Death By Ten Thousand Paper Cuts

Sunday, July 30 2006 @ 10:30 AM EDT

Contributed by: Dave Till

The Toronto Blue Jays are driving me crazy.

As I write this, the Jays are not truly in the pennant race, but they're not out of it. This month, they've been following a consistent pattern. They win a couple of games and draw closer to the Sox and Yanks, which kindles that annoying faint hope. Then, they lose a couple of games, slip back, and extinguish that hope.

At this point, I want to see them win a whole bunch of games in a row or lose a whole bunch of games in a row. Preferably the former, but at least we'll know one way or another for sure.

Because the Jays are sorta almost kinda maybe in the race, they can't trade any of their soon-to-be free agents for players who could help them down the road, as they can't afford to give up on this year. (For one thing, they'd lose money in fall ticket sales.) But, since their chance of winning is, realistically, fairly slim, they can't really risk mortgaging their future to try to go over the top right now.

The problem is that there are two formidable roadblocks between them and the wild card. The Minnesota Twins have suddenly become a great team, thanks partially to the unexpected development of Francisco Liriano. (Aside: if Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar had developed sooner, Michael Lewis would have written his book about the Jays, not the A's, and would have called it Gordoball.) And the New York Yankees have George Steinbrenner's unstoppable chequebook: they are apparently about to trade for all of the best players on the Philadelphia roster. Sigh.

A few notes, while I'm here: