An Open Letter From a Fair-Weather Fan

To all members of Bluebird Banter:

Let me start by congratulating you on creating a warm and inviting environment. I was hesitant to join a baseball blog on SBN (having been drawn to SBN by the network's Chelsea FC blog, We Ain't Got No History), but your excellent site has convinced me to join and, in a shocking twist of events, contribute to this atmosphere.

But enough with the pleasantries. There are confessions to be made.

My name is Dan, and I am a shameless fair-weather fan.

Now, as fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, you are doubtless surprised to have an unabashed bandwagon hopper as myself around. "Surely", you must be saying, "he subscribed to the wrong team! This is Toronto, not New York or Philly! Toronto hasn't had bandwagon fans since the early 90's!" Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view of "plastics"), this is not the case, for the Jays and I have some history. Coincidentally, it involves the early 90's.

I technically attended my first sporting event in 1992, a game between the soon-to-be champs and the Yankees. My parents, both hip, uban, GTA-based professionals, loved the Jays, and attended as many games as possible. However, being a fetus at the time, I cannot relay these events to you. Rather, I can tell you a little about my real first sporting event, attending a game between the Jays and the Orioles in 1995. The Jays went on to lose, I believe, although I was rather distracted by the fascinating sunglasses one of our neighbours was wearing. These instances formed the beginning of an...interesting relationship.

in 1998, my parents fled the GTA to Kingston, and their Jays love grew dormant as they assumed the burden of being full-time parents. However, my father was enamoured with the Toronto Maple Leafs, so there was no lack of sports in the house. My mother, a Montrealer, made sure I grew up with a healthy disdain for the Leafs, and I remain a proud Senators fan to this day. Thus, I grew up in a very hockey-oriented environment, and would often go to see the Senators play in Ottawa - but I never went to Toronto to see sports. There were echoes of the Jays to be found around the house - a commemorative bottle opener here, a fridge magnet there, a favourite pillow practically everywhere (don't ask). However, when I finally became aware of baseball in the summer of 2003, the Jays logo had already gone its evolution into...well, something that certainly wasn't as good as the original. I attended another ball game that summer, versus the Rays, and the Jays lost. Again.

It was during that magical summer and following playoff that I jumped whole-heartedly on the Red Sox bandwagon. There was something in seeing an "underdog" win the World Series that I enjoyed. So, for the next seven years, I became a Sox fan, supporting them through another Series. But I never really got into it.

One might ask, "Why not? The Red Sox were a machine; it seems like a perfect time to get into the game." Well, the reason why is that I feel in love with soccer; the Beautiful Game. From first match, I became obsessed; to this day, I watch all matches religiously. Needless to say, the relationship I had with the Jays never faded. I went to ball games on the odd time. I watched some games. Nothing too big, that is, until this year.

With the unveiling of the retro jerseys, something changed within me. They rekindled a fire I hadn't felt in years - they just seemed right for this team. I began paying attention to Jays news, and followed reports on Spring Training in the Toronto Star. I was impressed - a young team with lots of skill. I was excited. For the first time in years, my entire family watched the whole Opening Day game. The room was at a fever pitch for the whole match, and the family felt whole. I tuned in to each of the following games, and joined BBB to follow up on this young team. With Sergio Santos finally getting his first save tonight, my dad and I lept off our sofas and cheered. It felt good to count myself as a Jays fan. And I had a ball (pun intended) reading the comments from the game on today's threads.

So, in conclusion, thank you for making a safe landing for this fair-weather Jay. Who knows, this residency might just become permanent!

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