Hopefully it helps improve your MLB playoff experience whether you're a diehard like me or just getting into the season and don't know where to start.
And of course - follow Starting 9 for world class MLB playoff coverage. One of us actually won this tournament a couple years ago so we kinda know what we're talking about.
Let's get into it:
The Toronto Blue Jays (need to win today)
Division: East (2nd)
Playoff Seed: 4th of 6
Wild Card Opponent: Hosting (#5) Seattle Mariners (DOWN 0-1)
Obligatory Sweet Moment:
Manager: John Schneider
Years Active: 1
Overall Record: 46-28 (.622)
Postseason Record: 0-0
Accomplishments: Took over for Charlie Montoyo on July 13th and has put up the 3rd best AL record since behind the Astros and Guardians.
Noteworthy Nuggets: Looks like he can hang with Wade Boggs on a cross country flight
Head Honcho: Mark Shapiro (7 years) is an extremely well respected and veteran front office guy. He was with the Indians for 24 years and involved in some of those bad ass teams with Manny and Thome and Bobby Alomar. 31 years in the game and he's never won a World Series, which sucks. Sure.
But he's also the architect behind some of the sweetest "cores" in my life. Not just the aforementioned 90's Indians. But how about the follow up: Grady Sizemore - Travis Hafner - Coco Crisp - CC Sabathia - Cliff Lee. Then a few years later it was: Francisco Lindor - Jose Ramirez - Jason Kipnis - Trevor Bauer - Mike Clevinger. And then the Blue Jays gave him a truckload of money and he's doing the same shit in Toronto.
All Mark Shapiro does is build sweet cores. This 2022 group might be his best work yet.
Blue Jays Owner's Box
Owner: Rogers Communications
Net Worth: $7B (company equity, translated from CA$ to US$ effective 10/6/22 )
Source of Wealth: Ted Rogers built a massive communications company back in the 1960's ultimately becoming the 5th richest guy in Canada. He used the company to buy the Blue Jays in 2000 and now I'm pretty sure that company owns literally every dog and pony show in town. Maple Leafs. Raptors. Argonauts. Everybody. And the whole thing started with Ted buying out the local FM radio station in 1960 because he thought FM was a sound alternative to AM programming.
Ted died a genius in 2008.
The Blue Jays remain with the company.
Year Purchased: 2000
Purchase Price: $137M
2022 Team Value: $1.8B
2022 Payroll (MLB rank): $186 Million (11th of 30)
The 2022 Blue Jays
Brand Recognition: Always talented, sometimes good. Rarely excellent.
3 Best Players:
1. George Springer, CF = active October legend
2. Vlad Guerrero Jr., 1B = butt cheeks
3. Bo Bichette, SS = almost too sweet for me to even talk about
Best Starter: Alek Manoah but he lost last night so let's say Kevin Gausman. That seems fair.
Best Reliever: Jordan Romano is a fine closer even if I find him kinda boring. That's my own personal taste.
Surprise Guy To Watch: Danny Jansen and there isn't a #2 in the contest. Finally healthy and in consistent playing time. Maybe I'm biased because he's a solid Midwestern dude. But maybe I just appreciate a grinder professional that takes advantage of his opportunities. That's Danny Jansen to me and I encourage you to do some homework on the young man.
Oldest Guy On The Team: David Phelps, 35 (but he went to Notre Dame so probably plays closer to a very disappointed 55)
Youngest Guy On The Team: Gabriel Moreno, 22
Strengths: Thunder. Youth. Then a guy named George Springer lurking in CF with a career .895 OPS in the postseason. Mix in the new guy swag from John Schneider and the old righty Ross Stripling and you can understand the appeal.
Weaknesses: Pitching depth and a balanced 7 hitter. That's it.
3 Biggest Questions:
1. Is someone going to step up and grow some balls for the city of Toronto and give them a postseason series victory?
2. Can they win game 2 even though the Mariners absolutely eviscerated their souls in game 1?
3. Alejandro Kirk. That's not a question. Doesn't matter. Alejandro Kirk
The Blue Jays can win the World Series IF…
For more on the Toronto Blue Jays and the 2022 Wild Card Series: