Looking back on this beautiful, unforgettable, heartbreaking season, and looking forward to what’s next

It’s incredibly difficult to summarize the whirlwind that was last weekend — which is only fitting given the weird, confusing, magnificent rollercoaster ride this Toronto Blue Jays team took us all on.

On one hand, it’s absolutely gut-wrenching and heartbreaking that two inferior teams, the Yankees and Red Sox, will be facing off against each other in the American League Wild Card game tonight and the Blue Jays, with their absurd +183 run differential, came up just shy of making it. On the other hand, it’s incredible that this team managed to make its way into the conversation after trudging through four months of living out of suitcases to start the season.
And then, on a more macro scope, this is a very, very young team that navigated a whole wealth of hurdles to find themselves in the mix during the dying days of the season, and, more than likely, it seems the best days are yet to come. But it’s also difficult to ignore the fact that a lot of things also went right for this team and there’s a very real possibility that next season’s roster isn’t a better version of what it …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays yet again come up short against one of the American League’s best

The Blue Jays have had the most difficult schedule in baseball so far.

They own a 31-29 record through 60 games, which is slightly worse than their 32-28 record was at the end of the COVID-shortened season last year. Given the fact they haven’t seen the league’s worst yet, like Baltimore and Detroit, that’s fairly encouraging.
But, still, at some point, if you want to be one of the best teams in the league, you have to beat the best teams in the league. You can’t just rely on kicking the shit out of the Orioles to compensate for not being able to beat the White Sox, Astros, and Rays.
After dropping two of three to the Astros, the Blue Jays went into Chicago and again lost two of three from the White Sox. It’s been a disappointing stretch against some of the American League’s best after a nice run against the Yankees and Cleveland last week.
Things worth mentioning…

A noticeable theme in the Chicago series was Toronto’s bullpen being ineffective. In the game on Tuesday, Robbie Ray put together an excellent start, allowing just one earned run over six-and-one-third innings while striking …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 4: Another series win over the Yanks!

Boy oh boy, does that feel good!

After a difficult week, which featured back-to-back series losses, an injury-riddled Blue Jays squad hosted the New York Yankees and, yet again, came out with two of three wins.
Gerrit Cole was excellent in the opener, the bats woke up in the second game behind an amazing start from Hyun Jin Ryu, and then Bo Bichette powered the team to a win in the third game on Wednesday afternoon with a walk-off bomb. The Blue Jays are now 6-6 for the season, meanwhile, our pals in New York are in the American League East basement with a 5-7 record.
Time to panic in the Big Apple?!?! We welcomed Neil Keefe, a lifelong, diehard Yankees fan and writer, onto the show to talk about what’s going on with the Bombers right now. He went on a tangent about how frustrating the team has been over the past few years, how they haven’t addressed their pitching issues, and why he’s terrified of the Blue Jays moving forward.
All that plus a preview of this weekend’s series in Kansas City on the post-series episode of Blue Jays Nation Radio!
You can listen …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Legend George Armstrong passes away at 90

For many of us now, the idea of the a Leafs Stanley Cup dynasty is a difficult concept to wrap our heads around, but today we mourn the passing of one of the legends who made that success possible as George Armstrong has passed away at the age of 90.
Armstrong played a 21 season career, and most significantly we captained the Leafs for 13 seasons of it. 13 years where it was common place for Armstrong to receive the Stanley Cup and pass it around amongst his teammates. Thirteen years of captaining the most dominant team Toronto has ever known.
Armstrong was never the most skilled player on his team, and while he was certainly talented, it was his work ethic and willingness to do what was necessary to win that led him to his Hall of Fame career and was the catalyst behind naming him the captain.
Since Armstrong belonged to my father’s Leafs and I never had any first hand experience watching him, I rely on my Dad’s frequent compliment to me following my games. Like Armstrong, I wasn’t the strongest skater, and when I would put in a strong checking effort, and came back to cover my …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

In what has been a difficult year for the world and the Toronto Raptors because of COVID-19, the troubles were exacerbated by racial inequality. It’s a subject that nearly derailed the restart of the NBA season, but the Raptors are an example of how to be in these turbulent times. The Toronto Raptors lost a […]
Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Assessing Kasperi Kapanen’s Value

Kasperi Kapanen can be a difficult player to evaluate – he will dazzle then frustrate, surprise then disappoint, sometimes in the course of a single shift. He’s had strings of games where he looks to be a first line winger, like at the start of the 2018-19 season where he stepped into that role for William Nylander while he negotiated his contract extension. Other times he struggles to showcase the hockey sense and awareness of a true top 6 winger, or disappears from games entirely.
These ups and downs can make it difficult to assess his value to the Leafs, and potentially as a trade piece to free up cap space and fix the hole of the right side of the defense. His name was floating around before the trade deadline (however, the Leafs were not fielding offers per Chris Johnston), and given the Leafs are so tight against the cap, they will likely need to move salary if they play to resign Mikheyev and Dermott. This post will look to summarize Kapanen’s body of work thus far, in effort to illustrate his value to the Leafs roster, or as an outgoing asset.
Is Kapanen at top 6 …

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Author: mackinawstats / The Leafs Nation

Daily Duce: Thinking about free agency, Major League Baseball expansion, and more!

It’s incredibly difficult to talk about baseball right now because, at the end of the day, we don’t know anything.
We know that Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association has a deal in place that covers a handful of key labour-related issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pause such as shortening the draft, giving players an advance on their salaries, and basing service time on last season in the event of a cancelled season, but everything regarding the actual 2020 season is up in the air.
Maybe there’ll be Opening Day games during All-Star Weekend. Maybe there’ll be a wild, quick, 81-game season filled with complete madness. Maybe there’ll be a big, expanded post-season that features 12 or even 16 teams. Maybe there’ll be a World Series played in a neutral location on Christmas. Maybe games will be played on the moon. Maybe there won’t be a season at all. Who knows! We’re venturing into the unknown.
Anyways, let’s try to figure out how the fallout from all of this affects the Blue Jays in the wide array of possible scenarios we could be …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Is something brewing with Marcus Stroman?

Marcus Stroman had a difficult start for the Blue Jays today, going just four innings while scattering three runs on three hits and four walks. None of the runs were earned as the Jays’ defence behind Stroman let him down, but something seemed off about the usually-energetic starter.

Look, I usually don’t dive into these completely random rumours, but the timing here seems really odd. Stroman, who’s usually bouncing around the mound with a bunch of energy, was strangely quiet and solemn out there today. Maybe he’s sick or had something else going on (Hazel Mae reported on the broadcast that he was just feeling off) or maybe there’s something bigger brewing that he knows about.

I have a source the Padres are trading for Stroman. Deal not official yet.
— eric (@zayewop) April 14, 2019

Again, let’s take this with a massive grain of salt given it’s just some random 500-follower account on Twitter. Like I said, though, something seemed really off today, so I guess it’s something worth thinking about.
Stroman trade rumours have been going on for months now. There was a lot of talk about the Jays listening to trade offers in …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation