Dear God I love the Blue Jays. After all, what’s not to love? Sure, they may blow crucial games in crucial series, 90% of the time they can’t get a hit in extra innings to save their lives, they don’t steal bases and have never been able to beat the Rays (Devil or not), but after that, what else? Oh yeah, they can never seem to beat rookie pitchers, take advantage of bases loaded situations and every pitcher not named Halladay seems to start every at-bat with a ball. But still, every day I try to catch the opening pitch and every night check the standings… What’s wrong with me?
When I was growing up in Vancouver, I had my choice of three teams to follow. TBS showed every Braves game, KIRO played the Mariners and TSN covered the Jays. And although I had my choice of Maddux and Jones or Griffey Jr. and Johnson (all in their primes), I picked the team that starts the season with almost no shot at the playoffs and was in the midst of a funk that they are still struggling to pick themselves out of today. Did I already ask what’s wrong with me?
During the middle of the season, when the team was in the midst of another challenging for third place season, I was racking my brain while tuning in to Pat Tabler (Jays announcer), when suddenly out of nowhere, John MacDonald and Marco Scutaro execute a double play like I’ve never seen before. Scutaro executes a running flip to to MacDonald, who catches it on the fly and throws out the runner at first, when all the reasons I needed came rushing to me.
Although the Jays didn’t have an extended playoff run in over 15 years, they still had Clemens winning Cy Youngs and Delagado blasting shots. Every game there was something to see. Even if the Braves have had fifteen years of mattering in the fall, it couldn’t compare to seeing Robbie Alomar in the field every day.
Even if they haven’t won since I was in elementary school, the reasons that existed then are still the reasons I watch today. Every game has the chance to be something special. When the game begins and any of the five Jays starters takes the mound – whether it’s Halladay, Burnett, Marcum, Litsch or Purcey (and while healthy, McGowan) – there’s chance to see a no hitter. How many Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs fans can say that? Every inning there’s a chance to see Vernon Wells making a webgem in center, Alex Rios gunning down runners at the plate and John freakin’ MacDonald do anything. I think I would pay to see that man empty his dishwasher.
I watch the Jays because they are maddeningly and excitingly inconsistent at the same time. Rarely boring, never uninteresting. The Jays are an addiction that always draws you back in. When you try to get out at the end of a season, they bring you back with a 10 game winning streak. Once you are a Jays fans, always a Jays fan. Even if they aren’t in contention for a pennant, every day they have a chance to win. There is never a game that is lost before the opening pitch. They contend every day and because of it, have earned my permanent support.
Look don’t get me wrong, I would kill to have the Jays be a player in October. To see the radar gun display somehow explode in flames after every single pitch during a five hour game on Fox and have that f*&@#) baseball explain to me what a curveball is after a Jays at bat would make me take a day off my non-work every day to get ready for the heart attacks that are sure to come.
But if that can’t happen, I’ll take this Jays team every day of the week. That's my reason, how about you?