Well, the Jays dream of 2016 has died. (And not only that, it was killed by a team in baseball with a name so racist actual broadcasters whose job it is to say team names won’t say this team name.) But look: we can be sad, we can wallow and we can cry in front of the television, or we can raise a glass to this nonsensical season and bank on the fact that next year, we’ve got this.
Which I know is hard to say when odds are we won’t see Jose Bautista in Jays’ blue, and it’s yet to be confirmed whether Edwin Encarnacion’s free agency will bring him back to Toronto. But that is also how baseball works. It is heartbreaking and hard and great, and while players become like our family, we have to remember that two and three years ago, Josh Donaldson wasn’t on the team, and neither was Tulo, or Estrada, or Kevin Pillar. Teams evolve and lineups adapt, and so will we.
And that said, it isn’t over-over: maybe Bautista comes back. Maybe Edwin runs into the open arms of Toronto in the off-season. (Especially since we already know John Gibbons will return.) Or maybe we also recognize that this year and last year were very special and they were a gift, and we can’t repeat them no matter how hard we try, and goodbyes are shitty and it’s okay to be sad. (Because if you didn’t shed tears yesterday, I don’t actually want to know you.) Baseball is beautiful and holy shit, so is our team.
So thank you, Jays, for another season that made us proud to love you. Thank you Jose for being the face of the franchise, and to Edwin for making parrots a very cool thing to bring to a stadium. Easily the most heartbreaking end of 2016 is that 2017 isn’t a sure thing; that unlike last year, we could at least bank on seeing certain family members again who would absolutely be there to take the World Series after it slipped away. And now we don’t know what 2017 will look like. We don’t know who will be on our side to make the third time a charm. We don’t know what the dynamic will be, or if it will be as magical, or, or, or.
But regardless, we will do what Blue Jays fans — and the Blue Jays themselves — do best. We will adapt. And while 2016 didn’t end the way we wanted it to, it was still a hell of a run. I’m a ride-or-die Jays fan for a reason. And odds are, if you’re also currently dealing with the empty sadness that goes along with losing a season-ending game, so are you.