There isn't much for Blue Jays news, other than the continuing saga of Edward Rogers III trying to replace Paul Beeston. As much as I think the Blue Jays owe Beeston a more dignified end to his long career with the team, I think I'll save other thoughts on that subject for last.
So I thought I'd ask you all: How did you become a Blue Jay fan?
I'm always curious about how people come to baseball as their sport to watch, especially in this country, where hockey isn't just a sport. And, of course, after choosing baseball as you sport to follow, how did you come upon the Jays has your team.
For me. I've liked baseball for as long as I can remember. Maybe part of it was the math, I always like numbers. but most of it, I think, was the situations. The anticipation. Runner on first, will he steal, will they bunt (please no). Bases loaded, how are we going to get out of this.
Then there were my Expos. I owe a lot of my love of the game to Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Steve Rogers, Al Oliver and the TV people, Dave Van Horne, Duke Snider and, later, Ken Singleton. I really like Duke Snider as the analyst. He had a nice way of explaining to the game to those of us just learning. I'm sure, if I could go back and listen now, I'd complain about how much wrong information he gave out, but, at the time, he seemed great. I didn't know he was a Hall of Fame center fielder until much later. And Dave Van Horne had such a nice way of calling the games, it was easy to become a fan.
The Expos taught me the fun of watching prospects come up to the majors and grow as players. They also taught me how baseball can be the saddest game on earth. Steve Rogers giving up the home run in the top of the 9th, in game 5 of the 1981 National League Championship was the worst moment of my baseball life.
Then Bill James started writing his Baseball Abstracts, and it make me more of a baseball fan. It is hard to explain how much of a game changer Bill James was. Back then, all the stats you got were batting average, home runs and RBI. For pitchers it was won/loss, ERA and saves. Bill James showed us things that were never thought of, even things as simple as on base percentage. The first time I (or really anyone) saw batting splits against left handed and right handed hitters was in the Bill James Baseball Abstract. It was a big deal, at least to me. I learned so much more about the game. And, he made you think you were part of a special club that understood baseball in a way that most people didn't.
Around the same time, the Blue Jays were, finally, starting to put together a good, young team. You could watch young players with potential. In the early 80's they had the best outfield in baseball, with George Bell, Lloyd Moesby and Jesse Barfield. Tony Fernandez was a young and flashy shortstop. I don't think there was ever a pitcher I liked to watch more than Dave Stieb. I was a big fan of Ernie Whitt and Rance Mulliniks.
In 1985 they made the playoffs. From then forward, was a Blue Jays fan.
I've had moments when I was an 'anyone but the Yankees fan'. I was happy anytime anyone beat them. And, as much as MLB tried to kill off any love I had for the Expos, I continued to be a fan, until MLB finally killed them, but, through the good and bad (and there has been a lot of bad) I've been a Blue Jays fan, even when I couldn't understand what Gord Ash was trying to do with the team.