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Vernon Wells

Building a Better Ball Team

The Rogers Centre hosts the Blue Jays' home opener on April 12.

And so it begins. After a promising start turned dramatically sour last year, the Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2010 Major League Baseball season with the lowered expectations of a team in the first tentative stages of a long-term rebuilding process.

Some recent history: Since their wistfully remembered early-‘90s World Series championships, this city’s boys of summer have been unable to return to the playoffs. Despite a few modestly successful regular-season campaigns, the Jays have played a consistent second (or third, or fourth) fiddle to powerful division rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, as well as the once-lowly Tampa Bay Rays. A stellar 27–14 start to the 2009 campaign proved to be a false fount of confidence—the team was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play, and ultimately finished with a losing 75–87 record. Underperforming stars Alex Rios and B.J. Ryan were summarily released, much-maligned General Manager J.P. Ricciardi was given his walking papers, and in December, ace pitcher Roy Halladay was unsurprisingly traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.

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