Take Me Out To The Ball Game…
There is nothing that says “summer” quite like baseball does. It has always been known as America’s favourite pastime, but what is often forgotten is that Canada has team as well. Up here in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays are our only hope for entertainment and excitement at the professional level. Fans of any Toronto sports team know that a certain amount of false hope and disappointment is expected over the years, but there are a fair amount of loyal followers out there.
The Toronto Blue Jays
The last time the Blue Jays made the playoffs was over two decades ago – in fact they won back-to-back world series in 1992 & 1993. Even though I was only a young kid, lived nowhere near Toronto and didn’t follow baseball, I can still remember the excitement of those championships. It became a national triumph – celebrated by all. I have not forgotten the iconic names of Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar who led the team to its glory. And can you believe after 20 years, I still have the novelty songs stuck in my head? “Let’s go (let’s go). Blue Jays (blue jays). Let’s (let’s)…play (play)…ball!”
Let’s Go, Let’s Go Blue Jays!
Since that time the Blue Jays have become synonymous with disappointment. Fans still support them every year, but the Skydome (Roger’s Center) – yes I still call it that – always has plenty of empty seats, and a sell-out crowd was something of the distant past. There were a couple seasons when it appeared as if they were heading in the right direction. A few seasons ago, what appeared to be a bright young star named Brett Lawrie, was pinned as someone who could bring success back to a rebuilding squad. However, he ended up being just another trading chip on the long road back to respectability.
Blue Jays: American League East Division Winners 2015
Sitting here now, after witnessing the Blue Jays win a division title in 2015 and priming up for their first playoff appearance since 1993, there is a certain level of surrealism. It seems that everything happened very quickly. They made some big off-season acquisitions and trade deadline deals which left them with one of the most potent and lethal lineups one could imagine. My wife laughs when I refer to professional athletes as “studs,” but sometimes players deserve that title.
About The Players
This lineup is incredible. The top of the order includes one of the most consistent hitters, Ben Revere. Next up is a player who exudes competitiveness. Josh Donaldson is an athlete who is simply driven to win. You can see it in his eyes. He refuses to lose. He has had an MVP caliber season with timely hits, stunning defense, and clutch home runs. Third and fourth in the order are the bash brothers; Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Jose has been one of the best hitters in the league for years, but has never had a supporting cast to make his efforts worthwhile. Encarnacion has created a parrot craze in Toronto. Fans perch plastic parrots on their shoulders in honour of his home runs. Whenever he hits a dinger, he rounds the bases with his right arm half-cocked to his side. Fans caught on to this as resembling a pirate holding a parrot. Thus, a mascot was born. Many MLB pitchers have been victimized but these hitters all season long to the point where they become visibly nervous to face them.
Baseball True Fans
My wife Carolynne has had a long-standing family tradition of following the Blue Jays. When they spent time with grandparents and other extended family at their cottage, they would always have the Blue Jays game on in the afternoons or evenings. It is nice to see them finally get rewarded for decades of loyal viewing. I was always a hockey fan and didn’t watch much baseball until I met my wife. Due to this, she likes to refer to me as a “bandwagon” fan now that I am watching the historic success. Oh well. If you are ever in the Toronto area, be sure to take in a game at Rogers Center and support our team!
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