When the mighty have fallen


Pity poor Alex Anthopolous.

The 32-year-old rookie general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays has his work cut out for him this season. Not only must he tackle the seemingly impossible task of regenerating fan interest in the flagging franchise, but, as pointed out by Richard Griffin in Today’s Toronto Star, he must also be the face of the franchise in the absence of another viable candidate.
Griffin says the story has been the same for about a decade now; the Jays, with little to sell their fans in the off-season, have tried selling everybody from former manager Buck Martinez to Paul Beeston — the president from the team’s glory days — as the team’s “face.”
None has helped get the turnstiles whirring and cash registers ca-chinging the way they did in the salad days of the 80s and early 90s.
Griffin says Anthopolous is selling hope this season.
True, I suppose. But what else does he have to market? This team has “100 Losses” written all over it. It might have the worst starting pitching in the American League, with no ace, no veterans and little to differentiate their opening day starter, Shaun Marcum — who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury — from whoever might hold the #5 slot on any given week.
The team is also woefully lacking on the infield corners, where Lyle Overbay has been a huge disappointment for years now and Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t exactly overwhelm with the bat or glove.
Throw in a defensively woeful outfield on the corners, and you have a team with some serious shortcomings.
So, hope is all there can be this season for Blue Jays fans. Hope for the future.
The same story has been repackaged several times in the 17 years since this franchise was a winner.
It’s going to be a long season for the Blue Jays and their boy wonder GM. The question is, what is in place right now that suggests this mediocrity will end after the 2010 season?
Hope isn’t a tangible asset and selling it in a market where the fans tuned out a long time ago is a tall order indeed.


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