This is an entirely untested and new hypothesis but maybe the Jays just need Edwin Encarnación in the building to play more like their 2015-2016 selves.
It was a weird feeling that took over last night and judging by the Twitter response, I wasn't the only one who felt it. I completely forgot about the terrible record and the entire roster on the DL. I was transported to a time when this team was fun, lucky and amazing, rather than old, injured and soon to be traded for prospects.
Something Stoeten wrote yesterday made me realize that the underlying reason I have have mourned the departure of Encarnación so deeply is that I was mourning the loss of a certain team and a certain time.
There were fans that felt indifferent to the return of the man who was a Blue Jay from 2009-2016 and who sits third for the most Blue Jays homers all time. We have perhaps been a little spoiled: it's not often that a player can blossom mid-career and truly evolve. It might become even less often now with the youth movement in baseball, where major stars are under 25. We have been spoiled because it's happened twice.
Both Bautista and Encarnación were on middling Jays teams in the post-Halladay Era, but they gave us a show. They gave us something to cheer for. They gave us magic where there wasn't any. I wrote about those teams, the vast majority of the content of this blog was about those teams, so as I’m reflecting on a decade of doing this, I’m feeling especially keen.
They also hit two of the most magnificent and important home runs in team history, memorable and magical enough to be added to a list that includes a come from behind walk off homer to win the World Series.
Of course, magic doesn't last and time marches on.
And I guess I'm a little sad about that.
I have very rarely seen a professional athlete who wears his sadness and his joy so openly on his face. I recognize it might just be what Encarnación's face does and that he doesn't feel anything especially vividly or any more than any other player. But when all I have is the visual to go on (having never actually met the dude), this openly emotional face stands out.
His joy is always the most joyful and his sadness is always the most sad.
Kevin Pillar is a lunatic:
Russell Martin, desperate to fit in with all the cool kids, hits the DL with a strange nerve issue in his glove hand/arm.
There is nothing wrong with Coltrane's observational faculties. He can still appreciate Pillar's lunacy:
I think it's alright to be concerned. Just do it respectfully.