I may have only been three years old when the Blue Jays last won the World Series, but that didn’t stop me from becoming fixated on the American League Champs this October. The confidence and athleticism that each player demonstrated was mesmerizing. I could almost feel the energy through the television (it must have been electric for those lucky enough to be at the Rogers Centre). I began listening to sports radio, watching feature segments online, and even singing along to one of the many parodies to hit the airwaves. Like many Canadians, I became a (bigger) fan of the Toronto Blue Jays.
What struck me most about the Blue Jays playoff run was the community that it created. #ComeTOgether joined fans from coast to coast to coast – and beyond – to cheer on Canada’s team. And age was never a factor. Marcus Stroman’s flair, Kevin Pillar’s superhero-like catches, and Jose Bautista’s bat flip inspired Canadian children everywhere to pick up a ball and play catch.
Throughout the month, friends of mine commented that they began seeing more kids playing baseball than ever before. Kids even started growing “beards” like their favourite right fielder. The Toronto Blue Jays, as a result of their success, had effected a nation. Despite the playoff outcome, my guess is that there are a lot more Canadian children interested in baseball.
But what will happen next?
This is the question that remains after the post-season news conference wraps up and the Rogers Centre closes its doors on another season of baseball. How many kids will sign up to play baseball throughout the winter? Will youth baseball registration be up next year? Have the Blue Jays inspired more Canadian children to be physically active?
I think I’ll have to be patient to know the answer to the last question. In the meantime, I’m happy that so many Canadians have come together to enjoy the great sport of baseball.