Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Toronto won two of three against Minnesota, including Sunday’s closer, and everything is in its proper place. Even the things that go wrong look from the vantage of right now like something that might be going right.

Mark Blinch/Getty Images

On Sunday, Toronto Blue Jays fans at the Rogers Centre did Josh Donaldson the favour of loudly saluting him every time he came to bat.

In return, Donaldson did them the favour of proving the club was right to let him go. The current Jays roster is no country for old men.

In the old days of not so long ago, the fans would have given the guy a perfunctory greeting his first time up, then set against him once he hit his first homer. If he’d managed to drive the flaccid Minnesota Twins to a sweep, they’d have stoned him in the parking lot.

Story continues below advertisement

But this is the new days. Everything is going right in Toronto. The result is endless magnanimity.

Toronto won two of three against Minnesota, including Sunday’s closer, and everything is in its proper place. Even the things that go wrong look from the vantage of right now like something that might be going right.

Before Sunday’s afternoon delight, Toronto announced that sagging ace Hyun-jin Ryu is going on the 10-day injured list. Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters that Ryu woke up after his last start with a stiff neck.

Totally believable. Maybe Ryu was scrolling his phone in bed and made the mistake of reading his own stat line. That kind of shock could have produced a violent, involuntary spasm.

The stiff neck sounds a lot like the tweaked back and the tight hamstring. It’s one of those unprovable baseball injuries that sometimes require quotation marks – “injuries.”

Over his past two starts, Ryu looked like he was spiking a volleyball off the mound, not throwing a baseball. Maybe he has become coincidentally injured at the precise moment when he could use a mental refresher. Or maybe, after doing this work at the highest level since he was a teenager, Ryu has hit his mileage limit for the year.

A playoff run for the Blue Jays looks almost possible

At the same point a year ago, losing Ryu would have triggered a maudlin panic. Why him? Why us? Why not me, God? Why not kink my neck instead?

Story continues below advertisement

But nowadays it’s all good, man. Lose a Ryu, gain a Berrios. Just like it says in the Old Testament.

It’s not exactly a secret that trade deadline rental Jose Berrios wasn’t completely delighted to be shipped out of Minnesota. After a boffo introduction, he’s been up and down like a penny stock.

Berrios was so uncomfortable with the idea of playing against his former teammates on Sunday that he required a pep talk from his mother.

“She knows I was playing for them, but now I am a Toronto Blue Jay,” Berrios said, playing both ends of the conversation. “‘Just do your work’. I say, ‘Yes, mom.’”

Based on the results, maybe Jose shouldn’t be the only member of the Berrios family the Jays are looking to sign to a long-term deal. Anybody can clap while you work in the batting cage, but nobody motivates like a mother.

Berrios isn’t the straw that stirs the Jays rotational drink. He doesn’t need to be. Robbie Ray and Alek Manoah are the tips of the pitching spear.

Story continues below advertisement

But if the Jays want to start making plans past the next two weeks, Berrios needs to put in a reliable shift every outing. That need is amplified by Ryu’s indeterminate absence.

And because everything that can go right does go right for these Jays, Berrios came through.

Staked to a five-run lead in the first inning, he pitched seven serviceable innings. At points, he even toyed with his former teammates.

After punching out human-strikeout-machine Miguel Sano in the sixth, Berrios gave himself a short round of applause. Because if you can’t cheer for yourself, who can you cheer for?

It didn’t end as auspiciously. The last batter Berrios faced – a sub-Mendoza-Line No. 9 hitter – took him out of the park. That made a game that had seemed comfortable a little tight – 5-3. But that’s how it ended.

As Berrios handed off the ball and walked toward the dugout, the crowd turned the usual round of applause into a standing ovation.

Story continues below advertisement

If the new standard for standing O’s is giving up a home run to a guy who doesn’t hit his bodyweight, Ray should be put on the back of a pickup truck and led up and down Toronto’s Spadina Avenue by a marching band after every start.

It’s a funny thing about the reduced Rogers Centre crowd these days – they love everything. They love Donaldson, who made it pretty clear he’d had enough Toronto, thanks very much, as he left. They love quality starts. They love when the other team scores late and makes the end of the game more interesting.

When Twins centrefielder Byron Buxton made a nice, sprawling catch of a dying liner, the fans didn’t just clap politely. They cheered.

There is a surfeit of good sportsmanship and there is a lack of discernment. Toronto is edging out of the former and into the latter.

I guess that when COVID limits eliminated the cheap seats, they also eliminated all the working-class aggro that made the Rogers Centre one of the nastier places to visit in all of baseball. Toronto has never been this nice, baseball-wise.

But it’s hard to blame people for feeling moony about everything going on in and around this team right now.

Story continues below advertisement

Everything that can go right is. It’s the sustained aggregate quality that stands out, rather than any individual superlatives (the usual way losers measure themselves).

Sure, they have two guys (Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Marcus Semien) who will probably finish second and third in AL MVP voting. But Toronto hasn’t lost a series in nearly a month. That is remarkable.

The Jays head to Tampa on Monday knowing that if they survive a three-game tilt there, their success or failure will likely be decided against the Yankees in Toronto starting two Tuesdays from now.

By that point, Ryu may be on the verge of coming back. Or maybe not. Who knows. For the first time in a long time, it feels like this team doesn’t need to sweat the small stuff. Or the big stuff. The team just needs to keep on riding this wave of good vibes.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies