“How about those Blue Jays?”
Children of the early 80s will no doubt remember the voice of Fergie Oliver, calling on Jays Nation to rally behind this exciting, charming and wondrous team. As the Toronto Blue Jays rose from the bottom of the cellar, making contention runs in 1983 and 1984, they finally won the East to cap off the “Drive of 85”. George Bell caught the final fly ball of the season, dropped to his knees, and Tom Cheek cried, “They have won the East! They have won the East!”.
Yes, they went on to lose in the ALCS to George Brett and the Kansas City Royals, but the love affair was on. The passion was alive, burning with desire. It stayed with us until the Glory Days of the 90s — the back-to-back World Series wins and the unforgettable Tom Cheek call, “Touch ’em all, Joe.”
Then the love died. The team withered and wilted, and our affections with it. Sure, we had our moments, but they felt more like contrived “Date Nights”, desperate pleas to save the marriage. We were given glimpses of excitement, like foreplay that doesn’t go anywhere. There was Carlos Delgado. Roy Halliday. Absolute charmers both — gripping our hearts and leaving us cold in the shower. And wasn’t Roger Clemens such a tease? Here for a fling gone at the first argument?
Something happened though, in the last couple of years. There’s a bit of spring in the air, a sense that love will find us again.
This past off-season brought such great hope. We were promised, if not a champion, a contender. A formidable suitor for our hearts. They came, decked out in blue, donning the handsome uniforms that we remember and loved so well. They wooed us with flowers and candy and then…
Left us limp.
We look into the dugout and see them, all smiling and laughing and having a good time. The two Jose’s, Bautista and Reyes — all muscle and braun. R.A. Dickey — complex, sensitive, compelling. Brett Lawrie — young and vibrant and dangerous. Colby Rasmus — the bad boy rebel you hide from your parents. Josh Johnson — the ingenue upstart with great promise of a great future.
How it hurts to see them there, game after game, playing with our hearts instead of playing the game with all it takes to win. They have it in them, we still believe. Surely, they must love us back. They won’t leave us, like the others… will they? They’re just… confused right now. It’s so much to deal with. Maybe they need a little time, you know, to get their heads on straight.
Sure, boys, take the time you need.
But we’re not going to wait around forever. Remember, it’s not us — it’s you.
Please, don’t leave us alone in the stands, drinking gin and tonics and feeling this blue, this maddening heartache on heartache.
We’re worth it, and you know it.