As of February 21st, 2013, the Toronto Blue Jays are Las Vegas' favourites to win the World Series, with 7/1 odds. Las Vegas gambling odds don't reflect the talent of the team itself, of course, but rather their talent as perceived by gamblers: whichever team people are most likely to bet on becomes the team with the most favourable World Series odds (our very own Gerse explained this quite well in a comment on Tom's post yesterday). What does that mean for the Blue Jays? It means that for the first time in (arguably) twenty years, there are legitimate expectations from the baseball world for a playoff performance. As a Blue Jays fan, I find this both exciting and terrifying.
Last week, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections were released, with the Blue Jays coming in at 4th in the AL East with 85 wins. While I do think the Blue Jays will have a more successful season than that (I have a hard time seeing how the Red Sox could finish with 86 wins, or how the Yankees could win the division without a catcher), my goal here is not to argue with PECOTA but instead to look at how we as a fanbase reacted to this projection. In most years, 85 wins would be accepted as a very good season, but you wouldn't know that if you were reading comments from fans on twitter last week. In a normal 85 win season, we would talk about how the Blue Jays would have made the playoffs if they were in the AL Central, and how unfair the divisions are. "But, hey," we'd say. "At least we have a good farm system!"
Something tells me that's not how the fanbase will react if the Blue Jays get 85 wins this season.
Blue Jays: Let's talk about Expectations
Bluebird Banter | Feb 21