TORONTO – Former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lloyd Moseby used to leave games as a fan after the second inning. Not anymore, thanks to the Blue Jays’ can’t-miss lineup.
Now Moseby can’t even leave his seat.
“You can’t leave,” Moseby said Friday. “I’m going to get some popcorn, I can’t leave because Tulo’s up and then aw, damn, Donaldson’s up. I can’t even get no damn ice cream.”
With Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson at the top of the best lineup in baseball and David Price in the rotation, the Blue Jays have reeled off 11 straight victories and won 14 of 15 games dating to July 29.
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Thirty years after the franchise’s first American League East Division title, these Blue Jays are reminding Moseby and 1985 teammates George Bell and Jesse Barfield of that group. Those three will be honoured with a shared bobblehead on “Turn Back the Dial” day Sunday.
The buzz in the city is even bigger than it was in 1985, Bell figures, because Toronto has grown so much in the past decades.
“People are very happy about the team,” Bell said. “Those trades they make, I think those were key trades they make. You see so far the change in the ballclub and the way the players are now. They look unbeatable.”
Since the Blue Jays acquired Price, Tulowitzki, relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe and outfielder Ben Revere ahead of the trade deadline, there have been sellouts aplenty – including this entire series against the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays expect many more to come.
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“The first night that I came there was 39,000 fans and I’ve got chills all over, hearing fans yelling and screaming any time everything happens in the field,” said Bell, who was the AL MVP in 1987. “Hopefully from now on, this year and for the rest of the years to come (for) the organization, hopefully we’ll be another World Series team.”
The Blue Jays haven’t been a playoff team, nevermind a World Series team, since 1993. The 22-year drought since those back-to-back titles is the longest in baseball.
Moseby sees the 2015 group as one that can end it because, as he pointed out, “Who do you pitch to?” After Tulowitzki and Donaldson, the Blue Jays can roll out sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
“These guys, it’s speechless, really,” Moseby said. “I came to the game in April and May and I’m coming to the game now. It’s a totally different team.”
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Manager John Gibbons knows it’s a much better team than a few weeks ago before the trades. But the clubhouse hasn’t suffered from all the changes.
That’s what makes Barfield believe these Blue Jays can make a run, plus the perspective of knowing they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“They have talent, but during that last stretch everybody’s going to be clawing and scratching, and they know it’s not over yet,” Barfield said. “They know what’s in front of them. It’s going to be a very exciting race and it’s going to be an interesting race. Hopefully they’ll come out ahead.”
Moseby in particular praised MVP candidate Josh Donaldson and made sure to point out that he’s not a “fluke” or a “fly-by-night guy.” He thinks Donaldson and the Blue Jays deserve the success they’re enjoying.
“I am so happy for these guys,” Moseby said. “This is their time to shine, and I hope it happens this year.”
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