When I was 7 years old the Toronto Blue Jays won their second consecutive World Series championship when Joe Carter hit a walk off home run over the left field wall at Skydome. I, however, was not watching the game when this happened. My bedtime was 8pm, so I was sent to bed during the middle of the game. My mother came into my room shortly after the game ended and woke me up to tell me that “we” had won another World Series. I remember laying in bed looking at my Roberto Alomar poster tacked to the wall next to my World Series Championship poster from the year before and imagining being able to run as fast as Roberto (a thought I had almost every night before sleep) as I drifted back into my dreams.
Earlier that evening I had been watching the game in the basement of our house at 90 Woodbury Ave. in Winnipeg Manitoba, approximately 1000 miles from Skydome. I sat between my dad and grandfather on the old hide-a-bed pushed up against the stucco wall. I don’t remember exactly how big our TV was, but somewhere in the vicinity of 20 inches sounds about right. I was instructed to stay on the couch and not move, as I had previously knocked out the television connection playing mini-sticks. This caused my mother to miss a televised performance by Bonnie Raitt that she had waited for all day… There was to be no repeat offense.
I sat between my dad and grandfather, wearing my Blue Jays cap and drinking water from an emptied out Coors light can so I could look like they did as we watched the game. Like most kids, I was probably more excited about the interaction with my family then all of the details of the game. I loved it when my dad or grandpa would get upset at a ball or strike. I would join right in griping at the umpire with them, even if I sometimes argued the case for the other team. Twenty-two years later, it is the familiar bond of team, family and friends that keeps me loving and cheering for the Blue Jays.
In January I moved from Winnipeg to Toronto, where my girlfriend had already been living. Each night when I go to sleep, I look out of my window directly at the CN Tower and domed top of the now-named Rogers Centre. 1000 miles has turned into a few hundred feet. Gone are the posters (her decision, not mine) but the view makes up for it. This year will be my first year living in Toronto and regularly attending Blue Jays games. I’ve decided to chronicle this adventure with a weekly recap of the week that was for the Blue Jays. Each week during the season I will be writing my thoughts and experiences from the week before.
To be clear, this will be an unabashed fan perspective on the Blue Jays season and the experiences of being a fan of the team. By that I mean that it may largely be irrational. For example, I don’t care what the advanced stats say; Muni Kawasaki is absolutely worth his roster spot based on team chemistry alone!* It will also contain my musings regarding the things I observe at the ballpark or watching with friends and family across the country.
I also very clearly know what this will not be. This will not be an expert breakdown of player’s swings, statistics, curveball trajectories and so on. While I will absolutely rely on other people’s statistical and analytical work, there are plenty of great places to read this type of article, and I would strongly encourage you to do so. I am not an expert in advanced statistics, or even all of the finer inner workings of the game of baseball. My analysis is more likely to focus on discussions including things that move faster than a Buehrle fastball (a current day Juan Guzman fastball, Aaron Sanchez’s off-speed pitches, evolution, rapid transit developments in Winnipeg, a three toed sloth, dances with wolves extended directors cut) than it is on a players WAR ranking.
As I eagerly await the start of the season I look forward to sharing my thoughts with all of the Blue Jays fans out there right across Canada, and hearing about your experiences during this season as well.
Go Blue Jays!
* I secretly love advanced stats and have been known to use them when they support a preexisting opinion, while also discrediting advanced stats when they suggest something different from what my “eye test” has determined. Which is to say, I am a sports fan.