Have you been paying attention to spring training?
If your answer to that was “a little, but it doesn’t really matter. Let me know when the meaningful games start,” then you and I are in the same boat. Spring training is neat and all, what with the fog of hope that envelops every team and young players trying so hard to prove they belong, but any games where pitchers are pitching to work on their stuff instead of to win are, ultimately, not that important.
Except! (Not the exclamation mark? Excitement follows!)
Except that the Blue Jays are winning a lot of games! So many, in fact, that they’re in pretty nice company, historically. (If you count the last 20 years to mean “historically,” at least.)
The Blue Jays are right now sitting at 23 wins and 6 losses in the spring. That’s a winning percentage of .793. They have two games left, both against the Tigers and, if they win just oen of those games against Detroit, the Jays will finish with a winning percentage of at least .774.
But who cares about winning percentage, right?
ESPN’s Jayson Stark, that’s who!
Over the weekend, he went all crazy and compared the Jays to the 1997 Florida Marlins and the 2009 Anaheim, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Angels. The ’97 Marlins won the World Series and the ’09 Angels went on to win 97 games before losing in the ALCS in 6 games to the Yankees. What do the Jays have in common with these teams? Spring training winning percentage, of course!
Those Marlins and Angels teams were, although I’m sure you don’t need me to spell it out for you at this point, the only two teams within the last 20 years to post spring winning percentages above .750.
So, now, I hope you can see how important it is that Toronto wins at least one of its final two spring games. The outcome of the upcoming season clearly hangs in the balance.
And, really, we wouldn’t want the team to let Larry King down, would we?