Blue Jays fans making loud statement after deadline
The Toronto Blue Jays fell 7-6 to the Kansas City Royals this afternoon in front of 37,932 fans. A Blue Jays loss transformed into edge-of-your-seat television as the club fought through the the final innings, and instead of waiting for their reason to stand, the fans in attendance were on their feet for the entire ninth inning. They were loud, and Blue Jays ownership is going to notice.
Alex Anthopoulos was a busy man this past week as the Blue Jays stole the show at the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. This meant a slew of press conferences, and even prior to this afternoon’s great turnout and fan support, I was surprised by one theme that ran through his prepared statements and answers to the media.
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On several different occasions, Anthopoulos made an allusion to the fallout from these trades, stating his curiosity in the impact they would have on ticket sales and attendance. According to this piece from Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun, the fans have responded.
“Well, with the busiest three days in franchise history — or second busiest if you are counting World Series rings — ticket buyers are lining up: almost 32,000 were sold Thursday and 15,000 the day before,” writes Elliot.
Not only does the rapid spike in playoff chances and likelihood of a deep race lead to these numbers, but also the name-brand variety of Toronto’s additions. Troy Tulowitzki is the type of player that you buy a ticket to watch. I’ve also personally heard from dozens of people who have purchased tickets for Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins just to see David Price throw pitches in a blue and white uniform.
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These are fans that, until a week ago, would have been watching from their couches. Not purchasing tickets and wildly expensive merchandise. Not mortgaging their home for a hot dog and comically overpriced beer. For all the flaws that the Blue Jays find in their team’s ownership, they will notice things like this and maybe, just maybe, it will impact the on-field product.
Consistent attendance like today’s as the Jays chase down the AL East and AL Wild Card lines the pockets of Rogers, something they’d surely like to repeat on a year-to-year basis. It’s foolish to suggest that they’ll open the vault completely if the ball club has success financially, but perhaps ownership will be somewhat more liberal when it comes to free agent spending, especially with the departure of Paul Beeston and the changes that will bring. I’m looking at you, David Price in free agency.
There’s a buzz around this team, and rightfully so. As fans, we play a role. Unfortunately, it’s often a small role that is unkind to our wallets, but if we do it right, the results may continue to materialize on the field.
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