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A couple of years ago I came out of my bunker, but I saw my shadow.

Just kidding. I've been following baseball and raising children. Mostly the latter. And let me tell you, having three boys under eight years old and a non-freelance job has made writing about baseball in any meaningful way a far-off dream. Also, the part where I'm me and write the way I usually write makes meaningful baseball writing impossible.

I am not here to talk about the trade (sorry, The Trade) or The Signing. I could toss out nuggets about how the Man In White needs to polish up his HTML skills, but that's what Twitter is for.

Nope, I'm here to ask a question, because I've seen a lot of chatter this off season about how terrible 2012 was for the Jays. How it was The Worst Ever. Sure, it was pretty bad. It was painful. Embers of hope turned into burning fire of pain. Injuries, idiocy, "betrayal". But I have to ask one very important question:

Do you guys remember 2004?

The horror of 2004 can be summed up in one representative half-inning: Terry Adams throwing wild pitch after wild pitch after wild pitch, to blow a multiple run lead and then lose the game. It was marred by Carlos Delgado's never ending stretch on the DL. The pitching staff featuring the mummified remains of Pat Hentgen, noted poet, mystery novelist and space cadet Miguel Batista, and utility construction worker Frank Menechino.

And Dave Berg played a lot more baseball than you ever want to see Dave Berg play.

At the end of 2004, there was no upside. There was no "if everyone was healthy". There were no bright spots. There was only darkness and pain, with a future that promised more of the same.

2012 was pretty damn good, in comparison.

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
JB21 - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 01:48 PM EST (#265815) #
Why would you ask any Jays fan that question??? Especially after this week. Can we pretend this just didn't happen? Thanks!
CeeBee - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 01:51 PM EST (#265816) #
WB NfH :) I missed your commentary AND your baseball photos!
I don't miss 2004 and 2012 wasn't that bad..... really it wasn't.
Matthew E - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:05 PM EST (#265818) #
And that wasn't even the worst of it. The worst of it was Tom Cheek and John Cerutti and Doug Ault and... was it Mattick or LaMacchia who died that year?

The other thing that struck me about that year was the bullpen. The Jays actually put together what looked like a pretty good pen that year, and of the six pitchers they planned on, all six failed. Adams, Ligtenberg, Speier, de los Santos, Kershner, and Aquilino Lopez. Only Speier salvaged enough of the season to even keep his job; God knows what the Jays would have done if Frasor and Chulk hadn't come up midseason and pitched well.
John Northey - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:44 PM EST (#265821) #
Always interesting to look into the past...
2004 Offense...
4 guys out of 23 had an OPS+ over 100. Menechino, Delgado, Wells, and Russ Adams (yup).

The primary DH, Josh Phelps, had an 80 OPS+ but he outhit the main LF Reed Johnson who had a 79, who outhit the SS at 76 who outhit the 3B (Hinske) who was at 76 as well. Ugh. For comparison, Lind was at 96 by years end, and only Escobar was at the sub-80 level (75) among regulars.

The pitching in 2004 was actually decent, with a 98 ERA+ overall, 4 guys with 15+ starts having ERA+'s over 100 (3 over 110).

Funny looking back. Also nice to see our worst hitting gone.
Thomas - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:45 PM EST (#265822) #
Mattick, I believe.

Hopefully we see your writing around here a little more, NFH. As you suggested, any time you think things are miserable, you only need to remember Terry Adams and everything doesn't seem as bad.
Brent S - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:52 PM EST (#265823) #
Aaron, 2004 didn't stop us from having a great time in the Cheer Club in 518. I consider that a bright spot on an otherwise horrible year of baseball.
Dr B - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 02:57 PM EST (#265824) #
Yes, welcome back indeed, NFH! I've missed your positive and cheerful posts and wondered why you'd disappeared. In the interim there seems to have been an outbreak of Adam Dunn disease around here; the contagion has only been brought under control in the last few days and only with extreme measures.

2004 may have looked like a bit of a disaster but wasn't this a plan to get a high draft pick? No 2004, no Ricky Romero.

Hmmm. Maybe that wasn't the plan. It did look like Ricciardi thought he could do things on the cheap with a lot of retreads particularly for that awful bullpen. Bob File looked promising but I believe he got injured. Terry Adams, Vinnie Chulk, the mouldering remains of Kerry Lightenberg...The roster was full of cheap filler and with little hope of rescue from the minor leagues. Aquilino Lopez also turned back into a pumpkin.

Contrast this with 2012 where at least there were plenty of talent available to be excited about and for half a season we had competive baseball. Injuries happen, but you would have to say that the luck in 2012 was a bit of an outlier and will not happen every season.

Mike Green - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 03:44 PM EST (#265826) #
It's great to see a NFH at the bottom of a Batter's Box story. 

If 2004 was the Season from Hell, 2012 is now looking in hindsight to be the Season from Limbo. 

Magpie - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:09 PM EST (#265830) #
LEST WE FORGET: The Season From Hell

April: (7-15)

The 2004 season kicked off with a three game homestand against the Detroit Tigers, who were coming off a 119 loss season. The AL's reigning Cy Young winner was on the mound for the Blue Jays. What could possibly go wrong?

5 April - Detroit beats Halladay 7-0 on Opening Day.
7 April - Bonderman beats Hentgen, and the Tigers sweep the Jays at SkyDome to start the season.
11 April - Say hello to the 2004 bullpen, boys and girls. Miguel Batista takes a 4-2 lead over Boston into the 8th. Terry Adams and Kerry Ligtenberg cough up the lead, and Aquilino Lopez takes the loss in 12 innings. Ligtenberg blows the team's first save opportunity.
17 April - Justin Speier, who is now the new closer du jour, gives up a 2 run HR by Tejada in the 9th, Orioles win 5-3.
21 April - Jays lose 8th straight game at home; are 3-11 to start the season.
26 April - Greg Myers tears up his ankle coming into 3b at Minnesota. His season, it turns out, is over.
27 April - Jacque Jones hits a 3 run HR off Speier in the 9th; Jays blow a 4-2 9th inning lead.
28 April - Jays rally from 4 runs down in the 8th to tie Twins at 5-5. Frasor and Adams immediately surrender 4 in the bottom of the inning. Adams' outing includes the always entertaining Wild Pitch while delivering an intentional walk.
29 April - Pat Hentgen takes a 4-1 lead into the 6th against the ChiSox, then hits the wall. Sox score 5 runs, with Mike Nakamura taking the L. Jays don't just lose - they lose to Lord Voldemort, He Who Can Not Be Named. Also known as E______ L____.

May: (15-14)

Not quite the start anyone was hoping for, and the bullpen was not inspiring a lot of confidence. But it was early days yet, with lots of time to turn things around. But when the team finally started playing well, toward the end of May, misfortune stepped up to whack us all upside the head...

1 May - Carlos Delgado homers to tie the White Sox in the 8th, which means only that we have to go to extra innings before Crede's sac fly beats Speier.
1 May - Shortstop Chris Woodward (batting .323) injures his hamstring.
3 May - Jays score 2 in bottom of 9th to tie Royals, which again means that all we have to go to extra innings before the Jays finally lose the damn game. This time a Guiel HR beats Adams in the 10th.
11 May - It's time for Justin Speier to go on the DL. Woodward returns to the lineup and immediately reinjures his hamstring.
12 May - Chris Woodward goes on the DL.
12 May - Terry Adams is now the closer du jour. His first move is to surrender a 3-2 lead in the 9th on Mike Sweeney's 2 run 2b.
13 May - Bad news even comes seeping up from the minor leagues - Dustin McGowan needs Tommy John surgery.
14 May - The first in what will prove to be an amazing series: Kerry Ligtenberg Meltdown # 1. Ligtenberg entered a 3-3 game in the 8th. After he allowed 4 hits, 1 HB, and 5 ER, it wasn't 3-3 anymore.
17 May - Another late Jays rally! They scored three times to tie the Twins in the 7th. Unmoved, Mike Nakamura gives up a 2 run HR to Jones to lose in the 9th.
19 May - Justin Miller, Lopez, and Kershner pitch the Jays to a 5-2 lead going into the 9th. Terry Adams comes in to close out the victory. But first he loaded the bases for Matt LeCroy, who hit a grand-slam homer. The Jays had gone beyond snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory. They were reaching down Victory's throat and pulling out the loss...
21 May - Mike Nakamura gives up a HBP and a Ramirez HR in the 8th inning of a tie game. Ligtenberg then chips in with Meltdown # 2, facing three batters, all of whom reached and scored. Red Sox win 11-5.
22 May - Ted Lilly was tossing a shutout at Fenway until Bellhorn lined one off his leg and Manny followed with a game-tying HR. Ligtenberg, Kershner, Adams took care of the rest, 5-2 Boston.
23 May - Orlando Hudson comes out of the game after aggravating his hamstring.
27 May - Frank Catalanotto (batting .346) and Kevin Cash go on the DL.
29 May - Orlando Hudson goes on the DL.
30 May - Carlos Delgado misses his first game of the year with a rib cage strain. Jays have their modest 5 game win streak snapped by Texas.

June: (12-15)

The middle infield is on the DL, the team's best hitter is day-to-day. What next? Don't ask. After the whack in the head comes the knee to the groin...

1 June - Roy Halladay scratched from start against Seattle.
3 June - Tom Cheek misses his first Jays game ever after the sudden passing of his father.
3 June - Oh, swell. Roy Halladay goes on the DL. In the game, Batista and Zito battle for 8 IP. Set free to roam in the Toronto bullpen, the A's beat Adams in the 11th. This was the game when Bobby Estalella hit a HR that the umpire said was foul. Naturally.
8 June - Oh, joy. Carlos Delgado goes on the DL.
11 June - Pat Hentgen turns back the clock with 7 shutout IP against Arizona. Newly installed closer du jour Jason Frasor chooses this night for his first blown save, allowing 3 in the 9th.
12 June - Well, this actually explained a lot. Kerry Ligtenberg goes on the DL.
14 June - In case the fans were taking their suffering too seriously, Tom Cheek misses his first home game ever. Two days later we learn he has a brain tumor.
15 June - Vernon Wells injures his calf running in CF.
16 June - Reed Johnson, cleanup hitter.
17 June - Vernon Wells goes on the DL. Speier allows 3 runs in the 8th, Giants win 8-5.
19 June - Josh Towers comes out after 7 IP but just 78 pitches with a 2-1 lead. Speier gives up 2 runs in the 8th, Padres win 3-2.
24 June - Tampa Bay scores 19 runs against Lilly, File, Nakamura, Peterson, Speier, and Adams.
27 June - Frank Catalanotto goes back on the DL. Pat Hentgen makes what will prove to be his last SkyDome start: 1.2 IPT, 3 H, 6 ER, 5 BB.

July: (11-14)

The Blue Jays headed for July with their three best players - Delgado, Halladay, Wells - on the DL.

2 July - David Bush works into the 6th in his ML debut and leaves with the score 0-0. Speier lets the inherited runner score to tag Bush with the loss.
4 July - Trailing Expos 2-1 in the 6th, Jays load bases with none out. They do not score, and the Expos get 4 more in their half.
9 July - The day after Delgado's dramatic 9th inning walkoff HR against Guardado finished a sweep of Seattle, Doc allows 12 hits in 5 innings, and the Jays will be swept by Anaheim.
10 July - Ligtenberg Meltdown #3 (0.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 ER) helps turn a 4-2 game into an 11-2 blowout.
18 July - On a hot night in Texas, Batista hits the wall with a 5-1 lead. Teixeira hits a grand slam off Vinnie Chulk. That's six losses in a row, by the way. 20 July - Rich Harden and David Bush hook up in a magnificent pitcher's duel, which Speier finally loses, 1-0, in 14 innings.
21 July - The last game of Pat Hentgen's fine major league career is a start in Yankee Stadium. Hentgen lasts just 2.2 IPT, allowing 7 H and 8 ER.
22 July - Lilly and El Duque lock up in a fine duel, settled when Chulk allows a Ruben Sierra walkoff homer in the 9th.
21 July - Roy Halladay goes back on the DL.
25 July - Pat Hentgen retires.
26 July - Jays rally with a pair of 9th inning runs against Mariano Rivera himself to send the game to extra innings. Naturally, once there, Tony Clark beats Frasor in the 10th inning.
27 July - Lilly leads the Yankees 2-1, when we encounter Ligtenberg Meltdown #4 (0.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 ER) as, with help from Speier, they surrender 4 runs in the 8th.

August: (9-20)

By now, the theme of the season was pretty clear: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Round about now, it just started getting really ugly...

5 August - Ligtenberg Meltdown #5, as he allows 4 hits and 3 runs in the 10th inning, and Cleveland wins 6-3.
8 August - Bernie Williams hits his first career grand slam, as Yankees win 3rd straight. Carlos Tosca is fired.
10 August - Dave Bush has barely been in the majors for a month, but this is already the third time that the Jays have scored no runs for him. The immortal Chad Durbin shuts them down, 2-0
12 August - Lilly has a 2-1 lead and 2 out in the 7th. After Belliard singles, it's time for Ligtenberg Meltdown #6 - 3 BB in a row. Vinnie Chulk finishes the fun by serving up a Ben Broussard grand slam.
15 August - Jays take a 7-1 lead behind David Bush. "Let's see you blow that one," he says to the bullpen. They were more than up to the job, as Chulk and Frasor gave up 8 runs in the 8th inning.
18 August - Boston jumps out to a 4-0 lead in the 1st and hang on for a 6-4 win. Jays have now lost 13 of 15.
24 August - Batista hits the wall in the 6th inning, and Mirabelli's 3 run HR snaps Toronto's little 4 game win streak.
26 August - Jays jump out to early 4-0 lead, but they give it all back and lose when Frasor allows 3 in the 9th.
27 August - Jays have the lead again, but the Yankees score 4 in the fifth. And just to make it all especially irritating - the winning pitcher is Tanyon Sturtze.
28 August - Mariano Rivera retires the potential tying run in the bottom of the 8th. The game doesn't stay close for long. The Yankees score 9 off Maurer and Ligtenberg (Meltdown #7 - 0.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 HR). Frank Menechino finishes up on the mound, and is the only Toronto pitcher not to allow a run on the afternoon.
31 August - Jays squander a 4-0 lead, but rally to tie it 5-5. Ligtenberg then loses it in the 8th.

September/October: (13-16)

At this point, the only question remaining was: "When will it end?"

4 September - Jays take a 5-2 lead into the 8th. Chulk (2 runs) and Frasor (5 runs) give it all back.
11 September - Trailing 7-4, Jays get pinch hit homers from Hinske and Gomez to tie it up. Frasor then allows 3 runs with two out in the 8th.
12 September - Teixeira hits a 3 run homer in the first, but the Jays come back and take a 6-5 lead. Teixeira then hits a 2 run HR off Speir to win it.
13 September - Bruce Chen pitches a 5 hit CG. Justin Miller, whose grandfather has just passed away, gets shelled.
21 September - Lord Voldemort wins the only game he would ever win as a Yankee. Doc returns to the mound, and gives up the only HR Giambi would hit since returning to the lineup.
25 September - Jays rally from 5-1 deficit to tie the game in the 9th. But Batista's own error sets up the game-winning sac fly in bottom half.
29 September - HRs by Delgado and Adams bring the Jays back from 6-3 deficit to tie Orioles. Alas, an Adams error in the 9th sets up the winning hit by Newhan.
3 October - The season ends with Delgado, stuck on 99 RBI, watching from the on-deck circle as Wells flies out to end the game.

On the same day the season ended, broadcaster and former pitcher John Cerutti, just 44 years old, was found dead in his hotel room. Bobby Mattick, a Blue Jay fixture since 1976, died of a stroke in December - at the ripe old age of 89, true, but depressing nonetheless. Opening Day hero Doug Ault took his own life three days before Christmas.

Never challenge worse.
Lylemcr - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:11 PM EST (#265831) #
I looked at  When you look at the headlines, you would swear that the Jays were the only team in Baseball.
Original Ryan - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:12 PM EST (#265832) #
Peter Widdrington also passed away during the 2004-05 offseason.

Before the 2004 season started, I thought the Blue Jays had a chance to challenge the Yankees for the A.L. East title. Ever since that experience, I've tried to avoid getting my hopes up for any given season. As of right now, I'm cautiously optimistic about the team's chances in 2013.
Alex Obal - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:17 PM EST (#265833) #
Oh c'mon, it wasn't the end of the world. The Corey Koskie era was about to begin! The Jays have made offseason splashes before, y'know.
Named For Hank - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:18 PM EST (#265835) #
Excellent work, Magpie. Please never mention Tanyon Sturtze in my presence again.
Named For Hank - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:21 PM EST (#265836) #
I agree, Brent. 518 will always be the finest place in the Rogers Centre. We kept each other sane, that's for sure.
bpoz - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 06:37 PM EST (#265838) #
You took me by surprise NFH. Thank you.

Great tread starter.
Magpie - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 07:19 PM EST (#265839) #
Please never mention Tanyon Sturtze in my presence again.

That shouldn't be too hard!
Matthew E - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 07:40 PM EST (#265841) #
Of course, there was another Season from Hell, one that was just as bad in many ways as 2004. I refer to 1995, in which the Jays traded for and then traded away David Cone, there were many heartbreaking losses, the Jays finished last, Roberto Alomar received death threats, the team quit down the stretch, and many veteran players flew the coop at the end of the season. Gord Ash's first year; coincidence?
Matthew E - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 07:44 PM EST (#265842) #
Of course, you may have noticed that 2004 came 9 years after 1995, and 2012 came 8 years after 2004. So the next season of this type should come in 7 years, in 2011, and so on, until by 2030 every season will be like this.

I don't like it either, but you can't argue with science.

Mike Green - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 08:43 PM EST (#265843) #
Actually, the next one is due in 2019.  AA realizes this and wants to get while the getting's good.

If you must know, 2004 started at the end of 2003 at least for minor league purposes.  Guillermo Quiroz (.282/.372/.518 as a 21 year old catcher) and Alex Rios (.352/.402/.501 as a slick-fielding 22 year old centerfielder) led the New Haven Ravens to the EL finals, and were among the top prospects in baseball.  At the end of 2003, Quiroz suffered a lung injury in a collision at the plate.  He was never the same.  Meanwhile, the Jays did not monitor Rios' workload in the off-season and he played about a gazillion games.  He started off 2004 in Syracuse and was struggling.  Unfortunately, the big-league club had a couple of injuries in the outfield and did not have an adequate backup (please, oh please, learn from this) and called up the struggling Rios in May thereby burning a year of service time and doing nothing great for his development.  There were a couple of good news stories in the minor leagues in 2004.  Gustavo Chacin came from nowhere to go 16-2 for New Hampshire; he, Aaron Hill and Brandon League led the Fisher Cats to the league championship in their first season after the move from New Haven. Hill looked to be the player we all hoped he would be when he was drafted. 

Named For Hank - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 09:11 PM EST (#265844) #
That shouldn't be too hard!

I thought so too, but you went and mentioned him.

Named For Hank - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 09:14 PM EST (#265845) #
I don't like it either, but you can't argue with science.

Goddamned Sabrmatricians.

Lefty - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 09:48 PM EST (#265846) #
What was that jersey bet with Robert again? That saga provided hours of fun and chuckles.
smcs - Saturday, November 17 2012 @ 11:59 PM EST (#265847) #
he, Aaron Hill and Brandon League led the Fisher Cats to the league championship in their first season after the move from New Haven.

Even this was problematic. The New Haven Ravens were supposed to become the New Hampshire Primaries, but the fan and media outrage was so loud, that the owners announced a "Name the Team" contest a week after announcing the new name.
Named For Hank - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:35 AM EST (#265848) #
Lefty, Robert suggested that Hillenbrand would have no value to the team and I challenged him to define value. Robert placed it at a .350 OBP at the All Star Break. You may recall that Hillenbrand was hitting .400 near the All Star Break and was the team's only All Star representative, so Robert purchased me a Shea Hillenbrand All Star jersey that still gets me disapproving looks to this day when I wear it on the town.
John Northey - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 08:54 AM EST (#265852) #
So, what would we rank as the worst seasons in Jays history?

Years under consideration...
2004: see above

1995: the year we learned the 2 time WS champs would not get a third title anytime soon

1994: the strike that killed the post-season, sub-500 when it hit after 2 WS titles

1987: that last week...oh that horrible last week...

1981: strike took out 1/3 of the season, Jays were starting to show hope with key parts of future playoff team: Stieb, Whitt, Garcia, Moseby, Iorg, Bell, Martinez, Upshaw, Barfield, Clancy, and kids Griffin, Leal, McLaughlin (actually was a decent closer that year) but somehow had a team OPS+ of 74 - or if you prefer, the team as a whole hit like Adeiny Hechavarria hit this past season in Toronto.

There are other candidates, but those stood out to me. The worst winning percentage was 1979, but it was their 3rd season so no one cared much.
John Northey - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 09:01 AM EST (#265853) #
As a reverse, what would you say is the best ever?
1993: Season ends on Joe Carter's home run
1992: First Canadian WS title ever
1991: First playoff with Alomar/Carter
1989: Big comeback from 12-24 start to reach playoffs
1985: First time in playoffs, beating Yankees at home in final weekend series
1977: Team comes to Toronto

I figure 1991 won't rank high with most, nor would 1989 as both didn't end well. My favourite is 1985 - it was so magical to watch the team reach the playoffs for the first time, seeing Tom Henke arrive mid-season to save the team, seeing the Yanks go down that last Saturday. Yeah, the playoffs didn't go well but the hope and optimism was so high that we felt this team would be back in '86 and beyond. It helps that the team was mainly home grown (Stieb, Key, Moseby, Barfield, Fernandez for example) or guys who felt home grown in Upshaw, Garcia, and Bell who came via rule 5 or trades while not being established ML'ers.

Lets hope for kids today that 2013 will be to them what 1985 was to me. A year of hope, optimism and a team in the playoffs for the first time in a long time.
Matthew E - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 11:41 AM EST (#265856) #
For the worst ones, I'd rank them like this:

5. 2012
4. 1981
3. 2009
2. 1995
1. 2004

There were also some good seasons that ended badly, but that's not quite the same thing; the disastrous last week of 1987 surely doesn't completely erase all the other good things about that year. But if we want to rank the worst endings of good seasons, I suggest:

5. 1989
4. 1991
3. 1990
2. 1985
1. 1987

For best seasons, I'd probably go something like

5. 1989
4. 1991
3. 1985
2. 1993
1. 1992

ayjackson - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:39 PM EST (#265861) #
Welcome back NFH! Now where's Pistol?
MatO - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 12:46 PM EST (#265863) #
I remember that 7-0 2004 opening day loss.  I was stuck in jury duty selection (I was never selected) and got an up close view of how the justice works.  Let'sjust  say it moves as quickly as Bengie Molina running out a grounder.  Luckily there was Good Friday that week so I was only stuck there four days.
Matthew E - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:00 PM EST (#265864) #
Another point about 2004 that was perhaps not gone into thoroughly enough: from late June through early July, the Jays' starting outfield consisted of Reed Johnson (ideally, a backup or platoon guy), Alex Rios (a rookie who would hit one home run all season), and Dave Berg. I'll repeat that in case you missed it: starting left-fielder Dave Berg. This is after Berg played a couple of games as the Jays' first baseman.
Magpie - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:20 PM EST (#265866) #
I have a special fondness for the 1989 team. For a good chunk of that decade, the Jays looked like the most talented team in the divison. But by 1989, that didn't seem true anymore. They opened the season with a starting rotation of Dave Stieb and four - four! - finesse lefties. Tony Fernandez, at age 26, seemed a shadow of what he had been just two years earlier, Moseby and Barfield were breaking down before our eyes (and Barfield was traded away early in the season.) By the end of April, one could be forgiven for wondering if Tom Henke was toast. And the team put themselves into a huge, huge hole to start the season. A 12-24 start is no joke.

But they fought their way back into it, benefitted from being in a comparatively weak AL East, and actually won the damn thing. I think everyone but me expected the A's to blow them away in the playoffs anyway.

I would also single out the 1983 team - the first good team. That was simply a new, and extremely pleasant, fan experience.
Mike Green - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 01:25 PM EST (#265867) #
I concur about the 1983 team.  We often measure our happiness against expectations; in 1983, we were very pleasantly surprised and in 1987, we were very bitterly disappointed (the Jays that year actually had the most talent in major league baseball according to BP but had JM at the helm).  There's another lesson that can be learned from.  Be careful who you hire to manage your club. 
Named For Hank - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 02:42 PM EST (#265869) #
1985 was the first clear memory I have of sports-related disappointment. The crushing, empty knowledge that there was no game tomorrow in which to bounce back. I remember sitting with my dad in his office, watching on our little black and white TV (mom was watching the family TV downstairs).

For the record, my first clear memory of pop culture disappointment was Six Pack starring Kenny Rogers. To an eight year old boy who loved car racing, Kenny Rogers and The Bad News Bears, a movie where race car driver Kenny Rogers turns a ragtag bunch of orphans into his pit crew seemed like a gift from heaven. Spoiler: it wasn't.

By the way, thanks to everybody for the warm re-welcome. I don't know if I'm sticking around or how much I'll contribute, but it seems like too big a season to not be a part of.
acepinball - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 02:48 PM EST (#265870) #
I was 6 years old in for the first World Series win, so I'm a relatively new fan. But after the strike the mid to late 90's were just not the same for me. The first year that really engaged me afterwards was 2005. (Granted, that was also the first full time job I had, where I learned the joys of coming home after work and enjoying a ball game and a beer.)

Right around the time Aaron Hill was called up to play 3rd in Koskie's absence the team started showing signs they were on the upswing. Shortly thereafter came the AJ/BJ/Glaus acquisitions that made the Jays pretenders.

I'd say 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best or worst seasons in history. It'll either be an A or an F.
Magpie - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 03:34 PM EST (#265871) #
Oddly enough, 1987 didn't bother me as much as 1991. The final week was crushing, but the season had been pretty rewarding. It's generally forgotten, but Toronto spent most of 1987 in second or third place. The Brewers jumped out to the early lead and faded, the Yankees led for most of the summer, and the Jays didn't move to the front until September. In the meantime - Dave Stieb was not bouncing back from his lousy 1986, the mysterious decline of Willie Upshaw continued, and Jimy Williams was changing his starting second baseman every three weeks. But they were in the thick of things...

But after the 1991 playoffs... I was disturbed. I wanted Gaston fired (mainly because he wouldn't play Greg Myers instead of Borders against the Twins.)
mathesond - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 04:59 PM EST (#265872) #
1990 wound up being a disappointing season - after trailing the Red Sox most of the season, including being something like 3 1/2 back on Sept 1, the Jays actually managed to take over 1st place, only to cough it up.

Of course, my memory could be faulty - 1990 was the year I moved from Southern Ontario to Nova Scotia
JB21 - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 05:04 PM EST (#265873) #
I don't know if I'm sticking around or how much I'll contribute, but it seems like too big a season to not be a part of.

We'll take all the old fans back + any new ones that want to jump on for the ride. I'd LOVE to see attendance creep up towards 3MM this year. I have no idea if that's a legitimate goal, but the Tigers hit that mark this past year (although their jump was 2.6MM to 3MM, not 2 to 3).
Richard S.S. - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 08:48 PM EST (#265880) #
If A.A. fills all his needs and wants this offseason, 2013 will be great. Even with a repeat of last year for injuries, I think we'll still contend for a playoff berth because this team will be that good. I just don't think it's possible not to have an easy year for injuries this year. That happens, this team won't be beat.

I don't remember the 92 & 93 teams having many injuries.

I vaguely remember the 2004 season. I was working 110+ hours per week from pre-opening day until game 3 of World Series. So anything I learn about the 2004 season is appreciated. Thanks.
Named For Hank - Sunday, November 18 2012 @ 09:56 PM EST (#265886) #
JB, I've been around this whole time, just not writing. As for attending games, I'm in the nation's capital, so it's a bit tough to make it out. I got to four in 2012... a far cry from my 66 in 2003 and 45 in 2004.
Dave Till - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 11:27 AM EST (#265900) #
My favourite Jays team was the 1985 club. They were the first really good Jays team; I think they were better than the 1992 and 1993 teams, but didn't luck out in the random coin toss that is the postseason. (Plus, George Brett was at his best.)

1992 was the best year to be a Jays fan - it was the year they finally won. 1989 was the most suspenseful, but 1985 and 1987 were close. (So many close pennant races in those years.)

it seems like too big a season to not be a part of

I still don't quite believe that it's all real yet, and won't until the trade becomes official. Do we really get to play in the big sandbox now? Do the Jays really have Reyes at the top of the order, a bargain-price Melky Cabrera in left, and two new shiny starting pitchers? Is this all just a dream?

Jevant - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 11:36 AM EST (#265901) #



Named For Hank - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 02:12 PM EST (#265909) #

I can still ban people, right?

John Northey - Monday, November 19 2012 @ 02:51 PM EST (#265911) #
I guess another way to look at the seasons is 'worst hangover' which would be either 1994 (strike, sub-500) or 1986 (Jimy Williams takes over, benches Cecil Fielder for Cliff Johnson, Damaso Garcia burns uniform, Doyle Alexander traded, Dave Stieb falls apart, all after the high of 1985). Those are seasons we all pretty much put into the dustbin of history as soon as they were over and tried not to think about.

1988 could land there too with the whole 'Bell as DH' mess and seeing Jimy Williams look overmatched by his players in every conflict. That was an annoying year as well.
uglyone - Tuesday, November 20 2012 @ 01:04 AM EST (#265932) #
Ah yes, the "kiss my purple ass" fiasco.
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