Buying a Toronto Blue Jays jersey is difficult because of the changes in the team, as well as the nature of committing to one player on a team.
When you and your family are more than fly by night fans of a professional sports team, purchasing a jersey to show your support is a daunting task. When your team also happens to be the Toronto Blue Jays, its been even more difficult these past three seasons.
Think about all the changes just this past year, from opening day rosters to the lineup at the end of the season.
Buying a jersey has become a test of faith and patience, and is more akin to astute investing. It can say a lot about you or the person you are buying for. It can also speak to the state of the roster of the team you are representing.
There are three schools of thought to deciding what name and number to put on a Jersey:
1. You can choose your favourite player and their number.
2. You can have a custom Jersey made with your name or nickname, and your number.
3. You can purchase a blank team jersey.
I’m going to quickly eliminate option three. It’s really no fun to wear a blank jersey and it doesn’t say much about your character or loyalty to the team. A jersey with a name and number is a commitment and it’s generally celebrated and admired by most.
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The second option is usually a safe play. You profess your love and support for the team without committing to any one player. Unfortunately, it may come to pass that someone will approach you and ask “Who is Merianos #25? I thought that was Macro Estrada’s number?”
I’m speaking from experience when I give that example. My son wears our last name with his number (25). I wear a jersey with “Coach” on the back. My number (12) also happens to be the only Hall of Fame player (and retired number) in the Blue Jays 40 year history. That alone has brought stares of disgust and blasphemy from those sitting in our section at a Jays game.
So then does that automatically qualify the first option as the best one? Here are some challenges you may not have considered:
1. If we agree that the goal is to find a jersey that can stand the test of time (and multiple washings), not every player you choose to invest in is a sure bet to legendary status. Trades happen when you least expect them. I’ve purchased three custom women’s t-shirts for my wife since we rediscover our passion for baseball. Each of them (Daniel Norris, Brett Cecil, and now John Gibbons) have all since departed. As baseball people can get a bit superstitious, it’s starting to feel that these t-shirts may be responsible for the departures.
2. Players (especially younger ones) get into all kinds of trouble (domestic violence, PEDs, DUIs) so you really are taking a chance on their character that they conduct themselves both on and off the field with dignity and better judgement. We attended this past season’s last home game to send off John Gibbons with an appreciation we thought he deserved. I was honestly surprised to see Jerseys worn with pride, with names like Chris Collabello, Jose Reyes, and Roberto Osuna, just to name a few. My first reaction was similar to how I would react if I saw a three legged dog or a cat with one eye. “Awww…..that’s so sad….”.
With that in mind, what to do with a “Black listed Jersey”? Burn the jersey on video and post on Instagram? Apply a well positioned X with tape over the name to express your disgust of the player? Or do you overlay the name, with the name of player that now wears that number? I will let you choose your favourite method. Each has its merits and it’s pitfalls but let’s make sure we understand that an authentic game jersey runs somewhere in the $200 range, so getting extended usage out of it is important.
With that, if you decide to purchase a jersey as a Xmas present, remember these things and consider all the ramifications to your decision.
My recommendation, take a page from the recent “players weekend” celebrations. Choose a jersey and have a nickname and personal number customized on it. It speaks to team loyalty and your personal character without the risk of people ridiculing you and/or feeling sorry for you.
One additional side note; Gibby was kind enough to sign my wife’s custom T-shirt at Jays Winterfest last Feb when she was recovering from emergency surgery. She then approached him in Dunedin at Spring Training to thank him and he was the first one to laugh out loud at the fact he actually had a fan. He got some heckles from his players and coaches as well.
Where baseball has an above average share of over-confident and narcissistic alpha males, we’ve already agreed; Gibby is a keeper.
Wishing you well skip…..
Tino Merianos (aka Coach T).