Playing The Spoiler Role

Blue Jays Red SoxAt the start of spring training, every baseball player on every baseball team in the major league has only one objective; that is to make it to the big dance in October.

Unfortunately, only eight teams make it through the 162-game season to play for the World Series and that can be a tough pill to swallow for many other players around the league. In fact, most teams are eliminated from post-season contention in the very first week of September. So what to do for the remaining month of the season?

Well, why not regain your pride by eliminating contending teams from playoff race? It’s small consolation to eliminate one team from making the playoffs when your team has also been eliminated, but there is a feeling of pride in that role of spoiler.

That is what the Toronto Blue Jays are doing right now. They swept the American League East leading Boston Red Sox earlier in the week, outscoring the 2004 World Series Champs 14-5 in three games. At the conclusion of the series against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox found themselves only 1.5 games ahead of the New York Yankees. When the series began on Monday, the Yankees were 4.5 games back of the Sox.

Yankees Red SoxTonight (Friday, Sept. 21) the Jays begin a four-game series against the Yankees and can play the role of spoiler for the Yankees. New York and Boston are all but guaranteed a spot in the big dance, starting on Oct. 3, but would like to go into the playoffs as the A.L. East Champs. Why not? Just walking through the streets of Boston and New York in the same week in the middle of August, it is apparent that there are only two teams in all of Major League Baseball. It does not matter who else the Yankees or Red Sox play at any other time during the season. They want to beat each other.

However, before they can defeat each other for the division title or an American League pennant, they have to beat the spoiler teams like the Blue Jays or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

That might be the bigger challenge, even ahead of playing against the top teams in the playoffs: Playing the teams that have nothing to lose.

If you overlook those teams, they can pull one over on the elite. The Jays are a perfect example of that. A young, skilled squad with the ability to beat any team on any night, and both the Yankees and Red Sox have to be aware of that in the latter part of the season.

For entertainment purposes, however, I don’t think anyone would be opposed to seeing the Yankees and Red Sox do battle against each other to decide who will represent the American League in the World Series.

It’s always a classic.

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3 Responses

  1. I disagree they are playing the spoiler at all. The only reason the Yankees got back in the race because was Toronto laid down and died against them 19 times over the year.
    How many games has Toronto lost to the Yankees over the last two months before tonight?

    Sorry Toronto spent money last year and this year and they didn’t live up to it except against the Red Sox. Who by the way have not played Toronto well at all over the last few years.

  2. The Yankees got back into the race by being the best team in baseball since the All-Star break. If that means beating the Jays then so be it. That was earlier in the season.

    We’re talking now, in September. I’ll agree that the Jays went out and spent a lot of money in the last few seasons, but where is that money now?

    Troy Glaus: Injured
    Vernon Wells: Injured
    John MacDonald: Injured
    Frank Thomas: Injured as of today
    Lyle Overbay: Injured and seeing extremely limited playing time.

    So, with five injuries to big name, big money players, the Jays have gone to their farm team, called up almost the entire team from Syracuse. So, having said that, they are a young team and those young guns from the farm team are playing the spoiler role.

    What else are they still playing competetive baseball for with only a handful of games left for? For jobs next season and to try and stop either of their rivals in the A.L. East from making it. Rule in sports: If we can’t make it, let’s try and stop the others from making it.

  3. The Jays did a good job considering the injuries. It would have almost been funny if it weren’t so sad.

    Hopefully next year we’ll see them stay healthy and if they do, we’ll see them in the playoffs.

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