If you’ve been pining for some fresh sports insight, this isn’t your day. I know it’s been a while so prepare for the usual average wit and predictable circumstance!
Baseball is back and there is a buzz in the city of Toronto for a 39th straight year. The AL East is up for grabs and with an infusion of youth, the Jays look like they could do it. I feel like I’ve written that before….anyhow, they got off to a great start at 4-2, winning series in New York and Baltimore to start the season. Pitching was crisp and bats were booming. Coming home to Rogers Centre to play Tampa proved a couple of theories true: 1) The Rays still have some sort of mystical power over the Blue Jays and 2) The AL East is still a five horse race. Many pundits (me included) wrote off the Rays after trading Daved Price, Wil Myers and Ben Zobrist and losing manager Joe Maddon, but if the past two nights have proven anything its that they still have strong, young arms and an ability to beat teams much better on paper. Their defense against the Jays the past two nights has been outstanding as Josh Donaldson and Devon Travis both were robbed of home runs last night. It seems the brand new turf at Rogers Centre has not proven home-friendly yet so at the moment they are playing at a slight home disadvantage. Nobody should be up in arms over a 4-4 start but now there is pressure to win the next two against the Rays to split the series and keep our record against the AL East as strong as possible. Gathering wins now could play an important part later in the season when injuries start to creep in and rookies hit a wall.
It seems almost amazing to me that with the way the Raptors have played in 2015 they have tied last year’s franchise high for wins and still have one more game to get number 49. This shows how important a strong start to the season is. If they hadn’t gone 24-7 in 2014, they would never have gotten to 48 wins. Last night was a great opportunity to get that win playing a 7th seed Boston team but having just clinched a playoff spot they are pumped and hungry and took advantage of the Raptors turnovers. The winning basket was incredible as Crowder was double-teamed and falling out of bounds so it was a well-deserved home win by the Celtics. Even though Toronto has clinched home court in the first round and will play either Washington or Milwaukee, they need to finish strong, executing well and not turning over the ball. Consistent defense remains an issue and they absolutely need Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan playing at All-Star levels going into the first round. I’m not terribly worried about our possible opponents in that round as I believe we can beat either in a seven game series but the playoffs are a whole different animal and lower seeds always play above their heads. Clean it up boys, it’s almost time for the Sea of White.
Spring is here and that means spring cleaning! No one took that to heart more than Brendan Shanahan who fired everyone but the concession workers on the weekend. GM Dave Nonis and Interim Head Coach Peter Horacek were the most notable to be canned and it is just a matter of time before Kessel, Phaneuf, Lupul et al are wearing different jerseys. I said it before and I will say it again: it’s about time! This franchise has never gone through a true rebuild in my lifetime which means players and picks from past regimes stick around and bring a similar mentality with their average skills. Shanahan needs to scrub this thing to the bone. No illusions, it is going to be ugly in this city for a couple of years but it’s for the greater good. As long as they don’t screw that up too.