One writer presents a Thanksgiving Blue Jays Tribute where they list the things they’re thankful for this year
Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase
As the American Thanksgiving holiday is almost upon us, I thought it would be a good time to share the may things I am thankful for with regards to the Toronto Blue Jays 2021 season. Without further ado, I am thankful for….
Teoscar Hernandez solidifying himself as a middle of the order bat. In 2020 Teoscar emerged on the scene and had a great year. In 2021 he repeated the feat, and improved on it. While his slugging was down somewhat, his batting average and on base percentage improved. It was so very nice to see him hit the ball to right field with authority and become a complete hitter in all respects.
Everything about Alek Manoah. The Blue Jays would not have contended for a playoff spot without the emergence of the big right hander. However to say he ‘emerged’ is a drastic understatement. Manoah blue the top right off the Rogers Centre with is confidence, his fastball and his slider. Everything about Manoah gives me thanks.
Jordan Romano closing the door. From being lost in the Rule Five draft, to be returned to the Blue Jays, Romano has had his ups and downs recently. That being said, 2021 was surely an ‘up’ for the Jays closer. Whether it was the deep knee bend, the overpowering fastball, or the wicked slider, it was sure fun to watch Romano shut the door on the Jays opponents last year.
Bo Bichette’s under the radar season. It seems impossible that a shortstop that leads the league in hits, bats .298 and slugs 29 (yes 29) home runs is barely talked about, but that is what happens when you play on the same team as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a Cy Young award winner. And to think Bo did all this at 23 years old. Wow.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. raking in August and September. This kid almost drove me over the edge for the first four months of the season with his horrible outfield play, inconsistent batting, and lackadaisical look on the bench, but boy was he fun to watch during the stretch drive!!
Tight pants. Yes, I am thankful for tight pants. Right from spring training it was evident Ray was going to have a great season. It was so much fun to watch him overpower batters with his fastball / slider combination. Lets hope the tight pants remain Blue Jay Blue for a few more years. No pinstripes here!!
Marcus Semien proving everyone wrong. No free agent wants to sign a one year contract, especially one who finished third in the MVP voting two years previous. Marcis bet on himself and finished third in the MVP voting again!! We Blue Jay fans were the prime beneficiary and got to watch a truly historic season as Semien set the all time record for home runs by a second baseman with forty five round trippers.
Fifty Percent of George Springer. We only go to see Springer half of the time, but boy was it great to see what we could. After missing much of the start of the season Springer showed everyone he was worth the $150,000,000 contract he signed in the off season. From spectacular outfield diving catches, to walk off home runs, Springer did it all, and he fit right in with the young Blue Jay core.
Julian Merryweather closing out the Yankees. It was only two games, but the first series of the season seems more important than any other (you have to admit that the first few games of the season can cause more joy or angst than any other until late September do you not?). Watching Merryweather dominate with his 100 mph fastball and Bugs Bunny changeup was pure baseball joy. I hope to see it much more in 2022.
Vlad. Rarely does a player captivate a nation like Vlad did. The homegrown prospect we all read about and watched video clips of during his minor league days finally put it all together and had himself a season for the ages. Vlad caused more sudden screams in my house than anything else, ever! His ferocious swing was must watch TV. When he ripped the bat through the air and it connected with the ball the fan response was not unlike ‘The Batflip’ of 2015. Something about Vlad connecting with a ball and driving it to left field makes one immediately jump out of their seat, and yell for the kids to come see the replay. There is nothing like it in baseball, and we all should be thankful that we get to witness it 162 games a year.
All that being said, the thing I am most thankful for is the ability to watch our young Blue Jay core players change from prospects with promise to all stars with expectations. The team emerged from its (thankfully) short rebuild and made a legitimate push for the playoffs. All 162 games mattered in the standings and therefore were must watch TV. I am thankful for the late season surge in the standings and the expectation of more next season. It is so very rare that a fan base can witness this progression of a team and for that opportunity, I am truly thankful.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Jason C MacDonald has been a Blue Jays fan since the late 1980’s. His lifelong passion for Baseball and the Blue Jays has recently led him to start writing at JFtC. When not working at his day job or driving his two teenage sons to their sporting events Jason is usually reading, listening, watching or now writing about baseball.