When the Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s only team in Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League, experienced two winning streaks of 11 games this past summer, heads on fans began to turn and media outlets began to take note.
Was this the same team, the boys in blue, we had known for the past decade or some weird hybrid version of the team circa 1992/93?
After these two winning streaks and their continued success throughout the season, it appears to be en-vogue to hop on the Blue Jays bandwagon, whether you are interested in baseball or not.
Like someone, who hails from Toronto, told me recently, it seems like Canadians needed validation from our neighbours to the south in order to feel it was okay to cheer for the Blue Jays.
But don’t be deceived by the American major network coverage of the Jays, many whom only started to pay attention after those white hot 11 game winning streaks. The Jays have been traveling on a direct path towards the World Series for the past three years.
For many diehard fans who have stuck with the Jays through thick and thin, a championship never seemed very far away. It was always within grasp, especially over the past few seasons. Names like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnancion, Munenori Kawasaki and Aaron Sanchez have become household names over the past few years.
And overnight this season, they have seemed to fall in love with the newly acquired all-star pitcher David Price.
Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees was no exception for the win hungry fans, when in the top of the seventh inning, when the bases were loaded and 25 time career grand slammer Alex Rodriguez was looking for a hit, Liam Hendriks struck him out.
Fans in Rogers Stadium in Toronto went crazy, a sea of erupting blue, showing again that old fan favourites, like A-Rod who have a lot of star power, have appeared to be shifted out of the fan consciousness once again.
The Yankees managed to squeeze out a win from the Yankees, leaving the series up in the air, and prompting a win from the Jays side the following day.
The Jays two 11 game winning streaks made them the first team since the Atlanta Braves in 2013 to accomplish such a feat within the same season. They are also the first American League club to accomplish such a feat since the Kansas City Royals in 1977.
Currently the Jays are sitting at the top of the eastern American League with a 86- 65. The opposing Yankees sit at 83-67.
The Jays playoff roster is beginning to take shape and this should be cause for fans, new and old, to band together and cheer for the Jays as they set their sites for the eastern title and beyond.
It’s a similar story for the Edmonton Oilers. After the deflated 2014-15 NHL season, many Oilers fans chose to walk away from the franchise. Sometimes a string of scorching losses don’t sit well with season ticket holders.
But now look at the franchise since the arrival of rookie Conner McDavid, who many fans are likening to Jesus (affectionately calling him McJesus), hoping that he can perform some type of miracle and not only save the franchise, but sky rocket the team to the Stanley Cup or at least the playoffs. One can only hope.