A sickness has invaded our household. It started over the summer, and slowly took over our family. We are all now deliriously feverish, because for the first time in 22 years, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to the playoffs. The Steel family has a serious case of Blue Jays fever, and the only cure is more Blue Jays.
Blue Jays fever is not just limited to our family. The entire city is positively buzzing over the success of our team. For me, the love of the Blue Jays goes far beyond just this season. I have been a fan for as long as I can remember. My grandparents went to the SkyDome on opening day and got my sister and I “Domer” stuffies- mine is still kicking around somewhere. I can remember watching playoff games over Thanksgiving, and everyone in the family would bet on the outcome (I mean, they were like fifty cent bets, it’s not like we were hanging out with a group of bookies). I would come home from school in those days and my mom would have the game on while she was baking cookies or getting dinner ready. And when Joe Carter hit that walk-off home run in ’93– well, it was one of the best moments of my childhood (seriously, click on that link and watch the video. Even if you aren’t a Jays fan; even if you aren’t a baseball fan, this video will give you chills. If it doesn’t, well, then, I recommend heading to your nearest ER because you may not have a pulse). My mom was shouting at the TV, “He did it! He did it! I can’t believe it!” And then that Coke commercial came on after the game, and I think it was the first time I cried tears of happiness.
There was such a feeling of unity among Jays fans back then, and that feeling is here again. When I wear a Blue Jays shirt to work, patients, parents, co-workers, and complete strangers will stop so we can talk about last night’s game. On the first day of school, I estimated that at least a third of the kids on the playground were sporting Blue Jays gear. Charlotte has been swept up in the fever, too. She chants, “Go, Hobay Bautista!” whenever Jose Bautista steps up to the plate. She comments frequently on how the Yankees are bad guys (total parenting win). Or, when she wants to tease me, she will say that she is going to start cheering for the Yankees because she knows that will get me riled up. Even Penelope gets in on the fun- she will hold up her finger when we say “Number one Blue Jays!”
I honestly cannot choose a favourite player right now. It seems like every game, someone is stepping up with an amazing catch (Kevin Pillar), a clutch homerun (Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, Dioner Navarro, Ben Revere…I could go on and on), some stellar pitching (R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman, David Price, Marco Estrada, Mark Buerhle) or three home runs in one game, including a grand slam (Edwin Encarnacion…and seriously, who does that?!). They are like the very definition of a team- all players working together; no one player or position getting all the credit for their success.
I would really like to say thank you to our Toronto Blue Jays for the spectacular ball they have played this season; for bringing our city together; and for bringing back memories of my childhood Blue Jays and cheering with my mom and now forming new memories of cheering with my family. Good luck in the post-season, boys- bring that World Series trophy home this year. Let’s go, Blue Jays!