TORONTO (Sep. 30) — Appropriately enough, the Toronto Blue Jays chose to avoid sneaking in through the back–door of the American League East. The highest–scoring team in Major League Baseball laid some whup–ass on the Baltimore Orioles in a 15–2 rout at Camden Yards earlier today and won its first division title since 1993 in symbolic fashion. Now, the baseball world is left to wonder if a team with a staggering 42–14 record since July 29 can be neutralized in a five–game or seven–game playoff round.
We’ll begin to find out one week from tomorrow night — Oct. 8 — when the American League Division Series opens at Rogers Centre with the Blue Jays more–than–likely hosting the winner of the A.L. Wild Card Game two nights earlier. Barring a miracle, the New York Yankees will be at home for that encounter against either the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros or Minnesota Twins. Imagine the environment at the Dome if it’s the Blue Jays and Yankees clashing in the playoffs for the first time.
Television, as usual, played an integral role in the Blue Jays celebration. Game 1 of a make–up doubleheader (Tuesday night’s scheduled match at Camden Yards was rained out) began just after 4:05 p.m. EDT and ended just before 7:30. By the time LaTroy Hawkins struck out Orioles third–baseman Ryan Flaherty on a foul–tip, Sportsnet likely had a considerable viewing audience. Broadcasters Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler — understandably ebullient as the Blue Jays crafted their huge lead — did well during the immediate post–game celebration by clamming up and allowing the TV pictures to tell the story.
If you missed the clinching game — or wish to re–live some of the late–telecast moments — here are several images courtesy of the Rogers–Blue Jays TV partnership:
THERE WERE BIG SMILES IN THE DUGOUT FROM MARK BUEHRLE (LEFT) AND EDWIN ENCARNACION…
R.A. DICKEY MADE GIBBY LAUGH.
THE MANAGER SMILED AS THE G.M. ACCEPTED ACCOLADES IN THE SEATS.
THE FINAL OUT BROUGHT LEAPS OF JOY…
ALEX ANTHOPOULOS AND GIBBONS SHARED A MOMENT BEFORE GIBBY HAD HIS T.V. MOMENT.
DOUBLE–A APPLAUDED BLUE JAYS FANS AT CAMDEN YARDS WHILE BEING INTERVIEWED ON THE FIELD BY SPORTSNET BASEBALL REPORTER BARRY DAVIS.