This story originally appeared on VICE Sports Canada.
The Blue Jays set a franchise record for runs in a three-game series over the weekend with 36 in a sweep of the Angels. They moved a half-game ahead of the Yankees for first place in the American League East, and—should they not win the division—are in control of the wild-card race. These are strange times. The Jays, in late August, not having to rely on the collapse of four other teams to have a shot at the second wild-card spot.
The playoff drought, which has spanned 21 years, might really end. Here are 21 ways to appreciate just how long it's been since the Jays were in the postseason:
1) As mentioned, the Jays moved into first place Sunday. How rare is this? In the last 20 years, this has been the AL East deficit for the Jays on August 23rd (starting with last season): 8, 17.5, 16, 13, 11.5, 20, 12.5, 12, 10, 10, 24.5, 15.5, 26, 14, 5, 10.5, 29.5, 21, 14, 20.5. Meaningful baseball—and not the on-the-fringe-of-the-wild-card-race meaningful—has been non-existent for two decades.
2) 658 MLB playoff games have been played since the Jays were involved in one.
3) Best Picture winners since the Jays made the playoffs: Schindler's List, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, American Beauty, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The King's Speech, The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave, and Birdman. If it helps, Leonardo DiCaprio still hasn't won an Oscar, so the Jays might end their drought first.
4) Three of the other sports franchises in Toronto didn't even exist. The Raptors started in 1995, the Toronto Rock in 1998 and Toronto FC in 2007. If we're counting, and some of you might be, the Rock have won the National Lacrosse League title six times.
5) We've orbited Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and most recently Pluto. The Euro was introduced. So was the iTunes music store and the iPod. And the toonie. Kanye West went from a little known hip-hop producer, then became a music icon, interrupted Taylor Swift and became a villain, then made up with Swift, and upset a portion of Canada by being chosen to close the Pan Am Games ceremonies this year. Anyway, a lot of shit has happened.
6) At the end of this season, the Jays will have played 3,499 regular season games since their last playoff appearance. Assuming you have tuned into every single one of these, and that each game on averaged comes in at three hours, that's 10,497 hours of baseball, which is the equivalent of approximately 437 total days spent watching the Jays, over a year of your life spent on waiting for a team to make the postseason.
7) ER didn't make its television debut until September 19, 1994, after the Jays had won the World Series. Since the show's release, and before the Jays have returned to the playoffs, George Clooney has been an actor (or voice actor) in 40 films, and even gotten married. Also: Friends didn't make its debut until September 22, 1994. I'll spare you the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston timeline, but consider it implied.
8) Movies and franchises have been rebooted (several times) since the last Jays playoff appearance. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin came out in 1995 and 1997, respectively. The franchise was rebooted with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale in 2005 with Batman Begins. That trilogy was completed in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises. Ben Affleck is now set to be the next Batman in the Batman v Superman movie set for release next year. Spider-Man has gone through two iterations already. Sam Raimi directed three films starring Tobey Maguire from 2002 to 2007. Marc Webb directed Andrew Garfield in 2012 and 2014. Tom Holland was recently casted as the next Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk was played by Eric Bana and then Ed Norton in two separate films in 2003 and 2008. The role has since passed on to Mark Ruffalo who has been reprising the character in the Avengers series.
9) Some of the players who played at second base for the the Jays after Roberto Alomar: Edgardo Alfonzo, Dave Berg, Emilio Bonifacio, Tilson Brito, Homer Bush, Miguel Cairo, Domingo Cedeno, Howie Clark, Felipe Crespo, Mark DeRosa, Mariano Duncan, Luis Figueroa, Ryan Freel, Carlos Garcia, Chris Getz, Craig Grebeck, Aaron Hill, Orlando Hudson, Maicer Izturis, Kelly Johnson, Munenori Kawasaki, Pat Kelly, Norberto Martin, Mike MCoy, John McDonald, Frank Menechino, Mickey Morandini, Steve Tolleson, Omar Vizquel, Devon Travis, Cliff Pennington and Ryan Goins.
10) There have been 57 no-hitters since Toronto last made the playoffs, and plenty of Jays-related ones. Al Leiter threw a no-hitter as a Florida Marlin in 1996. David Wells threw a perfect game with the Yankees (hungover, no less) in 1998. David Cone followed it up a year later with his own perfect game with the Yankees. Before joining the Jays, A.J. Burnett had a no-hitter with Florida in 2001. Octavio Dotel, another former Jays reliever, throw an inning in a combined no-hitter with five other pitchers for Houston in 2003. Mark Buehrle threw a no-hitter with the White Sox in 2007, and then a perfect game in 2009 (former Jay Dewayne Wise played a huge part in it).
After being traded to the Phillies, Roy Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, and then threw a no-hitter in his first-ever playoff start against the Reds. Brandon League was part of a combined no-hitter with the Mariners in 2012. And lastly, Henderson Alvarez, who was part of the Jose Reyes-Buehrle trade, threw a no-hitter with the Marlins on the last day of the 2013 season.
11) We've bid farewell to the following people in the wrestling industry since the Jays last made the playoffs (a partial list): Gorilla Monsoon, Owen Hart, Rick Rude, The Junkyard Dog, Brian Pillman, The Big Bossman, Mr. Perfect, The British Bulldog, Yokozuna, Test, Bam Bam Bigelow, Eddie Guerrero, Crush, The Macho Man Randy Savage, Paul Bearer, Doink The Clown, The Ultimate Warrior, Dusty Rhodes, and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
The Ultimate Warrior, one of wrestling's biggest stars during the 1990s. —Photo via Flickr user keeping it real
12) We've basically watched entire careers of athletes during the drought. Consider Tiger Woods, who didn't even make his professional debut on the PGA Tour until 1996, and has amassed 79 total wins on tour, including 14 majors.
13) LaTroy Hawkins is 42 years old, and made his debut with the Minnesota Twins in 1995. He might be called on to get some key outs against the Yankees in September and beyond. The first time Hawkins faced the Yanks, their lineup included Derek Jeter, Luis Sojo, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Jorge Posada (who had his number retired by the Yankees this past weekend) and Wade Boggs.
14) Since the drought, the Yankees have won the division 14 times, three times for the Red Sox, twice for the Orioles and twice for the Rays. The Yankees have won five World Series during that span, and made seven World Series appearances in total. The Red Sox ended their championship drought with two wins in 2007 and 2013 (in 2013, the year the Jays made their push in the offseason, Boston won the division with departed Jays manager John Farrell). The Rays, who didn't even exist until 1998, have also made the World Series once during this span.
15) The league leaders in the last season the Jays made the playoffs. Batting average: Andres Galarraga. Home runs: Barry Bonds. Runs batted in: Albert Belle. Wins: Jack McDowell. Strikeouts: Randy Johnson. ERA: Greg Maddux. The managers of the year were Gene Lamont and Dusty Baker.
In 1993, his first season with the Giants, Bonds won his second consecutive MVP award and third of his career. —Photo via Wiki Commons
16) The first overall pick in the draft the last year the Jays made the playoffs: Alex Rodriguez.
17) Drake, who recently referenced Joe Carter's home run in the track "Back-to-Back", celebrated his seventh birthday (October 24) the date after the Jays won that World Series. It would be another eight years before anyone knew him as Jimmy Brooks from Degrassi: The Next Generation.
18) Pat Gillick was the general manager of the Jays in 1993. He resigned the year after. Since the drought, he has led three other teams to the playoffs as a general manager (Baltimore, Seattle, Philadelphia) and won a World Series in 2008 with the Phillies. Alex Anthopoulos, the current general manager, was a 16-year-old teen when Carter hit his home run.
19) Blue Jays starters in the last 22 years, who've had an ERA over 5.00 in any season with the team (minimum one start): Juan Guzman, Dave Stewart, Al Leiter, Brad Cornett, Paul Spoljaric, Pat Hentgen, Edwin Hurtado, Danny Darwin, Giovanni Carrara, Jeff Ware, Erik Hanson, Paul Quantrill, Marty Janzen, Scott Brow, Frank Viola, Luis Andujar, Robert Person, Chris Carpenter, Huck Flener, Kelvim Escobar, Joey Hamilton, Pete Munro, Roy Halladay, Steve Trachsel, Clayton Andrews, Pasqual Coco, Esteban Loaiza, Justin Miller, Steve Parris, Luke Prokopec, Brandon Lyon, Mike Smith, Brian Cooper, Cory Lidle, Mark Hendrickson, Doug Davis, Corey Thurman, John Wasdin, Josh Towers, Sean Douglass, Jason Kershner, Ted Lilly.
20) That's a lot of pitchers. Actually, that was just about half the list. The rest: Dustin McGowan, Chad Gaudin, Casey Janssen, Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rosario, Tomo Ohka, Gustavo Chacin, Victor Zambrano, Josh Banks, Ty Taubenheim, David Purcey, Brian Tallet, Scott Richmond, Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills, Brian Burres, Dana Eveland, Jo-Jo Reyes, Kyle Drabek, Luis Perez, Brad Mills, Ricky Romero, Joel Carreno, Jesse Chavez, Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, Chien-Ming Wang, Ramon Ortiz, Aaron Laffey, Sean Nolin, Liam Hendriks, Daniel Norris. And if the season were to end today, Drew Hutchison, Todd Redmond, Scott Copeland and Matt Boyd (since traded) would join the list.
21) Via Matt Elliott, the newsgroup alt.sports.baseball.tor-bluejays was created in October 1993.
Newsgroup alt.sports.baseball.tor-bluejays was created in October 1993. Here's some amazing posts from that time. pic.twitter.com/BsbdyHh1Sx
— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) August 19, 2015
This is proof that even two decades ago, the internet was already filled with unbearable people and the need for takes—1993 doesn't feel that long ago if you think about it this way.