You wouldn't be blamed if you thought the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays season was a tragedy, In first place from May 21 to July 5, the Blue Jays in August were a disaster. I saw one of the few August wins live in person in Milwaukee.
The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays finished 83-79, 13 games behind Baltimore and 1 game behind the New York Yankees. The team came into the final day tied for 2nd place. The team wasn't eliminated from postseason contention until the final week.
The Blue Jays finished 11 games above .500 at home (46-35) but 7 games below .500 on the road, finishing at 37-44.
The Blue Jays hadn't finished above .500 since 2010 with a 85-77 record. The team finished at .500 in 2011 and below .500 in the last 2 seasons.
You have to go back to 2007 to find the last time the Blue Jays finished 3rd — the last 2nd place finish was in 2006.
The fans were optimistic about the Blue Jays chances; the team finished with an attendance of 2,375,525, including 45,901 in the season finale. The attendance was down from last season of 2,536,562. This was the 3rd straight season Toronto has drawn more than 2 million.
Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion ended up in a tough battle over which slugger would lead the team in home runs. Bautista took the battle 35-34.
Bautista took the RBI crown with 103 RBI vs. 98 for Encarnacion. Then again, Encarnacion was out for a considerable period of time, right around the time the team started its second-half collapse.
Adam Lind led the team in hitting with a .321 average, though in limited playing time due to injuries. Melky Cabrera, a free agent at the end of the season, hit .301 before being forced to end his season.
R.A. Dickey led Toronto with 14 wins. Mark Buehrle finished with 13 wins. Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, and Drew Hutchison all had 11 wins.
Casey Janssen, also a pending free agent, finished with 25 saves in 30 chances.
About this time last year, Toronto had the 3rd-longest streak without a playoff appearance. The Blue Jays last postseason game was Game 6 of the 1993 World Series.
Pittsburgh's streak stretched back to 1992, but the Pirates made the playoffs last year and now this year.
The Kansas City Royals streak dating back to 1985 seemed safe. However, the Royals are going to the playoffs as one of the wild card teams.
So now Toronto has the longest postseason drought in the MLB … and the longest Stanley Cup winless streak.
If you thought Justin Morneau had already won a batting title, you aren't alone.
Morneau won his first batting title in 2014, hitting .319 in his first season with the Colorado Rockies. Morneau is the 3rd Canadian and the 2nd in the modern era to win a batting title.
Larry Walker won 3 batting titles, all of them with Colorado, and Tip O'Neill won back-to-back titles in 1887 and 1888. O'Neill hit .435 in 1887 and also won the Triple Crown. He is the only eligible player to win the Triple Crown and not be in the Hall of Fame.
One player who surely would have contended for the NL batting title except for injuries was Joey Votto. The Cincinnati Reds first baseman only played 62 games and hit an anemic .255.
In seasons with 100 or more games, Votto has hit over. 300 in all but one season (his first full season in 2008). He has hit over .319 in 3 major league seasons.
Morneau recovered from a significant concussion stemming from 2010. It would be nice to see Morneau and Votto completely healthy in 2015 and competing against each other for the NL batting title.
The current Washington Nationals — the former Montréal Expos — have clinched home-field advantage for the entire postseason. That news will excite some fans, depress some fans, and the rest of us don't connect the two franchises anymore.
Along those same lines, Jordan Zimmerman threw the first Washington Nationals no-hitter Sunday against the Miami Marlins. Dennis Martinez threw the Montréal Expos last no-hitter, a perfect game on July 28, 1991 at Dodger Stadium.
The Montréal Expos have 4 no-hitters in their history. Charlie Lea threw a no-hitter on May 10, 1981 against San Francisco at Olympic Stadium. Bill Stoneman has the other 2 no-hitters: in the 9th Montréal Expos game ever on April 17, 1969 in Philadelphia and on October 2, 1972 at Jarry Park against the New York Mets.
Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler signed new 5-year deals to continue to broadcast Toronto Blue Jays baseball on Rogers Sportsnet.
Martinez has done play-by-play for the Jays since coming back in 2010. He served as a colour commentator from 1987-1999 before becoming the team's manager.
Tabler has been a colour commentator for the Jays since 2001 working for both TSN and Rogers Sportsnet.