The Blue Jays are AL East Champs

Blue Jays AL East Champs: For the first time since 1993 when they won it all, the Blue Jays are AL East champs. Here's a closer look at their special season and what life was like in '93. AP Photo by Patrick Semansky/Getty Images
Blue Jays AL East Champs: For the first time since 1993 when they won it all, the Blue Jays are AL East champs. Here’s a closer look at their special season and what life was like in ’93.
AP Photo by Patrick Semansky/Getty Images

It took the Blue Jays 22 years to once again become AL East champs. For the first time since ’93 when I was a junior in high school watching Joe Carter take Mitch Williams deep for a Game 6 walk off that sent Toronto to a second consecutive World Title, the Blue Jays are the best team in the AL East.

They did it by doing what they do best. Destroying the Orioles 15-2 to spray the champagne in the road locker room at Camden Yards. The Jays scored in five of nine innings slugging three home runs. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista each hit two-run shots and Justin Smoak also went deep. All nine Jays starters each had a hit. Eight drove in runs. AL MVP front runner Josh Donaldson went 2-for-4 with his major league best 123rd RBI. He’s hit 41 dingers which puts him one up on Bautista. Encarnacion has 37 giving Toronto three sluggers with over 35 with 100-plus knocked in. A scary thought for the opposition this postseason.

Marcus Stroman won again improving to 4-0 by working eight strong allowing one earned on a Steve Pearce solo shot. Stroman fanned eight. He should slot in behind ace David Price for the Jays playoff rotation. Figure R.A. Dickey to be third leaving manager John Gibbons to choose between Marco Estrada and Mark Buehrle. Considerig that Estrada has pitched better, he might be the choice despite Buehrle’s experience.

The Jays improved to 92-65 with the win. Even though they dropped the second game of a double header, it didn’t matter. They rallied back from a .500 team that once trailed the first place Yankees by seven games. Once they added Troy Tulowitzki and Price, everything fell into place for Toronto. For two months, they have dominated and now could be the favorite to come out of the AL with the Royals losing Greg Holland for the year. He’ll also likely miss next season due to Tommy John surgery.

The Blue Jays with a powerful lineup that also features Russell Martin and speedster Ben Revere now have the pitching to go with the hitting. Price has been lethal since joining them going 9-1 in 11 starts with a 2.30 earned run average along with a dominant 87 K’s in 74 and a third innings. He is front and center for the AL Cy Young with Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. The difference between them is minimal with Keuchel having one more win (19) while Price has a lower ERA by a measly 0.02 (2.45).

Rookie Antonio Osuna has become a reliable closer saving 20 games. If there is a potential weak spot, the bullpen isn’t lock down with vet LaTroy Hawkins and youngster Aaron Sanchez plus lefty Brett Cecil setting up. If the Jays aren’t able to outslug teams in October when the games are usually closer, the pen could come into play.

Either way, a tip of the cap to the Jays for finally giving Canada something else to cheer about aside from hockey. Ironically, the last time Canada had a Stanley Cup champion was also ’93 when the Canadiens won it all behind an all world goalie by the name of Patrick Roy. If the Jays win it all, does that bode well for the Cup returning to Canada?

The last time the Blue Jays won, Bill Clinton was in his first term as President. MTV actually was still en vogue with actual music videos and Yo! MTV Raps and Rock The Vote with Clinton going on MTV as part of his ’92 campaign to defeat George Bush. MTV still had cool veejays like Adam Curry, Daisy Fuentes and Idalis along with lifer Kurt Loder. Cindy Crawford was at her peak in House of Style. Life was good.

Yeah. It was a different era. There was no social media. No Facebook or Twitter. No TMZ to destroy celebrities and athletes. No steroid scandals. And the only internet was dial up. Prodigy was my first service before AOL. Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo dominated. Guns N’ Roses still was intact. 2Pac and Biggie were alive. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg teamed up for The Chronic with gangsta rap taking over.


Published by

Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.

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