Gabe Gross

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Posted by kaori 04/02/2009 @ 22:07

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Play by play - USA Today
Substitution: Andrew Bailey starts the inning for the A's. Out: Pinch-Hitter Gabe Gross struck out looking. None on with one out and BJ Upton due up. Single: BJ Upton singled to left. Runner on first with one out and Carl Crawford due up....
Cleveland 11, Tampa Bay 7 - USA Today
None on with one out and Gabe Gross due up. Out: Gabe Gross grounded out to first. None on with two outs and Ben Zobrist due up. Out: Ben Zobrist grounded out to first to end the inning. Out: Matt LaPorta struck out swinging....
A's Work OT to end skid; Holliday's HR stings Rays - Athletics Nation
But Wuertz worked his way out of it by striking out Iwamura and getting Gabe Kapler to line out to center. Andrew Bailey relieved Wuertz in the eighth and found himself in immediate trouble. After striking out Gabe Gross, he allowed back-to-back...
Gabe Gross Welcomes Daughter Allie Lee - Celebrity Baby Blog
It'sa girl for Tampa Bay Ray Gabe Gross and wife Kelly! The 29-year-old outfielder welcomed daughter Allie Lee Gross at 11:39 am on Sunday, May 3. Baby girl weighed in at 7 lbs., 5 oz., according to Tampa Bay Online. In announcing Kelly's pregnancy in...
Play by play - USA Today
Runner on first with one out and Gabe Kapler due up. Substitution: Gabe Gross is pinch-hitting for Gabe Kapler. Out: Pinch-Hitter Gabe Gross flied out to center. Runner on first with two outs and Dioner Navarro due up. Stolen-base: Jason Bartlett stole...
Tampa Bay Rays failing early sniff test -
The rightfield platoon of Gabe Gross and Gabe Kapler is not working as well as last season's platoon with Eric Hinske and Gross. "You can be concerned if you choose to, but I believe our best baseball is ahead of us. I believe we're going to get better...
Maddon wants Kaz to keep head clear - Tampa Tribune
He entered the game in the ninth inning after Gabe Gross pinch-hit for Michel Hernandez. "He looks like he's from some scene in a horror flick," Maddon said about Navarro. "I mean, he's got the possessed eyes." Navarro lifted his sunglasses to reveal...
Jones powers Orioles over Rays 7-5 - ABC Action News
Willy Aybar and Gabe Gross both showed power with 10 and 13 homers respectively. Zobrist is the only role player that has improved his production from last season. Zobrist is hitting .269 with 5 homers in 25 games. Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett,...
Fleet-footed Rays make quiet bats pay -
Carl Pavano turned in an effective, it not lengthy, outing, but a double steal by Gabe Gross and Akinori Iwamura in the fifth inning put the Rays in position to score the runs that made the difference in this ballgame. "The double steal killed me,"...
I Used to be Smarter Than the Manager -
The next hitter was scheduled to be Dioner Navarro, but manager Joe Maddon had lefthanded hitters Carlos Pena and Gabe Gross sitting on the bench. Now, I have no problem pinch-hitting for Navarro in that situation. I don't have the stats in front of me...

Gabe Gross

Gabriel Jordan "Gabe" Gross (born October 21, 1979, in Baltimore, Maryland) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. He bats left-handed and throws right-handed.

His father, Lee Gross, was center for the Auburn Tigers and in the NFL. His brother, Bo Gross, played football for Texas Christian University.

Gross played football and baseball at Northview High School in Dothan, AL. Formerly a starting quarterback for the Auburn football team, Gross was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round (15th overall) of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft. Promoted from Triple-A Syracuse on August 7, 2004, he saw limited duty against left-handed pitching.

Gross has excellent power, and, though he is a big man, possesses good speed. In September 2004, he belted his first major league home run off the Oakland A's Justin Duchscherer. His outfield range is very good, and he has a strong arm. In 38 games, he collected 73 putouts with five assists and one double play in 78 total chances, for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

On December 7, 2005, Gross was traded by the Blue Jays to the Milwaukee Brewers, along with pitchers Dave Bush and Zach Jackson, in exchange for first baseman Lyle Overbay and pitching prospect Ty Taubenheim.

Gross made his debut with the Brewers on April 4, 2006, and hit a pinch-hit home run to give the Brewers a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

At the beginning of the 2006 season with the Brewers, he obtained the nickname "the Southern Gentleman" for his politeness and well-mannered attitude both on and off the field.

The plan was to have him share time with Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Gabe Kapler in center field in 2008 while Mike Cameron served his 25 game suspension. With a focus on defense, Yost indicated in March that Gwynn and Kapler might have a leg up on Gross.

Gross was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays on April 22, 2008, for pitching prospect Josh Butler.

Gross finished the 2008 season batting .242, with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs.

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2008 Tampa Bay Rays season

The Rays and Red Sox brawl at Fenway Park, 2008.

The Tampa Bay Rays' 2008 season, the 11th season in franchise history, marked the change of the team's name from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", as revealed on November 8, 2007. The change in name also came with a change in logo and uniforms, with new team colors of Columbia blue, Navy blue and gold. The new logo, colors and name were leaked on September 20, 2007, and were confirmed officially on November 8, 2007, when an official announcement was made in downtown St. Petersburg.

This was the third season with Joe Maddon managing the club. The club had built upon the improvements made in 2007, and had secured the franchise's first winning record, playoff berth, and American League pennant.

The Rays played another series at Champion Stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in 2008, making it the second year that a series had been moved to the Greater Orlando area. The April 22-24 series against the Toronto Blue Jays was selected for the move. Neither the MLB — nor the Blue Jays, who were 10-17 at Tropicana Field over the previous three seasons — resisted the idea. The series move was successfully voted on by the City of St. Petersburg, who holds the lease to Tropicana Field, on January 24, 2008. This was similar to the 2007 series against the Texas Rangers, in which the Rays also won all three games.

The Rays, with their off-season acquisitions and continued prospect development, fostered high hopes both within the organization and from analysts that the team would perform well during the 2008 season. Their performance on the field during spring training justified those hopes. On March 23, they won their team-record 15th spring training game, and finished with a record of 18-8 with two ties and two cancellations due to rain, along with having the highest winning percentage of all teams in spring training.

There were lingering questions, however. Ace pitcher Scott Kazmir had been dogged with arm soreness all spring, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21. He was expected to be ready in early May. Ben Zobrist, who had been groomed for a super-utility role, suffered a broken thumb during the second week of spring training. Rocco Baldelli, after missing most of the 2007 season with a hamstring injury, was sidelined indefinitely due to chronic fatigue believed to be caused by mitochondrial disease, and placed on the 60-day disabled list just days before the start of the season.

Elliot Johnson, a infielder prospect on the 40-man roster who spent the previous season with the Durham Bulls, made headlines during a game against the New York Yankees when he crashed into Yankees prospect catcher Francisco Cervelli in a play at the plate. He was tagged out, but the collision led to Cervelli breaking his wrist. While the Yankee organization said the move was uncalled-for, most analysts claimed that it was a good baseball play. Johnson himself stated he never intended to hurt Cervelli. The act is believed to have led to heightened tensions in their next game on March 12, leading to an incident where Yankees outfielder Shelley Duncan slid with his spikes high into Akinori Iwamura, leading to a fight between Duncan and Jonny Gomes. During the bench-clearing brawl, Melky Cabrera punched Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Duncan, Cabrera and Gomes were suspended for three, three, and two games respectively. All three dropped their appeals, and had their suspensions reduced by a game.

Pitcher David Price, the #1 pick in the 2007 Amateur Draft, made his spring training debut on March 8 (prior to the Elliot Johnson incident), accidentally hitting Francisco Cervelli on the arm before striking out 2 to get through the inning. His fastball reached 99 mph on radar guns. After three appearances, he was officially assigned to High-A Vero Beach but is expected to advance quickly through the minor leagues.

The initial starting rotation for the Rays was James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel.

April turned into feast-or-famine for the Rays. The bullpen, which was derided as the worst in baseball in 2007, was the best in the league at the end of the month, with a 2.52 ERA. New closer Troy Percival saved 5 games, and did not allow a single run.

Carlos Peña was bringing the lumber that made him a superstar in 2007, having six home runs in the first 20 games, but finished the month with 31 strikeouts, and had difficulty getting on base with a batting average of just .200. The bigger surprise has been Eric Hinske. Appearing in 25 games, he hit .293 with 6 home runs and 15 RBI. On April 22, against the Toronto Blue Jays in Orlando, he was a single away from hitting for the cycle, which would have made him the first Ray to ever accomplish such a feat. For the second year in a row, the Rays won a sweep during the home series at Champion Stadium.

Evan Longoria was one of the last cuts in spring training, surprising Rays fans. He was called up on April 11 after their chosen third baseman, Willy Aybar, went on the disabled list. After six appearances, he was signed to a six-year, $15 million contract. His future seems promising for the season, with a .250 average and 3 home runs in April. In one game against the Yankees, Longoria hit a home run that capped a 5-run inning to tie the game, and a few weeks later, he homered off of Josh Beckett of the Red Sox, which provided a cushion for the team to complete their first sweep of the Boston Red Sox in franchise history.

James Shields, with the absence of Scott Kazmir, became the team's ace pitcher. In 6 starts, he went 3-1, with the one loss coming to the New York Yankees, opposite their ace Chien-Ming Wang. On April 27, he pitched his first complete game of his career in a game against the Red Sox, where he allowed only 3 batters to reach base. Just a few days after his career outing, he was named AL Player of the Week.

In 26 games during the month, the Rays went 14-12, which marked the first time in franchise history that the team had a winning record for the month of April. After their sweep of the Red Sox, the Rays were 14-11, which was the latest the team had ever been 3 games over .500 in a season.

After winning a series in Baltimore on May 1, the Rays were 16-12, the first time ever the team was 4 games over .500. Although they suffered a sweep to the Red Sox at Fenway Park immediately following, they bounced back with a series win against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre and a sweep of the Angels at Tropicana Field. After a win over the Yankees in extra innings Hank Steinbrenner, Senior Vice President and part-owner of the New York Yankees, expressed his frustration with his team at the time, saying that the Yankees "got to start playing the way the Rays are playing," and that he wished the Rays were in a different division. Hank also stated that he was happy for the Rays, but that he wished they played in the National League instead.

Following a win on Memorial Day, the Rays became the first team in over 100 years to hold the best record in the league through Memorial Day, having the worst record in the league the year before. The last team to do it was the New York Giants in 1903.

Closer Troy Percival was placed on the disabled list for precautionary measures following his removal from a game in which he felt tightness in his hamstring after striking out a batter and then falling to the ground. Percival threw several warm-up pitches but then left the game.

Scott Kazmir set a new franchise record for the most wins in one month. Kazmir lost his first start of the season in Boston, but then won his next five starts following that loss, also sporting a 1.22 ERA in all six starts. Because of this, he was named American League Pitcher of the Month.

The Rays finished May with a 34-22 record, the best record in the American League, leading the division by one game over the Boston Red Sox, and had their first winning record in the month of May (19-10).

Carlos Pena fractured his left index finger on June 4, and was placed on the disabled list. He returned to the team on June 26, wearing a protective padding outside of his left batting glove to help ease impact. Rays manager Joe Maddon stated that once the Rays finished interleague play, and returned to playing American League teams, Pena would consider putting Pena in the Designated Hitter role to help ease the workload on his left index finger, as the Rays were more concerned about his ability to throw the ball, more than having to swing the bat.

The next night, Rays pitcher James Shields hit Crisp below the waist on the first pitch in Crisp's first at-bat of the game. Crisp then charged the mound, punches were thrown by both players, and both teams' benches emptied onto the field. Shields and Crisp were ejected from the game, as well as Rays Designated Hitter Jonny Gomes.

Following the brawl, suspensions were given to players on both teams. For the Rays, Shields was given a suspension of 6 games, and for their actions in the fight, Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson were given 5 game suspensions, Left Fielder Carl Crawford was given a 4 game suspension, and Iwamura was given a 3 game suspension. For the Red Sox, Crisp was suspended for 7 games, and for their actions in the fight, pitcher Jon Lester was given a 5 game suspension, and 1st Baseman Sean Casey was given a 3 game suspension.

Both Crisp and Iwamura appealed their suspensions. On June 27, it was announced that Iwamura's suspension was upheld, while Crisp's was reduced to 5 games, no longer making him the longest suspended player of all involved. Iwamura was unhappy that his suspension was upheld so that he would miss the first game of the next series against the Red Sox. Rays manager Joe Maddon stated that the decision "baffles" him and that he will seek an explanation from the appropriate decision-makers. Both suspensions started the following day, and the decision caused Crisp to miss the next series against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

On June 12, it was reported that Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had made comments about the incident stating that in his opinion, it was "a bunch of bull what did. All I got to say is what comes around goes around, man. Payback's a b----, I'll tell you what," and that "this thing isn’t all settled and done." Papelbon also said that things would be different at Tropicana Field the next time the Red Sox were there, as opposed to the last time in which the Red Sox were swept by the Rays for the first time in franchise history. In that series from June 30 to July 2, the Rays swept the Red Sox at home for the second time in the season, and Papelbon never pitched in the series.

On June 19, the Rays swept the Chicago Cubs in a 3-game series. It was the first time in franchise history that the Rays had swept a team with the best record in baseball, as the Cubs entered the series with the best record in the league at 45-25.

The Rays went 16-10 in June, improving to 50-32 overall and leading the division over the Red Sox by ½ game.

Troy Percival was placed on the Disabled List once again on July 1, due to re-injuring his hamstring, this time after running to backup a throw to 3rd base. Percival and Rays manager Joe Maddon had a brief argument over Maddon's decision to take Percival out of the game, but Percival eventually walked off the field and understood Maddon's concern.

On July 2, the Rays completed a 3-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, which was the first series between the two teams since their altercation in early June. It was the second home sweep by the Rays of the Red Sox in the season, and increased their division lead to 3.5 games over the Red Sox, as well as giving the Rays the best record in the league.

Pitcher Scott Kazmir and Catcher Dioner Navarro were named to the American League All-Star team on July 6. It was Navarro's first selection, while Kazmir had been selected previously in 2006.

3rd Baseman Evan Longoria was named to the American League All-Star roster on July 10. This meant that it would be the first time the Rays would ever send three players to the All-Star Game. Longoria was voted into the roster by the All-Star Final Vote, where fans vote for one of five players for each league to be the final players selected for the All-Star Game. The chance to vote began on July 6 after the initial All-Star lineups were announced. Longoria was reported to have received over 9 million votes out of 47.8 million total votes cast. He won over Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Brian Roberts, and José Guillén.

Longoria also took part in the Home Run Derby, the first Ray to ever do so. He was quickly eliminated, hitting only three home runs in the first round, the least of any competitor.

The Rays went into the All-Star break with a 7-game losing streak. They had won 7 straight before then. The losing streak caused the Rays to fall to 2nd place in the AL East, but by only half a game behind the Boston Red Sox. Even though the Rays lost the division lead, they still led the Wild Card spot by 2½ games.

Barely managing a winning record for the month of July at 13-12, the Rays would nonetheless go into August with the AL East division lead having an overall record of 63-44.

The Rays acquired relief pitcher Chad Bradford on August 8 from the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later. To make room for Bradford on the roster, relief pitcher Al Reyes, who was the Rays' closer from the 2007 season and had 26 saves in that role, was designated for assignment.

On August 9, against the Seattle Mariners, the Rays equaled their franchise record, set in 2004, of 70 wins in a season. The following day, the Rays won again meaning at the season's conclusion, the Rays will have won more games in one season than in any other season in franchise history.

The injury bug would bite the Rays a few times in August. On August 3, Shortstop Jason Bartlett was hit by a pitch on his right index finger, the result of a failed bunt attempt. Bartlett was not placed on the Disabled List but missed several days before returning to the lineup as the designated hitter. He would not return to his position in the field until August 15. Left Fielder Carl Crawford was placed on the Disabled List on August 10, with a hand injury. Crawford's injury was called by the Rays as a "tendon subluxation" in the middle finger of his right hand, simply meaning that the tendon is not in its normal position. Crawford would opt to have surgery, deciding not to place a splint on his hand instead. An initial report stated that there was a possibility that Crawford would miss the rest of the season, but after it was announced that he would undergo surgery, he was reported to "likely, though not absolutely" miss the rest of the regular season. One day after placing Crawford on the Disabled List, the Rays would place Third Baseman Evan Longoria on it as well, retroactive to August 8. The injury to Longoria's right hand, suffered from being hit by a pitch, was at first thought to be just a bruise, but turned out to be a fracture. Executive Vice President, Andrew Friedman, stated that Longoria was expected to be out for three weeks. Closer Troy Percival was removed from another game on August 14, because of a right knee sprain which he suffered from fielding a bunt and tagging the runner out. After further evaluation, it was reported that there was "cartiledge involvement" in Percival's injury, but it was not a tear. The following day, Percival was once again placed on the Disabled List. When the announcement was made that he would not have surgery, Percival revealed that he may return sooner than expected.

Because of Crawford's injury, Rocco Baldelli was finally activated to take his place on the roster. On August 10, Baldelli started the day's game in Right Field, his first Major League game since May 15, 2007.

On August 29, the Rays recorded their 82nd win of the season, needing just 133 games to reach the milestone, and thus clinching the first winning season in franchise history.

By the end of the month, the Rays' entire starting rotation, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine, and James Shields had recorded at least 10 wins.

On the last day in August, shortstop Jason Bartlett hit his first home run as a member of the Rays, and his first home run overall since August 27, 2007, spanning 471 at-bats.

Despite the injuries to Longoria, Crawford, and Percival, the Rays had the best single month in franchise history, going 21-7 for the month of August. With an 84-51 overall record, the Rays went into September with the best record in baseball, a 5½ game lead in the division, and eyeing their first playoff appearance in franchise history. As Jason Bartlett stated, the Rays were "pumped" for the final month of the season, "no one wants to play us, especially at home," and the team was determined to prove that they were a legitimate postseason contender.

Troy Percival was activated from the disabled list on September 2. In Toronto for his second outing since his return, he allowed a walk-off grand slam with two outs when the Rays were ahead by a single run and in position to win the game in extra innings. Against Boston during another extra inning game, Percival came in to close with a three run lead and allowed the first three batters to reach base. He was removed from the game in favor of Jason Hammel, who had never recorded a save at the MLB level, and was the only remaining reliever available for the Rays in the game due to its length. Hammel converted the save opportunity, but many questioned if Percival should remain as the team's closer. The reason for Percival's removal from the game against Boston was a stiff back, and not for the game's situation, or for any sort of leg injury that had plagued him throughout the year. Percival stated that because of warming up multiple times throughout the game, only to not come in until the Rays took a lead, was what pained his back. Percival acknowledged that he knew he didn't feel well, and that he should have called for his own removal, but decided that with the lead the Rays had, he would be able to get the job done. As a result of the game, the Rays decided to not use Percival too often on consecutive nights, and using him in a tie game if the situation of the game changes while he is warming up. He would still be listed as the team's closer.

Instant Replay made its debut in Major League Baseball at Tropicana Field on September 3 after Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit a ball near the left-field foul pole that was initially ruled a home run by third base umpire Brian Runge. Rays manager Joe Maddon argued that the ball was foul and asked for a review. After a conversation among the umpires, though all agreed the play was ruled correctly, crew chief Charlie Reliford allowed the replay to take place and after review, upheld the home run call. On September 20 at Tropicana Field, instant replay would overturn a call on the field for the first time ever in Major League Baseball. A fly ball hit by Rays' first baseman Carlos Pena, the umpires ruled, was interfered with by a fan sitting in the front row of the stands, when the ball hit the hands of the fan and fell back onto the field of play. After Joe Maddon requested the umpires hold a conference to discuss the play, the umpires, headed by Gerry Davis, decided to look at instant replay. Just over four minutes later, Davis returned to the field and signaled that the ball was a home run.

David Price, the Rays' first overall pick in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, was called up from Triple-A class Durham on September 12. Price made his way up through the ranks, accumulating a 12-1 record, and a 2.30 ERA in 19 starts. He would make his first career start against the Baltimore Orioles on September 22, pitching 5⅓ innings, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned), while striking out three, but did not pick up a decision in the Rays 4-2 win that night.

Third baseman Evan Longoria made his return to the Rays as a starter on September 13 in the first game of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees, more than a month after being hit by a pitch in his hand, causing a fracture.

On September 18, it was reported that left fielder Carl Crawford would miss the rest of the regular season due to a finger injury suffered in the previous month. Joe Maddon stated that the concern was over Crawford's inability to swing a bat, and that if he were to be used at all before being completely healed, it would be for defense and baserunning. Crawford said that if the Rays were to make the ALCS or the World Series, he would have a chance to come back.

On September 20, the Rays clinched their first playoff berth in franchise history, after a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. On September 24, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker declared 2008 the "Year of the Rays" in the city. On September 26, despite losing that day, the Rays clinched their first ever AL East Division Championship when the Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees.

Going 13-14 for the month, the Rays suffered their only losing month of the season.

The Rays finished the regular season 2 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox for the division championship with a 97-65 record, the third best record in the league, and 31 games better than their finish in the 2007 season. They also surpassed the record for most wins by a team in a single season having finished with the worst record in the previous year, set by the Atlanta Braves in 1991 who went 94-68 after finishing 65-97 in 1990.

The Rays began their first playoff run in franchise history against the AL Central division champion Chicago White Sox, who finished the regular season 89-74 and advanced to the playoffs after defeating the Minnesota Twins in a one-game playoff to decide the winner of their division. In the regular season, the Rays were 5-2 against the White Sox. The Rays had home-field advantage for the series.

On September 30, it was announced that Carl Crawford would start for the Rays in his regular left field position, his first start in nearly two months after injuring his right hand and undergoing surgery thereafter.

In Game 1, Rays first baseman Carlos Peña started the game, but left after his first at-bat after reportedly having blurry vision because of an eye injury suffered at his home the previous night. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria hit a solo home run in the 2nd inning on the first pitch of his first career post-season at-bat, giving the Rays the early one run lead. White Sox left fielder DeWayne Wise hit a 3-run home run in the next inning to put Chicago ahead 3-1. The Rays came back in the bottom half of the 3rd inning with three runs of their own, including another home run by Longoria, putting the Rays back on top 4-3. Two more RBI singles in the 5th inning gave the Rays a 6-3 cushion. In the 7th inning, Rays relief pitcher Grant Balfour appeared to get into an argument with White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera. After Balfour's first pitch to Cabrera, which was a ball to Cabrera's far side, Cabrera kicked some dirt in Balfour's direction. Balfour, who is known to get fired up by shouting to himself, may have yelled something that Cabrera took offense too. After words were exchanged between the two, play continued and Balfour finished the at-bat by striking out Cabrera. Cabrera later stated that he was unaware of Balfour's tendency to pump himself up, and that "it was just heat of the moment." Dan Wheeler would come in close for the Rays in the 9th inning. After giving up a leadoff home run, he retired the next three batters, capping off a 6-4 win for the Rays in their first playoff game in franchise history, giving them a one game lead in the 5-game series.

Peña was expected to start Game 2, but was scratched before the first pitch. Still, the Rays continued to shine. After starter Scott Kazmir allowed the bases to become loaded in the 1st inning, and gave up two runs to put the Rays in an early hole, the pitching staff would not allow another run as the Rays' offense came through strong for the second consecutive night. In the 2nd inning, Dioner Navarro cut the deficit to 2-1 on an RBI single. Akinori Iwamura hit a 2-run home run in the 5th inning to put the Rays ahead 3-2. Adding some insurance runs in the 8th inning from three RBI singles by Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Navarro, the Rays had a comfortable 6-2 lead going into the final inning. Chad Bradford came in to finish the game off, and did so by striking out Jim Thome of the White Sox to give the Rays a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five series, with a chance to win their first ever playoff series, and a trip to the ALCS in Game 3 as the series moved to Chicago.

The Rays looked to be in shape to win the series early in Game 3, after Akinori Iwamura hit an infield single to bring in the game's first run, but starter Matt Garza allowed the White Sox to tie the game in the 3rd inning, and then take a 4-1 lead in the 4th inning. Juan Uribe of the White Sox added an RBI single in the 6th inning to increase the lead for Chicago. B.J. Upton hit a 2-run home run for the Rays in the 7th inning to make the game a bit closer, but the Rays could not get their bats going enough. The White Sox would take Game 3 by a final score of 5-3, living to play another day only down two games to one in the series.

In Game 4, B.J. Upton hit two solo home runs in his first two at-bats which gave the Rays an early 2-0 lead. Cliff Floyd added an RBI double, followed by a Dioner Navarro RBI single in the 4th inning put the Rays ahead by 4 runs. Paul Konerko put the White Sox on the board with a solo home run in the 4th inning, but was answered in the 5th inning by a Carlos Peña single that scored one run, giving the Rays a 5-1 lead. Jermaine Dye had a solo home run in the 6th inning, but once again the Rays answered back with another RBI single by Peña in the 7th inning. Grant Balfour came in to close the game and struck out Ken Griffey Jr. to end the game, and in their first playoff series in franchise history, the Rays took the series three games to one, and advanced to the American League Championship Series.

The Rays' next round opponent would be their division rivals, the Boston Red Sox. Boston won the American League wild card, and advanced to the ALCS by defeating the team who had finished the regular season with the best record in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, three games to one in their ALDS series. The Rays won the season series against the Red Sox 10-8. In those 18 games, the visiting team won only three times.

In Game 1 neither team scored until the 5th inning when Jed Lowrie of the Red Sox hit a sacrifice fly that scored a run from 3rd base. Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka held a no-hitter through six innings until a hit by Carl Crawford ended that bid with a leadoff hit in the 7th inning. Following Crawford's base hit, Cliff Floyd would single, advancing Crawford to a scoring position. The Rays however, could not capitalize as the next three batters were retired to end the inning. In the 8th inning, Kevin Youkilis hit a fly ball to left field for the Red Sox, which went off the end of Carl Crawford's glove, scoring Dustin Pedroia from 1st base and giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. The 8th inning for the Rays saw the first two batter reach base to send Carlos Peña to the plate with none out. With three balls and no strikes, Rays manager Joe Maddon gave Pena the green light to swing away, a move which would backfire as Peña flew out to Right Field. Evan Longoria then grounded into an inning ending double play. The Red Sox would hold on to their lead and shut out the Rays by a score of 2-0, taking the first game of the series.

While the first game of the series was a pitchers' duel, Game 2 was the exact opposite. The scoring opened up quickly, as the Red Sox put on a 2-out rally against Rays starter Scott Kazmir in the 1st inning from a Jason Bay double that scored Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz to put the Red Sox up 2-0. The Rays answered in their half of the 1st inning off Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, with a 2-out home run by Evan Longoria which also brough in Carlos Peña, evening the game at 2-2. Dustin Pedroia hit a solo home run to Left Field in the 3rd inning, which was again answered by the Rays with B.J. Upton hitting a solo home run of his own to Left Field to tie the game back up at 3-3. Carl Crawford would hit a single to score Evan Longoria, and the Rays took their first lead of the night at 4-3. Cliff Floyd went deep to Center Field in the 4th inning to give the Rays a 5-3 lead. The Red Sox would hit three solo home runs in the 5th inning, including Dustin Pedoria for his second long ball of the night, Kevin Youkilis, and Jason Bay, respectively, putting the Red Sox back on top at 6-5. The Rays would also score three separate times in the 5th inning, off of a single from Carlos Pena, a double by Evan Longoria, and a single by Carl Crawford, retaking the lead at 8-6. The Red Sox would not go away quietly as Jason Bay hit a bases loaded single to Center Field and cut the Rays' lead to 8-7. With Dan Wheeler in to pitch for the Rays in the 8th, a wild pitch would score Dustin Pedroia from 3rd base to again tie the game at 8-8. The game would need extra innings, where in the 11th inning, and Dan Wheeler still pitching for the Rays, walked a batter with one out, and rookie David Price came in for the Rays. Price would walk the first batter he faced but stuck out Mark Kotsay, and was able to get Coco Crisp to ground into a force out at 2nd base. For the Rays in the 11th inning, Dioner Navarro walked to lead off, and Fernando Perez came in to pinch run. Ben Zobrist then walked, and a ground out by Jason Bartlett advanced the runners. The Red Sox would intentionally walk Akinori Iwamura to set up a double play chance, but B.J. Upton would hit a fly ball to Right Field deep enough to score Fernando Perez from 3rd base on a sacrifice fly, ending the game in the Rays' favor 9-8, knotting the series at one game each as the series shifted to Fenway Park for the next three games. The time that the game took to complete was 5 hours and 27 minutes.

Game 3 would play out very well for the Rays. Red Sox starter Jon Lester threw four pitches in the 1st inning, but gave up one run in the 2nd inning to put his team in an early hole. In the 3rd inning, the Rays distanced themselves from their opponents. B.J. Upton hit a 3-run home run, and two batters later, Evan Longoria added a solo home run to put the Rays up 5-0 in Boston. Rays starter Matt Garza held the Red Sox scoreless until a sacrifice fly scored a run in the 7th inning, the Rays still having a 5-1 advantage. Rocco Baldelli and Carlos Peña would put the final nails in the Red Sox' coffin as far as Game 3 was concerned, Baldelli with a 3-run home run, and Peña with a solo shot in the 8th and 9th innings, respectively. The Rays would go on to win 9-1, taking a two games to one lead in the series.

It was more of the same for Tampa Bay in Game 4, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning on Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield with a 2-run home run by Carlos Peña, immediately followed by a solo home run by Evan Longoria. Willy Aybar added a 2-run home run of his own in the 3rd inning to make it 5-0. Kevin Cash put the Red Sox on the board in the bottom half of the 3rd inning with a solo home run. The Rays however, were not finished with their offensive explosion, putting together a lead of 11-1 through six innings. The Red Sox would score a run in the 8th inning, causing Rays manager Joe Maddon]] to pull starter Andy Sonnanstine. Both teams would score two runs in the 8th inning, but the Rays' lead proved to be insurmountable for the Red Sox, as the Rays would take the game by a final score of 13-4. On October 19, Tampa Bay dethroned the previous World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, and are now going to their first World Series. The final score was 3-1.

Game 5, for the longest time, looked as if it would be the series clinching win for the Rays. B.J. Upton hit a 2-run home run in the 1st inning to make it 2-0. Carlos Peña would hit one of his own in the 3rd inning, immediately followed by a home run by Evan Longoria, giving the Rays a 5-0 lead. Upton would double in the 7th inning, scoring two more runs, increasing the lead to 7-0. In the bottom half of the 7th inning, with Rays starter Scott Kazmir having been removed from the game by manager Joe Maddon, the Red Sox would begin to rally. Boston would score four runs in that inning by virtue of a Dustin Pedroia RBI single, and a 3-run home run by David Ortiz which cut the Rays' lead to 7-4. With the Rays' bats quiet in the 8th inning, J.D. Drew hit a 2-run home run to bring the Red Sox within one run, and Coco Crisp would single home the tying run to make the score even at 7-7. In the 9th inning, with the score still tied and two out, Kevin Youkilis hit a ground ball to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria who made an errant throw which allowed Youkilis to advance to 2nd Base. After an intentional walk issued by the Rays, J.D. Drew came up big for Boston once again, sailing a fly ball over the head of Right Fielder Gabe Gross which fell to the ground and then bounced over the Right Field wall, scoring Youkilis on the ground rule double and capping off the largest comeback by a team facing elimination in postseason history. The Rays series lead was now down to only one game heading into Game 6, but would now return home as the series shifted back to Tropicana Field.

Game 6 began well for the Rays, with B.J. Upton continuing his postseason emergence with a solo home run in the 1st inning and giving the Rays the first lead of the night. The Red Sox returned that with a solo home run by Kevin Youkilis, leveling the score at 1-1. Youkilis would give the Red Sox the lead in the 3rd inning by grounding out, but scoring Dustin Pedroia from 3rd Base. In the 5th inning, Jason Bartlett would hit his second home run of the entire season, another solo shot which tied the game at 2-2. Again, Boston would quickly answer back, with a solo home run by captain Jason Varitek, his first base hit of the ALCS, Boston now having a 3-2 lead. Later in the inning, Coco Crisp singled, and in the next at-bat, Jason Bartlett committed a throwing error to First Base, allowing Crisp to advance to 3rd Base. David Ortiz would then hit a single to give the Red Sox a 4-2 cushion, having scored Crisp. The Rays were unable to make a comeback, and lost the game by that score, their series lead now erased as a Game 7 would now have to be played to decide the series.

The starting pitchers of Game 7 were Jon Lester of the Red Sox, and Matt Garza of the Rays, a rematch of Game 3. Lester, who was the losing pitcher in Game 3, had never lost consecutive outings in his career. Dustin Pedroia wasted no time, homering off of Garza for the early 1-0 lead in favor of Boston. After that, Garza was almost unhittable until his departure. Lester was also great early, retiring the first nine batters he faced before allowing a single in the 4th inning. Later in the inning, Evan Longoria dropped a double into Right Field, and scored Carlos Peña all the way from 1st Base to tie the game at 1-1. Rocco Baldelli knocked a single into Left Field in the 5th inning, scoring Willy Aybar from 2nd Base and putting the Rays ahead for the first time in the game, 2-1. With one out the 6th inning for the Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia on 1st Base and David Ortiz at the plate, Matt Garza was able to get "Big Papi" to swing and miss for the strikeout, and Dioner Navarro gunned down Pedroia at 2nd Base, who was attempting to steal on the pitch, and ending that half of the inning. Willy Aybar would belt a solo home run for the Rays in the 7th inning to give them a slightly more comfortable lead at 3-1. Garza was removed with one out in the 8th inning, having allowed only two hits and striking out nine batters, and receiving a standing ovation from Rays fans at the game as he left the field. The defending world champion Red Sox would not go away though, loading the bases in that inning. Joe Maddon elected to go with rookie David Price in hopes of ending the threat. Price would do just that by striking out J.D. Drew on a check swing. Price would return to close out the game in the 9th inning, and after two strikeouts and a walk, Jed Lowrie hit a ground ball to Rays Second Baseman Akinori Iwamura, who stepped on 2nd Base to make the final out and send the Tampa Bay Rays to their first World Series in franchise history, defeating the Boston Red Sox four games to three. Garza, who had won two games in the series, was named ALCS MVP.

The Rays now stood only four wins from their first world championship, with only the Phillies in their way. Philadelphia won the NL East division title, disposed of the Milwaukee Brewers in their division series in four games, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS in five games. The Rays had home field advantage because of the American League's win in the 2008 All-Star Game.

In Game 1, Rays starting pitcher Scott Kazmir did not get off to a good start to the Rays' first ever World Series game, giving up a 2-run home run to the Phillies' Chase Utley in the 1st inning. The Rays had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the 3rd inning with the bases loaded and one out, but would not score as B.J. Upton hit into a double play. The Phillies would add another run in the 4th inning on an RBI groundout, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Carl Crawford the longest tenured Ray on the team's roster, would give the Rays their first run in World Series history, by hitting a solo home run off of Phillies' starter Cole Hamels in the 4th inning, cutting the deficit of 3-1. In the 5th inning, Akinori Iwamura hit an RBI double to bring the Rays within one. The Rays would not be able to put up any more offense, with the Phillies relief pitchers retiring the Rays' last six batters and winning the game 3-2, taking the first game of the series.

Game 2, saw an impressive performance by the Rays' "Big Game James" Shields. In this game, it was the Rays taking a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, on two consecutive RBI groundouts, each scoring a runner from 3rd base. In the 3rd inning, B.J. Upton singled home Dioner Navarro, with Rocco Baldelli being thrown out at home plate after the score, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead. Shields was taken out of the game in the 6th inning after getting into a jam, but he did not give up any runs to the Phillies in the game. David Price would eventually come into the game for the Rays in the 7th inning, and would allow the Phillies to get on the scoreboard from a solo home run by pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett to make the score 4-1 with the Rays still ahead. Price would finish the game, with the Phillies making it a bit interesting by scoring a runner from 2nd base because of an error by Rays' Third Baseman Evan Longoria, who deflected the ball into shallow Left Field. Already with one out, Price would then strike out Chase Utley, and retired Ryan Howard on a groundout to end the game and give the Rays the 4-2 win. The series would now move to Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Park, tied at one game for each team.

With the start of Game 3 delayed by rain for an hour and 31 minutes, the series finally resumed in Philadelphia just after 10 pm EST. Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to start a World Series game, facing off against ALCS MVP Matt Garza. Philadelphia was on the board early, as Chase Utley was put out on a ground ball that scored a runner from third. The Rays would even the game at one run each in the 2nd inning as Gabe Gross flew out on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies would take the lead back in the 2nd inning after a solo home run by Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies would make it 4-1 in the 6th inning from back-to-back home runs by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Gabe Gross scored Carl Crawford by grounding out, and Jason Bartlett would do the same to score Dioner Navarro during the next at-bat to make the score 4-3 Philadelphia. In the 8th inning for the Rays, B.J. Upton would single to reach base. During Evan Longoria's at-bat, Upton would steal 2nd base, and later steal 3rd base in the same at-bat. Trying to throw out Upton at 3rd base, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz made a throwing error which allowed Upton to score and tie the game at 4-4. The 9th inning went sour for the Rays defensively, as Phillies batter Eric Bruntlett was hit by a pitch. When Bruntlett attempted to steal 2nd base, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro made a throwing error which allowed Bruntlett to advance to 3rd base. The Rays intentionally walked the next two batters, which loaded the bases with no outs. Carlos Ruiz would hit a soft ground ball down the 3rd base line, which was fielded cleanly by Rays 3rd baseman Evan Longoria, but trying to toss to Navarro at home to make a forceout, sailed the throw over the catcher's head, and the winning run was scored by the Phillies to win the game 5-4, and take a two games to one series lead. Because of the game's late start, it was not completed until 1:47 am EST.

The Phillies scored in the 1st inning of Game 4 on a bases loaded walk, and never looked back. Pedro Feliz drove in a run in the 3rd inning to make it a 2-0 Phillies lead. In the 4th inning, Carl Crawford hit a solo home run to cut the deficit in half to just one run for the Rays, but in the bottom half of the inning, Ryan Howard knocked a 3-run home run to make it a 5-1 game. Eric Hinske hit a solo home run to make it 5-2, but Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton hit a solo home run of his own to make it 6-2. In the 8th inning for the Phillies, Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard each hit 2-run home runs, finishing off the Rays in the most one-sided game the series had seen by a score of 10-2. The Phillies now had the Rays on the ropes, needing just one more win to become World Champions.

Game 5 was perhaps the most interesting game of the series. The Phillies scored in the 1st inning again, on a bases loaded single by Shane Victorino to make it 2-0. Evan Longoria scored Carlos Peña to make it a 2-1 game.

At one point, it began to rain, and the weather conditions would get worse as the game continued. There was much speculation, including that from FOX baseball commentators Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, that the game may be called early because of the weather. Major League Baseball rules state that the game could have been called after the 5th inning, ending the game and resulting in the Phillies winning the World Series. MLB commissioner Bud Selig had made it clear to both teams prior to the game anyway, that the game would not be called early under any circumstance, as he would not allow such an important game like this to be ended before the 9th inning. However, such a controversy was prevented from happening because of the events on the field, when in the 6th inning, Carlos Peña scored B.J. Upton to tie the game at 2-2.

Following the completion of the top of the 6th inning, the tarps were pulled over the infield, and the game was delayed until 11:10 pm EST, when it was officially announced that the game would be suspended, making it the first time a World Series game had ever been suspended. It would not resume the next day, as it continued to rain in Philadelphia, but the day following that, the game would resume.

The Phillies had scored in the 1st inning in each game of the World Series in Philadelphia, and essentially did the same again as Jayson Werth singled on a pop up that scored a run in the bottom of the 6th inning to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Rocco Baldelli kept the Rays in it with a solo home run in the 7th inning to tie the game again. Pedro Feliz would answer that home run with an RBI single that ended up being the game winner, as Phillies closer Brad Lidge would strike out Eric Hinske in the 9th inning to end the game. The Philadelphia Phillies had defeated the Rays four games to one to win their second World Series title, and first since 1980. Cole Hamels was named MVP of the series.

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Lyle Overbay

Lyle Stefan Overbay (born January 28, 1977 in Centralia, Washington) is a Major League Baseball first baseman who currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He previously played baseball for the University of Nevada, Reno.

Overbay was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1999 MLB draft. While playing in the farm system, he was named Diamondbacks minor league player of the year. He was briefly called up in 2001, but played mostly in AA and AAA until 2003.

Overbay first played with the Diamondbacks as the full-time first baseman in 2003. He struggled, batting .276 with 28 RBI and 4 home runs. He was sent down to AAA Tucson in June, but was called up in September to be part of the 40-man roster expansion. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers during the off-season.

Overbay was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th round of the 1999 amateur draft and was acquired by the Brewers in the trade on December 1, 2003 that sent Richie Sexson and Shane Nance to Arizona for Overbay, Craig Counsell, Junior Spivey, Chris Capuano, Chad Moeller, and Jorge de la Rosa.

Overbay was one of the more popular Brewers during his short stint with the team. Fans would give a prolonged "Oooooooooooooo!" cheer during his at-bats. Toronto fans do not necessarily use the O chant. Instead, they have been known to create large and brightly-coloured "O"'s – also seen during his time in Milwaukee – and hold them up during his at-bats. Overbay was also recognized for his time with the Brewers via a bobblehead doll in his likeness, given away during the 2005 season.

In 2005, he also played well with the Brewers. He had a career high 19 home runs, surpassing his 2004 total of 16. On July 23, he had a career high 6 RBI versus Cincinnati, hitting two home runs, including a grand slam. This feat was also the most in a season by a Brewer. He played very well against the Reds, batting .431 with 6 home runs and 18 RBI. He was traded to the Blue Jays in the off-season.

On December 7, 2005, Overbay was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers along with pitching prospect Ty Taubenheim to Toronto in exchange for outfielder Gabe Gross and pitchers Dave Bush and Zach Jackson. Although, the trade was celebrated as a needed acquisition for the Blue Jays, Overbay has not had the statistical impact hoped for and the emergence of Dave Bush has made this trade at best a wash statistically.

On July 5, 2006, Overbay was named American League Player of the Week after hitting .423 and hitting 4 HR during the week of June 26 to July 2, 2006. During the 2006 he put up career highs in most major categories, such as batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.

In 2006, he had a career season. He batted .312 with 92 RBI and 181 hits, which were all career highs. He had 46 doubles, which was tenth among the major leagues. On June 4, 2007, Lyle Overbay, was hit by a pitch in the 6th inning in a game against the Chicago White Sox. The pitch was a high and inside fastball that ran in and hit Lyle in the hand, breaking 3 bones in his hand. He was on the Disabled List until July 13th, 2007, after which he rejoined the Blue Jays after the All-Star break. Since his return, he has struggled at the plate, especially with hitting for power.

On January 15, 2007, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Overbay to a 4-year contract, buying out his final two arbitration-eligible years, and his first two years of free agency, with a $24,000,000 contract. Overbay set a new team record on May 25, 2008 by reaching base in his 12th consecutive plate appearance by walking on a full count in the second inning. The previous record holder was Tony Fernandez who reached base 11 straight times. Recently he has been criticized by fans for his penchant to ground into double plays. He finished 2008 tied for seventh overall in this category, with 24. Overbay is also one of only 14 players to ground into an unassisted triple play, serving up Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians on May 12th, 2008.

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Tony Gwynn, Jr.

Anthony Keith Gwynn, Jr. (born October 4, 1982 in Long Beach, California) is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is the son of baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, nephew of former Dodger outfielder Chris Gwynn, and brother of musician Anisha Nicole.

On November 18, 2006, Gwynn married Alyse Mallek in La Jolla, California, and on October 9, 2007, their first child, a girl, Makayla Avery Gwynn, was born.

Gwynn made his major league debut on July 15, 2006; his first major league hit on July 19 came exactly 24 years to the day of his father's first major league hit — both doubles. Towards the end of the 2006 campaign, Gwynn received more playing time, replacing Brady Clark in the lineup. He made the Milwaukee Brewers 25-man roster following spring training 2007.

Late in the 2007 season, the San Diego Padres were in Milwaukee attempting to clinch a playoff berth. Closer Trevor Hoffman was one out away from sending the Padres to the playoffs, but the tying run was on second base. Gwynn Jr. pinch-hit for Bill Hall against his dad's former team, and dramatically tied the game with a triple. The Padres would go on to lose the game as well as the season finale on the next day, opening the door for the Colorado Rockies to force a one-game playoff with San Diego. The Rockies defeated the Padres in a wild contest, keeping them out of the postseason.

With a focus on defense, Brewers manager Ned Yost indicated in March 2008 that Gwynn and Gabe Kapler might have a leg up on Gabe Gross for an outfield position; this became true when Gross was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays on April 22, 2008. Gwynn was optioned to the Nashville Sounds of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League on May 25, 2008, but recalled after rosters expanded on September 1.

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Dave Bush

Bush graduated from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania and played college baseball with Wake Forest University where he was a double major in psychology and sociology and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 4th round of the 2001 amateur draft, but did not sign. The following year he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2nd round of the amateur draft.

He pitched two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, compiling a 10-15 record and a 4.15 ERA, before being traded along with Gabe Gross and Zach Jackson to the Brewers for first baseman Lyle Overbay and minor league pitcher Ty Taubenheim.

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Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays cap logo (1989–1996)

The Toronto Blue Jays are a professional baseball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball (MLB)'s American League.

The "Blue Jays" name originates from the bird of the same name. They are nicknamed "the Jays", which is featured on the team's logo and on the front of the home uniform.

An expansion franchise, the club was founded in Toronto, in 1977. Originally based at Exhibition Stadium, the team moved to the SkyDome in 1989. The Blue Jays are currently owned by Rogers Communications and in 2004, the SkyDome was purchased by Rogers Communications who renamed the venue to Rogers Centre. They are the first and only team outside the United States to win a World Series, the first team to win a World Series in Canada, and the fastest AL expansion franchise to win a World Series (winning in their 16th year, beating the Kansas City Royals' record by one year). With the fellow Canadian franchise Montreal Expos moving to Washington, D.C. after the 2004 season, and becoming the Washington Nationals, the Blue Jays are currently the only MLB team outside the United States.

The Toronto Blue Jays came into existence in 1976 as one of two teams slated to join the American League for the next season (the other being the Seattle Mariners). Toronto had been mentioned as a potential major league city as early as the 1880s, and had been home to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League from 1896 to 1967. The San Francisco Giants were considering a move to the city until the team was purchased by Bob Lurie in 1976. However, the Giants' abortive bid was enough that the city renovated Exhibition Stadium, home of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, to accommodate baseball.

The franchise was originally owned by Labatt Breweries, with Imperial Trust and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) as minority owners. The name "Blue Jays" came about when the team held a "name the team" contest. "Blue Jays" was one of the choices and was chosen by majority owners Labatt Breweries because "Labatt's Blue" was (and remains) its main brand of beer. Labatt Breweries hoped that the team name would be shortened to "Blues" in popular parlance, thus achieving crossover free advertising. Its hopes were dashed when the fans of Toronto almost immediately started referring to the team as the "Jays". It was very likely that the new team would have worn blue in any case; blue has been Toronto's traditional sporting colour since the Toronto Argonauts adopted blue as its primary colour in 1873.

The franchise's first employee was Paul Beeston, who began work in 1976 as the vice president of business operations. Beeston would later serve as president of the Blue Jays and MLB; he eventually returned to the Blue Jays in 2008 as interim president. Before the team's inaugural season in 1977, Peter Bavasi was chosen as the general manager, and Pat Gillick was assistant general manager.

The Blue Jays played their first game on April 7, 1977, against the Chicago White Sox, before a home crowd of 44,649. They won the snowy affair 9–5, led by Doug Ault's two home runs. That win would be one of only 54 of the 1977 season, as the Blue Jays finished in last place in the AL East, with a record of 54–107. After the season, Gillick became general manager of the team, a position he would hold until 1994.

In 1978, the team improved their record by four and a half games, but remained last with a record of 59–103. In 1979, after a 53–109 last place finish, shortstop Alfredo Griffin was named American League co-Rookie of the Year. In addition, the Blue Jays' first mascot, BJ Birdie, made its debut in 1979.

In 1980, Bobby Mattick became manager, succeeding Roy Hartsfield, the Blue Jays' original manager. In Mattick's first season as manager, although they remained at the bottom, Toronto almost reached the 70-win mark, finishing with a record of 67–95, a 14-win improvement on 1979. Jim Clancy led with 13 wins and John Mayberry became the first Jay to hit 30 home runs in a season.

In the strike-divided season of 1981, the Blue Jays finished in last place in the American League East in both halves of the season. They were a dismal 16–42 in the first half, but improved dramatically, finishing the 48-game second half at 21–27, for a combined record of 37–69.

Under new manager Bobby Cox, Toronto's first solid season came in 1982 as they finished 78–84. Their pitching staff was led by starters Dave Stieb, Jim Clancy and Luis Leal, and the outfield featured a young Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield. 1982 was also the Blue Jays first season outside the bottom, as they finished sixth in the East out of seven teams.

In 1983, the Blue Jays compiled their first winning record, 89–73, finishing in fourth place, 9 games behind the eventual World Series champions, the Baltimore Orioles. First baseman Willie Upshaw became the first Blue Jay to have at least 100 RBIs in a season.

The Blue Jays' progress continued in 1984, finishing with the same 89–73 record, but this time in a distant second place behind another World Series champion, the Detroit Tigers. After 1984, Alfredo Griffin went to the Oakland Athletics, thus giving a permanent spot to young Dominican shortstop Tony Fernández, who would become a fan favourite for many years.

In 1985, Toronto won their first championship of any sort: the first of their five American League East division titles. The Blue Jays featured strong pitching and a balanced offense. Their mid-season call up of relief pitcher Tom Henke also proved to be important. They finished 99–62 (the franchise record for most wins), two games in front of the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays faced the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series (ALCS), and took a 3 games to 1 lead. However, Kansas City won three consecutive games to win the series 4 games to 3, on their way to their first, and only, World Series championship. Painfully ironic, prior to 1985, MLB League Championship Series (both the ALCS and NLCS) were best of 5, so, had the Blue Jays been in the same position in previous years as they were in 1985, leading Kansas City 3 games to 1, they would have won the League Championship and been on to the World Series.

With Jimy Williams now the skipper, The Blue Jays could not duplicate their success in 1986, sliding to a fourth-place tie at 86–76. Jesse Barfield and George Bell led the way with 40 and 31 home runs respectively and Jimmy Key and Jim Clancy tied for the team wins lead with 14 each.

In 1987, the Blue Jays lost a thrilling division race to the Detroit Tigers by two games, after being swept on the last weekend of the season by the Tigers. The Blue Jays finished with a 96–66 record, second best in the major leagues, but to no avail. However, George Bell was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the American League, the first and only Blue Jay to be named so.

In 1988, however, Toronto could not duplicate the successes of the previous season, tying the Milwaukee Brewers for third in the division at 87–75. Still, the season had numerous highlights. First baseman Fred McGriff hit 34 home runs, and Dave Stieb had back-to-back starts in which he lost a no-hitter with two out in the ninth inning.

In 1989, the Blue Jays' new retractable roofed home, SkyDome, opened in the middle of the season. It also marked the start of an extremely successful five-year period for Toronto. In May, management fired manager Jimy Williams and replaced him with hitting instructor Cito Gaston. The club had a 12–24 record at the time of the firing, but recorded a 77–49 record under Gaston to win the American League East by two games. George Bell's walk-off home run, off Bobby Thigpen, marked the end of the Exhibition Stadium era. The first game at the new stadium took place on June 5 against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Jays lost 5–3. In the 1989 American League Championship Series, Rickey Henderson led the Oakland Athletics to a 4–1 series win.

In 1990, the Blue Jays again had a strong season, but finished in second place, two games behind the Boston Red Sox. Dave Stieb pitched his first and only no-hitter, beating the Cleveland Indians 3–0 in front of a small crowd at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. That is also, as of 2008, the only no-hitter ever pitched by a Toronto Blue Jay pitcher. During the offseason, the Blue Jays made one of the two biggest trades in franchise history, sending shortstop Tony Fernández and first baseman Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Joe Carter and second baseman Roberto Alomar. The Jays also traded for center fielder Devon White.

Carter, Alomar and White would prove to be effective additions, as the Blue Jays again won the division in 1991, as Carter drove in the division winning run. Once again, however, they fell short in the postseason, losing to the Minnesota Twins, who were on their way to their second World Series victory in five seasons, in the ALCS. In 1991, the Blue Jays became the first Major League club ever to draw over four million fans in one season.

After the 1991 season had ended, the Blue Jays acquired pitcher Jack Morris, who had led the Minnesota Twins to victory in the World Series by pitching a 10-inning complete game shutout in Game 7 and had been named the World Series MVP. To add veteran leadership to their explosive offense, Toronto signed future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield to be the team's designated hitter.

The 1992 regular season went well, as the Jays clinched their second straight AL East crown with a final record of 96–66, four games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. They also went the entire season without being swept in any series. The Blue Jays met the Oakland Athletics (who had the same record as the Jays and led the division by six games over the defending champion Twins) in the ALCS, winning 4 games to 2. The pivotal game of the series was Game 4, considered by many to be one of the most important games in Blue Jays history: the Blue Jays rallied back from a 6–1 deficit after seven innings, capped off by Roberto Alomar's huge game-tying 2-run homer off Hall of Fame A's closer Dennis Eckersley in the top of the ninth. This paved the way for a 7–6 victory in 11 innings, a 3 games to 1 lead in the series and an eventual 4–2 ALCS series win.

The Blue Jays then faced the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. The pivotal game in this series turned out to be Game 2, in which reserve player Ed Sprague hit a 9th-inning 2-run home run off Braves closer Jeff Reardon to give the Blue Jays a 5–4 lead, which would hold up. After winning Game 3 thanks to Candy Maldonado's ninth inning RBI hit and Game 4 due to Jimmy Key's superb 7 1/3 inning pitching effort in which he retired 15 straight batters (five innings), the Jays could not win the Series on home turf as the Braves struck back with a 7–2 win in Game 5. Game 6 in Atlanta, with the Blue Jays leading 3 games to 2, was a very close game. Toronto was one strike away from winning in the bottom of the 9th inning, 2–1, but Otis Nixon singled in the tying run off the Blue Jays' closer Tom Henke. It was the first run the Toronto bullpen had given up in the series. The game was decided in the 11th inning, when Dave Winfield doubled down the left-field line, driving in two runs. The Braves would again come within one run in the bottom of the 11th, but Jays reliever Mike Timlin fielded Otis Nixon's bunt, throwing to Joe Carter at first base for the final out. The Blue Jays became the first team based outside of the United States to win the World Series. Pat Borders, the Jays' catcher, was the unlikely player who was named MVP after hitting .450 with one home run in the World Series. Oddly, Morris was acquired in large part for his reputation as a clutch postseason pitcher, but he went 0–3 in the playoffs. Morris, however, pitched well in the regular season, becoming the Blue Jays' first 20-game winner, with a record of 21–6 and an ERA of 4.04.

After the 1992 season, the Blue Jays let World Series hero Dave Winfield and longtime closer Tom Henke go but signed two key free agents: designated hitter Paul Molitor from the Milwaukee Brewers and perennial playoff success Dave Stewart from the Oakland Athletics.

In the regular season, three Blue Jays - John Olerud, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar - finished 1-2-3 for the AL batting crown.

Expectations were high for the Blue Jays for the 1994 season, following back-to-back championships, but they slumped to a 55–60 record and a third place finish (16 games back of the New York Yankees) before the players' strike. It was their first losing season since 1982. Joe Carter, Paul Molitor and John Olerud enjoyed good years at the plate, but the pitching fell off. Juan Guzmán slumped considerably from his first three years (40–11, 3.28 ERA), finishing 1994 at 12–11 with a 5.68 ERA. Three young players, Alex Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green, did show a lot of promise for the future.

Labatt Breweries was bought by Belgian-based brewer Interbrew (now InBev), making the Blue Jays the second baseball team owned by interests outside of North America. Interestingly, the first was the Blue Jays' expansion cousins, the Mariners, owned by Nintendo.

Before the 1995 season, Pat Gillick, the longtime Blue Jays general manager, resigned and handed the reins of the team to Toronto native Gord Ash, who would lead the team in its most tumultuous era yet.

In the 1995 season, the Blue Jays proved that they had lost their contending swagger of the past 12 years. Although they had most of the same cast of the World Series teams, the Blue Jays freefell to a dismal 56–88 record, last place in the AL East, 30 games behind the Boston Red Sox. Attendance also tailed off dramatically during the 1995 season, and has never recovered since. During SkyDome's first four-plus seasons, Blue Jays tickets were among the toughest in all of baseball. While attendance suffered throughout the majors in the years immediately after the strike, the dropoff was especially pronounced for the Canadian teams, the Montreal Expos and Blue Jays.

1996 was another mediocre year for the Blue Jays, despite Pat Hentgen's Cy Young Award (20–10. 3.22 ERA). Ed Sprague had a career year, hitting 36 home runs and driving in 101 runs. However, their 74 wins did put them in 4th place, improving over their last place finish in 1995. They improved their record by 18 victories as they played the full 162 game schedule for the first time since 1993.

The Blue Jays started 1997 with high hopes. Not only did the Jays drastically change their uniforms, they signed former Boston Red Sox ace Roger Clemens to a $24,750,000 contract. Clemens had one of the best pitching seasons ever as he won the pitcher's Triple Crown, leading the American League with a record of 21–7, a 2.05 ERA, and 292 strikeouts. This was not enough to lead the Blue Jays to the postseason, however, as they finished in last place for the second time in three years with a record of 76–86. Cito Gaston, the longtime manager who led the team to 3 division titles and 2 World Series crowns, was fired five games before the end of the season.

Before the start of the 1998 season, the Blue Jays acquired closer Randy Myers and slugger José Canseco. Gaston was replaced with former Blue Jay Tim Johnson, a relative unknown as a manager. Despite mediocre hitting, strong pitching led by Clemens' second straight pitching Triple Crown (20–6, 2.65 ERA, 271 strikeouts) sparked the Blue Jays to an 88–74 record – their first winning season since 1993. However, this was only good enough to finish a distant third, 26 games behind the New York Yankees, who posted one of the greatest records in all of baseball history at 114–48. They were, however, in contention for the wildcard spot until the final week.

Before the 1999 season, the Blue Jays traded Clemens to the Yankees for starting pitcher David Wells, second baseman Homer Bush and relief pitcher Graeme Lloyd. They also fired manager Tim Johnson during spring training after he lied about several things (including killing people in the Vietnam War) in order to motivate his players. The Blue Jays had initially been willing to stand by Johnson. A blizzard of questions about his credibility during spring training, however, led Ash to fire him less than a month before opening day. Johnson was replaced with Jim Fregosi, who managed the Phillies when they lost to the Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. The offense picked up somewhat in 1999, but the pitching suffered without Clemens, as the Blue Jays finished at 84–78, in third place. After the 1999 season, the Blue Jays' original mascot for 20 years, BJ Birdie, was replaced by a duo named Ace & Diamond.

On November 8, 1999, Toronto traded star outfielder Shawn Green to the Los Angeles Dodgers for left-handed relief pitcher Pedro Borbón and right-fielder Raúl Mondesí. Green had told the Jays that he would not be re-signing when his contract was up at the end of the year (he wished to play closer to his home in Southern California).

2000 proved to be a similar season, as the Jays had an 83–79 record, well out of the wild card race but only a slim 4½ games back of the three-time defending World Series Champion Yankees in the AL East, the first time since 1993 they had contended for the division. Carlos Delgado had a stellar year, hitting .344 with 41 home runs, 57 doubles, 137 RBI, 123 walks and 115 runs. In addition, six other players hit 20 or more home runs, an outstanding feat. José Cruz Jr., Raúl Mondesí, Tony Batista, Darrin Fletcher, Shannon Stewart, and Brad Fullmer all contributed to the powerful heart of the lineup.

On September 1, 2000, Rogers Communications Inc. purchased 80% of the baseball club with Interbrew (now InBev) maintaining 20% interest and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce relinquishing its 10% share. Rogers eventually acquired the 20% owned by Interbrew and currently owns 100% of the team.

Buck Martinez, a former catcher and broadcast announcer for the Blue Jays, took over as manager before the 2001 season. The Blue Jays were back under .500 for 2001, finishing at 80–82, with mediocre pitching and hitting. Delgado led the team again with 39 home runs and 102 RBI. After the 2001 season ended, the Blue Jays fired Gord Ash, ending a seven-year tenure as general manager.

J. P. Ricciardi, then director of player development under Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, was named the Blue Jays' General Manager and was expected to slash the payroll immediately, in order to stem the tide of red ink. During the off-season, the team traded or let go several popular players, including Alex Gonzalez, Paul Quantrill, Brad Fullmer and closer Billy Koch to let talented youngsters such as Eric Hinske and Felipe Lopez get a chance to develop into major leaguers.

The Blue Jays started the 2002 season with slow progress in performance. Buck Martinez was fired about a third of the way through the season, with a 20–33 record. He was replaced by third base coach Carlos Tosca, an experienced minor league manager. They went 58–51 under Tosca to finish the season 78–84. Roy Halladay, a talented but inconsistent prospect who was no more than a fifth starter who alternated between Toronto and Triple-A during his first three seasons, was relied on as the team's ace and rose to the challenge being the team's top pitcher, finishing the season with a 19–7 record and a 2.93 ERA. The hitters were led once again by Carlos Delgado. Ricciardi was credited for dumping Raúl Mondesí in mid-season to the New York Yankees to free up his salary, which in turn was used for the off-season signing of Mike Bordick, Frank Catalanotto and Tanyon Sturtze. Promising young players were assigned to key roles, including starting third baseman Eric Hinske (who later won the Rookie of the Year Award for this year) and 23-year old centre fielder Vernon Wells, who had his first 100 RBI season replacing Mondesi. Another bright young player was Josh Phelps, a former catcher turned designated hitter, who hit 15 home runs.

The 2003 season was a surprise to both team management and baseball analysts. After a poor April, the team had its most successful month ever in May. The offense was mainly responsible for the stunning turnaround. Delgado took over the major league lead in runs batted in, followed closely by Wells. The middle infield positions remained a gametime decision - Bordick played shortstop and third base, Dave Berg second base and third base, Chris Woodward shortstop and Orlando Hudson second base. Minor league call-up Howie Clark entered the mix as a utility player after Hinske underwent surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand, which he had tried to play through for the first six weeks.

Despite their hitting successes, poor pitching continued to plague the team. Roy Halladay was spectacular in winning his first Cy Young Award, going 22–7, with a 3.25 ERA, but he didn't get much help from his fellow pitchers, although he had a poor start himself. Rookie Aquilino Lopez was a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen. Kelvim Escobar and former NBA player Mark Hendrickson were inserted into the rotation with their places in the bullpen filled by waiver acquisitions Doug Davis and Josh Towers, who went 8–1 after being called up from Triple-A Syracuse. The closer role was a season-long revolving door, with nobody able to take hold of the reins. Trade speculation had focussed on the acquisitions of pitching at the expense of hitters, but in the end the team simply divested itself of impending free agent Shannon Stewart without getting a pitcher in return. Instead Bobby Kielty, another outfielder with a much lower batting average than Stewart's, was obtained from the Minnesota Twins and later traded in November 2003 to the Oakland Athletics for starter Ted Lilly. The top four pitchers for the projected 2004 rotation would include Halladay, Lilly, free agent Miguel Batista, and the return of Pat Hentgen.

After the spectacular turnaround in May 2003, which helped the team move to just few games behind the wildcard leading Boston Red Sox, team performance slowly returned to reality, as predicted by team management. Carlos Delgado was second in the voting for the American League MVP although the Jays were in third place in their division. The Jays also announced that a new logo and new uniforms would be used as of January 1, 2004.

The 2004 season was a disappointing year for the Blue Jays right from the beginning. They started the season 0–8 at SkyDome and never started a lengthy winning streak. Much of that was due to injuries to All-Stars Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells and Roy Halladay among others. Although the additions of starting pitchers Ted Lilly and Miguel Batista and reliever Justin Speier were relatively successful, veteran Pat Hentgen faltered throughout the season and retired on July 24. Rookies and minor league callups David Bush, Jason Frasor, Josh Towers and others filled the void in the rotation and the bullpen; however, inconsistent performances were evident. Most starting pitchers did not pitch further than the sixth inning; thus, the overused bullpen contributed to the frequent relinquishing of early scoring leads.

The offense really sputtered due to the injuries of Wells, Delgado, Catalanotto and others, although in their absence, Josh Phelps emerged as the team's go to guy, hitting 12 homers and driving in 51 runs before being limited to playing against left-handed pitching and was traded to the Cleveland Indians. Five different catchers were used: Greg Myers, Bobby Estalella, Kevin Cash, Gregg Zaun, and rookie Guillermo Quiroz. Greg Myers was injured running the bases in Minnesota, early in the season, and was lost for the year. Bobby Estalella was called up, but he proved to be brittle as well. Gregg Zaun landed the starting catching job for the rest of the season. Kevin Cash continued to struggle from an offensive standpoint and would be moved in the offseason. The highly-touted Guillermo Quiroz was promoted from the minors near the end of the season.

With the team struggling in last place and mired in a five-game losing streak, manager Carlos Tosca was fired on August 8, 2004 and was replaced by first-base coach John Gibbons through the end of the season. The Jays' trying year would also touch long-time radio announcer Tom Cheek, who had to break his streak of calling all 4,306 regular season games in franchise history, upon the death of his father. Cheek had to take more time off later to remove a brain tumor, and by the end of the season, Cheek only called the home games.

Nevertheless, prospects Russ Adams, Gabe Gross, and Alex Ríos provided excitement for the fans. Adams hit his first major league home run in his second game, in which Gross also earned his own first major league grand slam. Alex Ríos was among the MLB Rookie of the Year Award candidates. However, the award went to Bobby Crosby of the Oakland Athletics. Rookie pitchers David Bush, Gustavo Chacín and Jason Frasor also showed promise for the club's future. The Blue Jays' lone MLB All-Star Game representative in 2004 was pitcher Ted Lilly.

On October 2, 2004, the Toronto Blue Jays announced the dismissals of pitching coach Gil Patterson and first-base coach Joe Breeden, effective at the end of the season. One day later, the Blue Jays finished the 2004 campaign with a 3–2 loss against the New York Yankees in front of an announced crowd of 49,948. However, the Jays' annus horribilis continued after the game, when it was announced that former pitcher and current TV broadcaster John Cerutti died suddenly of natural causes at the age of only 44.

More losses to the Jays family came in the offseason. Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame member Bobby Mattick, the manager from 1980 to 1981 and perhaps the best baseball man in the organization, suffered a stroke and died at the age of 89. Mattick had also served as the Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Blue Jays. A few days before Christmas, the Jays also mourned the loss of former first baseman Doug Ault, who had hit two home runs in the team's inaugural game in 1977; he was only 54 years old.

Rogers Communications, the owner of the Jays, purchased SkyDome from Sportsco International in November 2004 for approximately $25 million CAD ($21.24 million USD), just a fraction of the construction cost.

Just days after superstar Carlos Delgado became a free agent after the club refused arbitration, the Jays announced the signing of Manitoban third baseman Corey Koskie, formerly of the Minnesota Twins. One month after Koskie was inked, the Jays traded pitching prospect Adam Peterson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for corner infielder/DH Shea Hillenbrand.

On February 2, 2005, several days after finalizing the purchase of SkyDome by Rogers Communications, Rogers, to the widespread chagrin and derision of Jays fans, renamed the stadium the Rogers Centre. In spite of the best efforts of the new ownership, a wide majority of Blue Jays fans continued (and still continue) to refer to the stadium as SkyDome. By the start of the season Rogers had upgraded the stadium with a new "JumboTron" videoboard and added other state-of-the-art video screens around the stadium. Also, the AstroTurf surface was replaced by the more natural-looking FieldTurf. Owner Ted Rogers also promised a payroll increase to $210 million over the next three years, which allowed the team to have a team payroll of $70 million per year.

The Blue Jays finished spring training with a 16–10 record. Among the stars of spring training was Gabe Gross, who tied the Jays' record for most home runs in spring training with eight (the previous record breaker was long time Blue Jay Carlos Delgado). The Jays were able to translate their success in spring training into an excellent start - the team led the AL East from early to mid-April and held their record around .500 until late August. The Jays were hit with the injury bug when third baseman Corey Koskie broke his finger, taking him out of the lineup, but the club was pleasantly surprised with the performance of rookie call-up Aaron Hill in his stead.

On July 8, just prior to the All-Star break, Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay was struck on the shin by a line drive from Texas left fielder Kevin Mench and was placed on the DL with a fractured leg. The injury cost Halladay his chance to be the American League starter in the All-Star Game in Detroit; his place on the All-Star squad was taken by Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement. Though Halladay's injury was hoped to be minor, the recovery process was met with constant delays, and Halladay eventually would prove to be out for the rest of the season. Team management officially announced that he would miss the rest of the season in August. The Halladay injury is seen by many as the negative turning point in the Jays season; the team had been in serious wild card contention at the time, but afterwards fell out of the race and failed to make the playoffs for the 12th consecutive year.

On July 22, Toronto traded utility infielder John McDonald to the Detroit Tigers for cash considerations. This gave the Blue Jays an open spot on the roster so that Aaron Hill could stay with the team when Corey Koskie returned from injury.

On July 28, Toronto played in the longest game in franchise history, innings-wise, an 18-inning marathon against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre. The Jays won 2–1, after nearly five hours of play when Orlando Hudson hit a line drive past a drawn in infield, scoring Alex Rios from third base.

The shutdown of Halladay for the remainder of the season seemed to affect the performance of the Jays. They went on a slump that brought their record under .500 in the beginning of September. From there, the Blue Jays finished the season 80–82 while receiving glimpses of the future from September call-ups Guillermo Quiroz, John-Ford Griffin, and Shaun Marcum. Marcum made himself noteworthy by posting an ERA of 0.00 over 5 relief appearances and 8 innings in September. Griffin hit his first career home run in the last game of the season and ended up going 4 for 13.

Josh Towers also stepped up, showing largely unseen potential going 7–5 with a 2.91 ERA in the 2nd half of the year and a 13–12, 3.71 ERA season overall, making him arguably the unlikely ace of the Jays rotation with Halladay injured and Gustavo Chacín faltering somewhat after the All-Star break.

The 2005 Jays inability to score with men in scoring position was a turning point in many games that ended up as losses, also contributing to the 80–82 record, although as a positive, the team did improve by 13 wins and returned to their usual 80-win plateau.

On October 9, the Jays, along with their fans, mourned the loss of inaugural broadcaster Tom Cheek. Cheek, 66, succumbed to brain cancer after just over a year-long battle. Cheek had broadcast 4,306 consecutive games since the first day of the franchise. His streak was ended in June 2004 when he took time off to visit his ailing father.

In the off-season, general manager J.P. Ricciardi began to make good use of the money that had been granted to the Jays by Rogers Communications before the season. Rogers had given Ricciardi $210 million over three years, which became $75 million a season to spend, $25 million more than the previous year. Ricciardi fulfilled the team's need for a stable closer by signing former Baltimore Orioles standout B. J. Ryan to the richest contract ever for a reliever - a 5-year, $47 million on November 28. Following that, the club awarded a 5-year, $55 million contract to highly coveted starting pitcher A. J. Burnett, formerly of the Florida Marlins, on December 6.

On December 23, 2005, Rogers Sportsnet reported that the Jays added a much needed 30 plus home run hitter to their lineup by getting third baseman and 2002 World Series MVP Troy Glaus and minor league shortstop Sergio Santos in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In return, the Diamondbacks received second baseman and 2005 Gold Glove Award winner Orlando Hudson and pitcher Miguel Batista. Glaus passed a team physical on December 26, and the trade was officially announced the next day. On the same day as the announcement of the Glaus deal, the Jays acquired solid-hitting first baseman Lyle Overbay and right-handed pitching prospect Ty Taubenheim in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers; with pitcher David Bush, pitching prospect Zach Jackson, and outfielder Gabe Gross going to Milwaukee. Glaus and Overbay were both introduced to the Toronto media together a few days later.

On January 3, J.P. Ricciardi signed free-agent catcher Jason Phillips to a minor league contract. Phillips, who hit .238 the previous season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, also had an invitation to spring training, was supposed to have competed with Guillermo Quiroz for the role of the Blue Jays' backup catcher. Quiroz was later claimed on waivers by the Seattle Mariners, and Phillips started the season with the team after Gregg Zaun was put on the disabled list.

The trades for Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay in the off-season created a glut of corner infielders for the Jays, as the team now had five players (Glaus, Overbay, Eric Hinske, Corey Koskie, and Shea Hillenbrand) who could play third base, first base, or designated hitter. The Jays relieved some of this pressure on January 6, by trading Koskie to the Milwaukee Brewers in the second deal between the two clubs in less than a month. The Blue Jays received minor league pitcher Brian Wolfe in return for Koskie. The Blue Jays also moved first baseman (and former third baseman) Eric Hinske to right field as a result.

On February 6, Toronto signed former Angels catcher Bengie Molina to a one year contract worth with an option for a second. Three days later, Toronto wrapped up its off season moves by re-signing Shea Hillenbrand and Pete Walker, each to a one year deal.

On July 2, Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, B.J. Ryan, and Alex Rios were picked to represent the Blue Jays at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Rios would not end up competing due to a serious staph infection that occurred around June 28, possibly as the result of a foul ball off Rios' leg during a game on June 27. Along with them the manager John Gibbons was also picked as an assistant coach for the AL team. This was the most all stars selected for the game since 1993. The only AL team with more All-Stars than the Jays was the World Series champion the Chicago White Sox, with six.

On July 7, Troy Glaus was picked to compete in the 2006 Home Run Derby, though during the Derby, he hit only one home run and was eliminated after the first round.

On July 19, infielder Shea Hillenbrand was designated for assignment after an altercation with the team management. Shortly after Hillenbrand, along with reliever Vinnie Chulk, was traded to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Jeremy Accardo.

On August 3, rookie second baseman Ryan Roberts started his first game in the MLB, and had his first hit, which was a home run. He is one of few Blue Jays rookies to have his first hit a home run in his first start.

On August 12, the Blue Jays got the Minnesota Twins to hit into 6 double plays, tying a Blue Jays record set on April 16, 1996. (Blue Jays vs. Detroit).

On August 16, the Blue Jays traded reliever Scott Schoeneweis to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations or a player to be named later (later announced to be INF Trevor Lawhorn).

On August 17, the Blue Jays traded first and third baseman and outfielder Eric Hinske and cash considerations to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later.

During a game against the Oakland Athletics on August 21, 2006, while on the verge of blowing an 8-run lead, John Gibbons walked to the mound to remove starter Ted Lilly. An argument ensued on the mound, in front of the audience at the Rogers Centre. Lilly eventually did leave the game and then headed into the clubhouse. Gibbons subsequently followed him into the hallway, where it appeared to eyewitnesses that he and Lilly got into a fight. Numerous team members and support personnel rushed into the tunnel to break them up. After the game, both the pitcher and manager denied any altercation and said the problem had been resolved.

Despite their on-field and off-field problems, the Blue Jays managed to play well in the critical month of September, going 18–10. This, combined with the slumping of the Boston Red Sox, enabled Toronto to snare sole possession of second place in the American League East by the end of the season. This marked the first time that the Jays had finished above third place in their division since their World Championship season of 1993, and with the most wins since the 1998 season.

On November 17, the Blue Jays announced that they had signed designated hitter Frank Thomas to a two-year contract worth $18 million, with an option for 2009.

On November 28, the Blue Jays announced that they had re-signed catcher Gregg Zaun to a two-year contract with an option for 2009.

On December 18, the Blue Jays announced that they had re-signed centre fielder Vernon Wells to a seven-year contract worth $126 million, to come into effect after the 2007 season. It is currently the largest contract in club history.

During the month of January, Toronto signed starting pitchers John Thomson and then Tomo Ohka to incentive-based one-year contracts in an effort to strengthen their 4th and 5th rotational slots. On January 30 Toronto also signed starting pitcher Victor Zambrano to a minor league contract, and invited him to Spring Training. All three were eventually released. When Brandon League, who was being considered for the main setup role, arrived to Spring Training with a strained lat muscle, Zambrano took the empty spot in the bullpen. Thomson injured himself in spring training, so the Blue Jays named Ohka and Towers as their fourth and fifth starters. After four mediocre starts, Josh Towers was sent to the bullpen and replaced by Dustin McGowan. Towers returned to the rotation later in the year replacing released pitcher Tomo Ohka. When Gustavo Chacin was injured, he was replaced in the rotation by Shaun Marcum, who had a breakout year.

The season was blighted by persistent injuries, with 12 Blue Jays landing on the DL. The most serious injury was that of B.J. Ryan, who was out for the entire season having had Tommy John Surgery. However, due to the emergence of young pitchers like Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen and Jeremy Accardo, the Jays finished 4 games above .500.

Another memorable moment of this season was Dustin McGowan's complete game one-hitter on Sunday, June 24 against the Colorado Rockies at the Rogers Centre. McGowan carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning when outfielder Jeff Baker hit a single with no out to break it up. This was the first Jays' one-hitter since September 27, 1998, in which Roy Halladay threw against the Detroit Tigers. The Jays won 5–0 and moved themselves up to .500 for the first time since May 1 of the season. The game was also notable for Frank Thomas hitting the 499th home run of his career. The day after McGowan's gem, the Jays defeated the Minnesota Twins 8–5 to climb over the .500 mark for the first time since April and get their first four-game winning streak of the season.

On June 28, Frank Thomas became the 21st Major Leaguer to hit 500 career home runs. The pitcher who surrendered the homer was Minnesota Twins' starter Carlos Silva. Despite jumping out to an early lead the Jays couldn't hold on and ended up losing 8–5. In addition, Thomas was ejected from the game in the ninth inning by home plate umpire Mark Wegner for arguing balls and strikes.

On July 6, Reed Johnson returned to the lineup after spending three months on the DL. Johnson had been suffering back problems early in the season and received surgery, which forced him onto the 60-Day DL. This situation left Adam Lind the odd-man out in the lineup and he was optioned down to Triple-A. In his first game back Johnson went 1–3 at the plate, and made a game-saving catch in the ninth which prevented two runs (only one run scored on a sac-fly) from scoring and a runner on second (possibly third) and a one run lead with only one out. The Jays won the game 8–6 against the Cleveland Indians.

On September 16, Aaron Hill broke the Blue Jays club record for most doubles by a second baseman in one season, set by Roberto Alomar in 1991 with 41 doubles that season. Hill recorded his 42nd double of the season against the Baltimore Orioles.

On September 17, Frank Thomas hit three home runs in a game for only the second time in his career, both times against the Boston Red Sox.

On April 4, the Blue Jays played in their home opener. During the pre-game ceremonies, both Roberto Alomar and Paul Beeston were inducted into the Level of Excellence for their contributions to the Blue Jays organization. Also during the pre-game ceremonies, the JumboTron featured a video package of former Blue Jays players and staff who had passed away (including broadcaster Tom Cheek, pitchers Joe Kennedy and Cory Lidle, and former pitching coach Al Widmar), the team then beat the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, 6–3. At that game, the team also debuted their new "Flashback Friday" powder blue throwback uniforms, similar to those worn in the 1979 season. The uniforms were worn at each home game on Fridays, throughout the regular season.

On April 20, the Blue Jays gave Frank Thomas his outright release after he voiced his displeasure about being benched indefinitely. The benching was said to be a result of his low performance level early in the season. His contract stated that if he reached 1000 plate appearances in his two year contract he would receive a bonus year at $10 million. Thomas required 304 more plate appearances to be guaranteed the bonus. At the conclusion of the game on April 20, the Blue Jays announced the call up of catcher Robinzon Díaz to take over the roster spot of the departed Thomas. Four days later, Thomas was signed by the Oakland Athletics.

On April 25, the Blue Jays activated third baseman Scott Rolen from the 15-day disabled list. He was expected to provide a boost for a struggling Blue Jays team, which had lost 7 of its last 10 games. Rolen, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in a January trade for Troy Glaus, had suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger at spring training. Robinzon Díaz was sent back to Triple-A to clear the roster spot.

On May 24, Jesse Litsch pitched his first major league complete game shutout, blanking the Kansas City Royals 6–0 at the Rogers Centre. He also set a new team record of 38 consecutive innings without giving up a walk. That same game featured Brad Wilkerson hitting the team's fourth grand slam of the season.

On June 10, the Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 3–1 in a home game lasting 2 hours and 2 minutes, one of the quickest games played in the 2008 Major League Baseball season to that date. Right-hander Dustin McGowan pitches a complete game, 125 pitches for the win.

On June 20, following a five-game losing streak and with the Jays in last place in the East, management fired John Gibbons and several members of his coaching team and re-hired Cito Gaston.

On September 4, the Jays completed a three game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, with a 9–0 win. Rookie Travis Snider hit his first major league home run, a 400 foot shot straight to center field in the top of the fifth inning. Jesse Litsch pitches a complete game for the win.

The winning streak continued through September 7, with the Jays sweeping the 3-game set from the AL East division leading Tampa Bay Rays. Roy Halladay earned his 129th career win (and his fifth straight win this season), moving him into second spot on Toronto's all-time wins list, trailing only Dave Stieb with 175 wins. Joe Carter was the guest of honor during Flashback Friday celebrations, signing autographs for fans and receiving a lengthy ovation from the crowd at Rogers Centre.

After taking two games from the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox, the Jays saw their 10-game winning streak halted in a 6–5 loss on September 10. Roy Halladay, coming off a win versus the Tampa Bay Rays, gave up five runs and did not have the usual Halladay composure.

Following the conclusion of the 2008 regular season, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that, former president and CEO, Paul Beeston, will assist in the daily operations for the ballclub, with the support of Paul Godfrey, who will be stepping down as president and CEO at the end of the calendar year. Beeston will also aid in the search for a permanent replacement for Godfrey and hopes to find a successor before the 2009 season arrives.

On Halloween of 2008, the Toronto Blue Jays optioned the contract of catcher Rod Barajas. Gregg Zaun subsequently left to sign with the Orioles.

Additionally, Bobby Doerr, a second baseman with the Boston Red Sox, served as a coach with the Jays early in their history, and was the first person associated with the franchise to be elected to the Hall, in 1986. Early Wynn, the Hall of Fame pitcher and 300-game winner, was a broadcaster for the Blue Jays during their first few years.

The Blue Jays' former radio play-by-play announcer, Tom Cheek, called every Blue Jays game from the team's inaugural contest on April 7, 1977 until June 3, 2004, when he took two games off following the death of his father – a streak of 4,306 consecutive regular season games and 41 postseason games. Cheek died in 2005, and the team commemorated him during their 2006 season by wearing a circular badge on the left sleeve of their jerseys. The badge was adorned with Cheek's initials, as well as a stylized microphone. Cheek is also honoured with a place in the Blue Jays' "Level of Excellence" in the upper level of the Rogers Centre; the number 4,306 is depicted beside his name. In 2008 Cheek received the third highest amount of votes by fans to be nominated for the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. This is the fifth year in a row Cheek has been named a finalist.

Today, radio broadcasts of Blue Jays games are on CJCL, known as The Fan 590. Jerry Howarth is the lead play-by-play announcer, with former Blue Jays catcher Alan Ashby serving as the colour commentator and secondary play-by-play announcer.

On television, most Blue Jays games are carried on Rogers Sportsnet (which, like the Blue Jays, is owned by Rogers Communications). Jamie Campbell is the play-by-play announcer, with colour analysis rotating between Pat Tabler, Rance Mulliniks, and Darrin Fletcher. TSN, which was formerly the chief television outlet for the Blue Jays, still carries a handful of Jays games; on these telecasts, Rod Black handles play-by-play while Tabler serves as colour commentator.

CBC carried eight Blue Jays games in 2007; the broadcasts featured Jim Hughson as the play-by-play announcer, and former Blue Jays Rance Mulliniks and Jesse Barfield on colour commentary.

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Source : Wikipedia