During the 2014 season, the Toronto Blue Jays called zero pressers. Six months is a long time to go without having anything worth telling people.
On Friday, 15 minutes after the closing of the non-waiver trade deadline, they held their fourth in 96 hours.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos was introduced thusly: "Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us for our daily press conference."
There was more good news – the low-cost addition of a power arm in the bullpen (Seattle's Mark Lowe) and some athletic depth in the outfield (Philadelphia's Ben Revere).
Arguably, no team in baseball has done more to bolster its roster for a playoff run.
So much has happened so quickly that manager John Gibbons wasn't even sure Revere had been secured. He hadn't checked his e-mail for a few minutes.
The micro perspective on this week is that the Blue Jays have become a much better team.
The more important development is that they've altered the delicate, defeatist balance of Toronto's sports ecosystem.
What the Jays have done is a challenge to the established order of Loserdom.
How did that happen? And why now?
A week ago, the Blue Jays looked like a good, if unlucky, major-league club.
Based on their Pythagorean formula – a Bill James creation used to determine how many games a team "should" have won, based on runs scored versus runs allowed – they were the best team in the American League. Unfortunately, "real life" isn't a button on a calculator.
Ten years ago, they chance it with the guys they have. Make no additions; spend no more money. This team has "plausible deniability" written all over it.
Instead, they did what no Jays team has bothered to do in 20 years – they behaved as though winning is a necessity rather than a nice idea.
Though he was the one taking the Great Leap Forward, Anthopoulos was left explaining all the timid steps backward of the past.
"We're trying to win each year. We haven't gotten there. We've had some good seasons," Anthopoulos said. "I can't speak to the perception. If this week changes that perception across the industry, great. That wasn't the intent."
Well, okay, but sure it was.
Anthopoulos also said he wasn't sure how fans were reacting to the Troy Tulowitzki and David Price trades or what his direct competitors had done on Friday. That's a lot of porky pies for one sit-down. The keyboards of Toronto sports writers should come with a symbol that means "arched eyebrow." We'd spend most of our working days whack-a-moling that thing to smithereens.
For too long, that's been an acceptable line of reasoning from Toronto sports executives: "Hey, it's not like we aren't trying."
People just sit back and nod, all reasonable. Nobody seems to notice that it makes no sense.
An example – a pipe bursts in your basement. The plumber shows up. An hour later, water has started to crest the furniture in your living room. The plumber puts a reassuring hand on your shoulder and says, "I'm trying to win each repair call. We haven't gotten there." And then he leaves for the off-season.
Granted, you can't win every year. Everybody works very hard trying. But in this city, sports success is neither a stick nor a carrot. You can't incentivize or de-incentivize something that doesn't matter to ownership.
Instead of competing for your entertainment dollars, the Jays, Maple Leafs and Raptors have spent years in a comfortable détente. Everybody would like to win, if that could magically happen by wishing it so. But they don't have to win. There is no business pressure to do so. That's what happens when the same people own all the teams.
Fans are going to spend their disposable incomes watching one of Loser A, B or C. As long as no one tall-poppies the other two, everyone is safe.
Instead, there is an unspoken pressure to go slowly, to take no risks. Try to keep the team just good enough to explain to fans.
Since sports tend to reward sustained risk-takers (as well as to punish them), it isn't hard to predict how this turns out. A permanent .500 flat line.
Like most insidious behaviours, this isn't a penthouse cabal. No one talks about it. No one enforces it. Everyone simply understands it and adapts themselves accordingly.
So what just happened? Clearly, someone or several someones at the top of Rogers Communication Inc. have opted out of the shared monopoly. You can see why they'd be tempted to try it.
After publicly admitting they're giving up on the next several years in order to perform a deep and sustained dive, the Leafs are exceedingly vulnerable at the top of the marketing food chain.
A few months ago, the Raptors looked on the verge of taking over. Then they lay down and died in the playoffs. They may have pooched their moment.
And then, a little disturbingly, Toronto FC looks on the cusp of becoming an operating sports entity (eight years after it started playing).
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke has several mantras he loves to repeat in slightly varying forms. One of them is that the first team to win in this city will own it for years to come.
Rogers has three men on the MLSE board of directors. Maybe they've been listening.
Of course, Rogers owns roughly a third of the Leafs and Raptors. But they have to share those teams with BCE, whom they hate with a deep and abiding bitterness.
Isn't allowing the Jays to put a foot on the throat of their co-owned competitors economic self-flagellation? Maybe. But vindictiveness is generally a more powerful motivator than greed.
What the Jays have done is reset the bar. From now on, success means actual success. Not winning draft day or all-star voting or the executive hiring derby. The new benchmark is the old benchmark – winning playoff games.
If that's the case, this was more than a good week for baseball. It was the beginning of the end of Toronto's long conspiracy of sports mediocrity.