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Toronto Blue Jays
Title track: 52
Fan relations: 102
Stadium experience: 117
Bang for the buck: 75
Change from last year: -18
If there's any team that wishes we'd done our Ultimate Standings voting two weeks later than we did, it's the Blue Jays. When we closed our voting, the Jays were a respectable .500. Two and a half months later, with David Price and Troy Tulowitzki on the roster, they've finished the season 20 games above it and on top of the AL East. Well, we can't redo the voting, so let's reflect on the Blue Jays' life before winning.
This certainly has been a fun season for Blue Jays fans, at least in relation to the past several, oh, decades. But it hadn't started by July, so there wasn't yet positive movement in the Ultimate Standings. Don't blame them for being reluctant: Anyone remember reliever Duane Ward? His ninth-inning pitch in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series was the franchise's last postseason throw. That's a long time! Now, since July, these Blue Jays have proved they just might be championship-caliber -- and certainly should kick Duane Ward off the record books -- and that's got fans excited, meaning that Toronto's title track -- at 52, its highest ranking this year -- should just keep climbing. Generally likable, professional players such as must-Twitter- follow Jose Bautista stand out on the field, and few can complain about the team's commitment to winning at the trade deadline. Things are looking up way up north.
Of course, postseason games are always amazing -- it's just that Rogers Centre isn't exactly the ideal setting for them. Hopefully they'll at least get to keep the roof open this postseason, but even so, it's hardly an unforgettable experience -- more like one of the worst (117th in our rankings). Want atmosphere? Sorry, it's quiet in there (like pin-drop quiet), but at least one can see the game through a hotel room window. Are you an outdoors person? Too bad -- there's no lovely green grass to enjoy, just some crazy new artificial turf that creates unnatural bounces and features little rubber pellets everywhere. They pop up when pop-ups drop, when outfielders slide ... whenever. That's not baseball.
A year ago the Blue Jays ranked No. 81. Now they're down to 99th, no doubt in response to their disappointing 2014, when so much more was expected of this team. Now category ranks like players (94, down 20 places) and coaching (112, down 25 places) no doubt will jump next year after this dream season. But fans likely won't be completely convinced until the franchise wins consistently and plays deep into October. Bottom line for the Blue Jays: If you want to win in the Ultimate Standings, winning on the field helps. Just ask the Cubs (up 40 spots this year) and Royals (up 56).