Blue Jays’ Best Trade Deadline Acquisition Might Be The Rogers Centre
By Dave Litman
General manager Ross Atkins and president Mark Shapiro made a lot of moves leading up to the July 30th trade deadline, in order to shore up the Blue Jays’ lineup for the stretch run.
But perhaps the biggest acquisition to improve the team’s chances came in the backrooms of Parliament, and wherever else Shapiro had to go to urge the Canadian government to give the team back its home, the Rogers Centre. The ability to live at home, and play at home, in front of real home fans, could be the difference-maker for the Jays in their playoff push.
Make no mistake, pretty much all of the player acquisitions have been good ones. Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, Joakim Soria, Brad Hand (well, the jury’s still out on that one), and of course, Jose Berrios.
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But none of those pitchers can inspire the team to greatness nine full innings a night. None of them can provide the comfort of family, and, simply, the feeling of being home, like the return to the Rogers Centre and (for now) 15,000 rabid fans can.
Here’s what the Blue Jays don’t have to put up with anymore:
- Uncertainty of where they’re going to play
- Getting booed by pseudo “home” fans
- Hotel rooms and feeling like they’re on the road while at “home”
Home Sweet Dome — The Blue Jays Finally Have Home Field Advantage Again. And this could be their biggest trade deadline acquisition of all.
George Springer spoke about how long the team has been affected from playing home games away-from-home:
“This is home. For us to have a chance to come back here and play in front of the fans… The atmosphere has been unbelievable here…. It’s exciting. I’m glad to be here.”
All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette, who said he was nearly brought to tears by being back at the Rogers Centre, spoke about how eliminating all of that uncertainty has provided such a boost for the team:
"“It’s hard to explain the feeling. We’ve just kind of been trying to pretend like we had a home. And it’s difficult to do for two years. So, when we finally come back here, it feels like definitely a big weight off our shoulders.”"
Great pitching performances, clutch hits, big home runs… They’re all just pieces of the puzzle but hometown fans, and the familiarity of being at home, completes everything.
Heading into Thursday night, the Jays were 5-1 in the friendly confines of the dome, and have at least increased their playoff odds from 25% B.R.C. (Before Rogers Centre) to 38% A.R.C.
To be sure, a much tougher opponent and a much more critical series awaits this weekend, when the Boston Red Sox come to town for a huge 4-gamer. The Jays currently trail Boston for the 1st Wild Card spot by 5.5 games, and the Oakland A’s in the second spot by 3 games.
The Blue Jays will be leaning on their newest 15,000 teammates at Rogers Centre to help them through this big series. Home Sweet Dome.