Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Here's Hoping that Other's Find the Passion

I am a passionate, devoted, somewhat masochistic, yet always believing in miracles Toronto Blue Jays fan. I have ranted on at length in this space before of how truly painful and difficult it is to be a Toronto sports fan of a certain generation. I am a middle-aged woman and yet, I have no memories of the last Stanley Cup paraded down Yonge Street. The Raptors are still a work in progress, but to be honest have yet to capture my imagination. I loathe Canadian football! (I am certain that there is a post in there somewhere, but suffice it to say that any sport that awards a single point for a missed field goal, is not a real sport in my books.) As such, the Argos have never been worthy of my support. But, baseball is a whole other ball game. I love everything about the sport. I love the quiet pace and the lack of a clock. I love the intricacies of the match ups of pitchers versus batter and I love watching the defenses reset from hitter to hitter. No two plays are exactly the same in baseball and there is nothing quite like the feeling of a walk-off home-run. And ever since a snowy day back in April of 1977, the Blue Jays have been the object of my affection. (In the spirit of full disclosure, my passion for baseball started long before the Blue Jays inception. I was a truly bad Canadian patriot as I hated the Expos. I was and to a certain extent, still am, a Dodgers booster. The whole history of the franchise tweaked my interest as a kid and I must have been among the few Canadians who cheered Rick Monday's homer that knocked the Expos out of a possible World Series appearance back in 1981.) But, the Blue Jays are my team. I have cheered through the great times and sobbed through the low points. I have caps from various generations, and I have been privileged to witness a World Series game in person. I watch when they win and I watch when they lose, which has been the norm since the strike of 1994. 

This year, my beloved boys of summer entered the season with absolutely no expectations of even a .500 season. This is a team that saw their starting rotation decimated with long-term injuries and is fielding a starting five that has 2 full rookies, a kid that misses the rookie designation by 5 days, and a number 2 man that has 2 years under his belt. (And he is now on the DL!) The everyday players are also very young and would require career years and then some for this team to have any hope of getting past the powerful big-spenders of the American League East. No, this was a team that the pundits called for 4th in the division, and even that was a gift. And yet, nobody told the guys that they were losers. The Jays have had a wonderful and truly surprising start to the season and, while it is very early and nobody is planning the parade, this is a team that plays hard every day and deserves to be seen. Still, Fox sports didn't think enough of them to schedule the guys for even one appearance this year, and the fans of Toronto have acted as though the players have a communicable disease and have stayed away in droves. 

Last night, The Husband and I were gifted with a pair of tickets by a friend for our first in-person look at the 2009 version of the Jays. The tickets were part of the Jays $5.00 Tuesday promotion and while we sat in the upper decks, we were directly behind home plate and could view every call. Doc was on the mound, the guys were coming off of their 4th consecutive series win, several of the players are off to torrid starts, there is no playoff hockey in this town for the 4th straight year, $5.00 tickets are practically a giveaway, and still the SkyDome (yes, it will always be the SkyDome to me Mr. Rogers!) was mostly empty. The game was exciting, as fast-paced as a baseball game can be, filled with every sort of offensive and defensive gem imaginable and for an added bonus, saw the beaning of an umpire. True, the Jays lost 5-4 to the Rangers, but they never quit and had the tying run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings. Where were you Toronto? Watching first round hockey blowouts of other cities teams on the tube?  We have the best starting pitcher in the American League, a superstar in waiting at 2B, young studs who can pound the shit out of the ball, a bullpen that is amongst the stingiest in baseball, and if Alex Rios and Vernon Wells ever realize that the season started in April and not May, these guys might make it interesting this summer. I implore you!! Give baseball a chance. You will be glad you did. Check out the dismal attendance at the Dome last night and my new boy-crush at 2B, Aaron Hill. 

The Doctor was a bit off the mark last night and gave up 2 2-run home-runs, but he struck out 9 and went 8 strong innings.
My new crush is Aaron Hill. The man is short, compact, and plays every ball as if it were the 9th inning of the World series. Right after this picture was snapped he lay full out to snag a liner to right and threw out the runner. He also homered and doubled. I think I am in love!
For shame Toronto!!

1 comment:

  1. Extremely well stated, fear not Dawn(ie) there are a few other die hards who continue to passionately support our boy's of summer and who have that glimmer of hope that maybe we could be witnessing something really special with the
    '09 the way with the state of the starting rotation I think you're scheduled to go on Thursday:)