Volume 93, Issue 10

Wednesday, September 15, 1999


Men start season with a bang

Making a run for the border

Soccer women split in season opener

Rugby women conquor Quebec

Jays' winning formula

Jays' winning formula

Somewhere in Toronto, someone pulls out a gun, shoots it into the sky and out falls a Blue Jay.

That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's September and after a promising season the Toronto Blue Jays are quickly crashing and burning. Alright, I'll be fair, the Jays still have time to catch up but doing so from five or six games back is impossible. So what happened?

Let's start with pitcher David Wells. Did anyone really believe Wells could come close to replacing Roger Clemens? Sure Clemens' pitching statistics are similar to Wells but the presence of the Rocket alone would have had a huge impact on the Jays. The Jays are quickly falling and you have to wonder why.

Recall for a moment, last year when the Jays seemed to have blown the season, only to go on an amazing winning streak and somehow become contenders for the wild card. It happened just last September. But don't expect the same turn around now because the situation is completely opposite.

There are reasons for the downfall of the Jays and many possible solutions which can help them reach the World Series once more. The Jays pitching has become sporadic, the offense has begun to fold and the Jays are losing when they should be winning. When you're in a playoff race, you have to win when it counts. It's what defines a champion. Losing to teams like the Detroit Tigers will not win any pennants.

The Jays are in a similar position now as they were in the early 90's. Back then, they were contenders who either finished second, or lost to the Oakland Athletics in the playoffs. It was always Oakland who beat them in the post season, except for the Minnesota Twins in 1991. To solve this problem the Jays traded away first baseman Fred McGriff and short stop Tony Fernandez to the San Diego Padres for centre-fielder Devon White, outfielder Joe Carter and second baseman Roberto Alomar. Then came the victory years.

So what should the Jays do now? The last thing they should do is trade Tony Fernandez. Let the guy retire in Toronto. Joe Carter is retired and Alomar is probably still an idiot. So for those die-hard Toronto fans hoping to relive the past – sorry it just is not going to happen.

The first thing the Jays should be doing is trying to keep outfielder Shawn Green and first baseman Carlos Delgado. Those guys are the backbone of the team. Next, the Jays have to improve their pitching. David Wells is many things, but one thing he is not is a number one pitcher. Pat Hentgen still has the potential to be a great pitcher for the Jays, if he ever decides to stop playing hurt and heal his arm.

Although pitchers like Joey Hamilton and Chris Carpenter are improving, one new pitcher could be the difference between falling apart in September and making it to the fall classic.

The fact of the matter is simple – unless coach Jim Fergossi can somehow pull off a miracle, or at least convince ownership to pay off the opposing teams, the Jays' goose is cooked. Right now as the race comes to an end the Jays should be doing what every team should do at this time of year – figure out what went wrong.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999