Blue Jays' Atkins on what he learns watching playoff baseball

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins looks on during baseball spring training. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2020 playoff run lasted all of two games as the team was swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card round.

Despite his team’s brisk elimination, general manager Ross Atkins hasn’t taken a break from watching baseball and he’ll be tuning in to see if the Rays can upset the Los Angeles Dodgers to take home their first championship in franchise history.

“It’s been a great playoffs year to enjoy,” Atkins said Tuesday during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan's Lead Off. “I’ve really enjoyed thinking about what the teams and individuals have had to overcome this year, how unique the year and circumstances are, and it has been a nice reprieve to watch the competition and we’ll absolutely be plugged in for the World Series.”

Atkins won’t merely be watching Rays-Dodgers for the entertainment and intrigue. He’s always taking notes and looking for new techniques or strategies to apply to his own team.

“I don’t watch a game without thinking about how we can learn and get better,” Atkins explained without getting heavily into specifics. “There is a lot to be said of what transpires on the biggest stage, in the most intense moments, and year in and year out there are consistencies you can take away from playoff teams. They evolve and it changes but there are things that we (discuss in) our daily meetings and talk about in our off-season strategy.

"…We’ve talked about the games that we’ve watched this year. We talk about historically what we’ve learned from playoff teams and playoff-contending teams and how we can continue to improve.”

The Blue Jays are 337-371 overall in the five seasons since Atkins was named the team’s GM. Toronto has qualified for the post-season twice during that stretch, losing in the 2016 ALCS and in the wild-card round this September.

“We’re always as an industry talking about how do we just put a better product on the field for the fans,” Atkins added.

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