For the first time in nearly two years or 670 days, the Toronto Blue Jays will return home to Toronto to continue their season, and it is such a romantic feeling.
September 29, 2019, was the last game the Blue Jays played in Toronto at the Rogers Centre. Due to COVID-19, health restrictions along with inter-border travel between Canada and the United States being compromised, the team was forced to remain in the States. They called two different ballparks home; TD Ballpark, the Blue Jays spring training facility in Dunedin, and Sahlen Field, the home of Blue Jays AAA affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, in Buffalo, New York.
As a baseball fan and Jays employee; someone that called Rogers Centre “the office” for seven years, it is extremely exciting to know that there will be baseball played at 1 Blue Jays Way.
What were Blue Jays fans missing in these 2 years?
That evening you button up the jersey of your favourite player, grab your glove and your Blue Jays hat and head out to the city. The subway or GO train ride down to Union Station, or the drive onto the Gardiner Expressway with a crisp view of the mighty Toronto skyline. The walk up Bremner Avenue or Front Street, with the succulent scent of fresh sizzling hot dogs, the ignorance of Toronto traffic, and honking car horns. Your presence joins a sea of blue where the apparel we wear unites us all as one. The traffic of team support leaks from gates 5,6,10 and 11.
The satisfying sound of the Blue Jays drummer and the loud obnoxious voice of the program guy. The beautiful music of the ticket taker’s scanner and the process of the pre-entry security checks. That magical entry into the ballpark with the smell of fresh-baked bread, popcorn, and cold ready-to-go beer. That powering walks up to the 200s or 500s, or the long strides downward into the 100-level seating. The sound of the crack of fresh lumber, sending pearls into the stands, gifting memories to many patrons who become long-term fans for the first time ever. The soothing voice of Tim Langton over the PA system, along with the familiar tune of the national anthems. The first pitch that made the glove echo throughout the park; the game is underway.
Did that raise your heart rate? It did for me. Man, do I crave this feeling!
Why is this important for the Blue Jays?
The feelings the fans get are the same vibes the team absorbs. The energy from 35,000 plus people (granted, that number will be reduced this year) acts as fuel for the boys of summer; it gets your blood going. It gives you that extra push to raise levels and crush every aspect of your game.
The Blue Jays carry a roster of players who may have never played in the team’s home city. The roster is built to compete in September and October; playing at the Rogers Centre is key for playoff success. Toronto has become a tough place in sports for visiting teams to attend and play in. We’ve grown to a rough-neck harsh crowd, which is intimidating to visitors.
Baseball being back in the Six is just plainly romantic in all senses. See you all down at 1 Blue Jays Way soon!