deserves one?


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