Happy FanPost Friday. If you are just waking from your long winter’s nap, FanPost Friday is when I suggest a topic and you write a FanPost on that topic (or use the topic as a jumping off point to write about something that interests you).
Today’s topic: How did you become a fan of the Blue Jays?
We’ve asked this before, but I love reading these stories. I’m always curious how Canadians decide to become baseball fans, when hockey is so present in everyday life (not that you can’t become a fan of both). Or how some Americans decide upon the Jays as their team. Or how people from outside of North America come to be Jays fans.
I remember Hugo saying that he was in a bar, and a ballgame was one and the Blue Jays fans, at the bar, seemed to be having such a good time, he just kind of gravitated to them, and they took him in as one of their own, making him a lifetime Jays fan.
I loved baseball for as long as I can remember. I was an Expos fan. Expos broadcasters Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider were great, I learned so much from listening to them (back in those days you didn’t get all the games on tv, you might only get one game a week). I loved Gary Carter, always smiling, always enjoying the game. Andre Dawson, Warren Cromartie, Steve Rogers (the pitcher, not the superhero), Tony Perez were all my heroes. Tim Raines made the team in the early 80’s and was as exciting as any player I’ve ever watched.
I followed the Jays, in their early years, but for the first few years, they weren’t much of a team. At first they were a bunch of not ready for prime time players. Guys that were either beyond their best before date, or were young and not really prospects.
But the 80’s came and Pat Gillick started putting together a team. The young outfield of George Bell, Lloyd Moesby and Jesse Barfield quickly became the best in baseball. Dave Stieb was so intense, he wanted to win so badly, you couldn’t help but watch. He was sort of the pitching equivalent of Jose Bautista or Josh Donaldson, except he had far less love for his teammates. I tried to copy Ernie Whitt’s swing (it didn’t work for me).
Then the playoff years came, and I was hooked. The Expos were still my first love, but I could follow both.
As well, in the early 80’s, Bill James started putting out his Baseball Abstracts and I became a devoted follower. I joined something called Project Scoresheet, an attempt to have fans score all the games, back in the days that baseball wouldn’t share information with mere fans.
Baseball worked hard to kill off my Expos and the Jays became rather average, and my love of baseball faltered a bit. Family life, kids, and, of course, the rise of the Yankees as a dynasty again, and, well, I still followed baseball, but I wasn’t as fanatic about it.
Gord Ash’s time as a GM never excited me, I had a hard time dealing with all the bad trades/crappy drafts. When he was replaced by JP, my interest was renewed. JP, at least, talked a good game. He might not have delivered, but there was hope again. I got back into fandom as a daily thing again. I watched almost every Jays game. And I started making sure I’d make at least one trip a year to watch baseball live.
Then, I found online communities and soon Bluebird Banter and, well, I’m a committed fan (or at least my wife thinks I should be committed).
So that’s me....
Go here, and tell us your story.
Last week’s FanPost topic, Spring Training Memories, wasn’t exactly a popular one. We only had one post. Hopefully this week’s topic will generate more interest.
JaysCraze wrote, not so much about a specific memory, but a more general memory of the feel of spring training starting, the excitement that baseball is back for another year. Great job. It is like a breath of fresh air. Sportsnet has a spring game on today and, even though it is the Yankees and Phillies, I am going to watch because it is BASEBALL.