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Blue Jays Make The Most Of Trade Deadline

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: OK, so the New York Yankees may have beaten the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. But if Mike Pesca's prediction holds, the Jays will shake it off pretty quickly. And their fans may be the ones getting the last laugh. Hey there, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hey (laughter), my prediction.

MARTIN: Your prediction.

PESCA: I'm the one.

MARTIN: I'm just laying it on you right from the top.

PESCA: It is true.

MARTIN: It's been 23 years, I understand - sources tell me - 23 years since the Blue Jays made the playoffs. So if we set this loss aside, you think that they can actually break this whole losing streak - because it has been a long one.

PESCA: Yes. And couple weeks ago, when they were one game under 500, I told you I think they're going to have a great second half. And then they go and trade for Troy Tulowitzki, excellent shortstop, David Price, lights-out pitcher. And they've been great ever since. Now they've been too great. You can't say that their recent 11-game winning streak was all because I predicted it. Yeah, you can. No, you can't say it was all because of the addition of these two guys. What really happened is a team that should have been winning a lot more - their offense is so prodigious - should have been winning a lot more - the regression to the mean, if you will, caught up with them in a good way. They started winning as much as they should have been winning. But what we've seen in the last couple losses shows that, you know, not everything goes on forever. And also, they haven't hit a home run in their last couple losses. As that's what the Blue Jays do. They have a tremendous amount of power. They're an interesting team and right now, I just checked the Las Vegas odds, the favorite to win the World Series.

MARTIN: Really? Wow.

PESCA: Yup, 4-1.

MARTIN: All right, that works for me. That's where I'm going to put my money. OK, so...

PESCA: Yes, exactly (laughter), please do - annuities, bonds? No.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Other fans out there in the world of baseball who have reason to be hopeful in this moment?

PESCA: Sure. Let's talk about the fans, historically, who have least reason to be hopeful, the Cubs - although, always entertained. The Cubs, with the Blue Jays' loss, the Cubs currently have the longest winning streak. And the Cubs have a really interesting team. They have an infield where the oldest regular player is 25-year-old Anthony Rizzo. And all the other guys were born in the '90s, including 21-year-old Addison Russell. And they - you know, you could say maybe they're not old enough to realize they shouldn't be as good as they are so early. But they're that good. Now, here's what's going on with the Cubs. They have an excellent general manager. It's Theo Epstein. He came over from the Red Sox. He was the architect of their big streak-busting World Series wins. I love their manager. I love Joe Maddon. And you know that quote that's - Hillary Clinton sometimes says it. And it gets attributed to Gandhi. What is it? First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they win- you know that quote?

MARTIN: Kind of, this sounds dangerous (laughter).

PESCA: Anyway, Gandhi didn't say it. So it's OK. But the thing is, I think with a guy like Joe Maddon or with geniuses in sports, it goes like this. First, they ignore you. He was an obscure guy and hard to get a job. Then they laugh at you. He used to do these things, still does, shift his players around, have unusual lineups. And then you win. That's the end of the quote. But in between then you win, which Joe Maddon is showing that he's doing with the Cubs, I think there's another thing that happens. And it's, then they just absorb your wisdom into what everyone does. So the stuff that Joe Maddon was doing was seen as shocking or ridiculous. And now all these other teams are doing it. Yet, Joe Maddon is still pulling rabbits out of his hat to help this team - and this talented young team, too. You know, right now - if the playoffs started now - the Cubs would also be in the playoffs.

MARTIN: Mike Pesca. His podcast is called The Gist. Thanks so much, Mike.

PESCA: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.