It’s not very often that I make my work here at Jays Journal about me, but with this being my 2500th article here at Jays Journal I wanted to do something a little different to celebrate the milestone.
I could take you through a bunch of the biggest moments for the Blue Jays during my time here, but instead I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years, both as a writer, and as part of the Blue Jays community.
I wrote my first article for Jays Journal in January of 2016, and back then I was working under Keegan Matheson, who now works with MLB.com and is one of the most respected baseball journalists in Canada. I learned a lot from Keegan while he was writing and editing for Jays Journal, and I owe a lot of what I know about journalism to him. That also leads me to my first point here:
1- There are a lot of great people in the Blue Jays community
Keegan’s not the only friend I’ve made because I write about the Blue Jays on a near daily basis. I had the pleasure of working with Clayton Richer as a co-editor here for nearly five years, and he’s still a close friend. I’ve since transitioned to working with Tyson Shushkewich in the same role, who is one of the hardest working young writers around, and just a great dude. They’re all fantastic people and I’ve been lucky to cross paths with each of them, and that’s not even mentioning the dozens of writers that we’ve worked with over the years as well, many of whom have become personal friends.
But it doesn’t stop there. When I started this whole thing I never would have dreamed of some of the relationships it would lead me to, and how many great people connect because of a mutual passion for baseball, and of course our beloved Blue Jays. From all the great folks at podcasts like Bat Flips and Maple Dips, Jay Bird Watching, The Walkoff Podcast, and more, to the Twitter friends I’ve made like Ari Shapiro, and Lesley Nope, and so many more that I’d rather not go on for fear of missing someone. For every troll on the internet, there are a ton of amazing folks out there, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you all, even in a digital world.
2- It’s an incredibly small world
I like to keep pretty realistic expectations for myself and my work here, but I’ve had my mind blown many times. The world is an incredibly small place, especially on the internet, and that’s been proven to me over and over again. Whether it was talking to Alek Manoah about his future goals before he’d ever reached AA, and then watching him do exactly what he said he would, or getting the chance to speak to past baseball heroes of mine, big and small.
I could write a book about all of the amazing experiences I’ve had since I started writing here, but the one memory that stands out above them all is the time I wrote about Jerry Howarth, and then received an email from him the next day. As a 38 year old man, Howarth was literally one of the most significant voices of my childhood, and not only did he read my article, but he took the time to track me down and send me a personal thank you. It came at a time in my life when I really needed the boost, and I still grin ear to ear every time I look at the print out that’s framed on the wall in my office.
3- It’s just a game, and it’s also more than just a game
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from doing this for nearly seven years now, it’s that Blue Jays fans are beyond passionate, especially when there’s a competitive team in Toronto.
There are times when I shake my head at the irrational things I read on social media, or the angry comments that are directed at yours truly, or worse, at some of our young staff. I have to remind myself that an angry fan generally isn’t upset with me because of something I said, but rather they need somewhere to direct their frustration from the game the night before. I’ve slowly but surely learned that it’s just part of the gig if you want to write about sports, and sometimes I mutter under my breath, “it’s just a game, people”.
However, the last two years have reinforced something that I’ve always known about baseball, which is that it’s more than just a game. Baseball helped keep me sane during the pandemic, even if the games were played without fans in the stands, and the Rogers Centre in Toronto was empty for nearly two years. It was one of the biggest things that my father and I bonded over when I was a child, and it’s still the sport that brings my closest friends and I together every summer when we meet on the diamond for ball season. It’s brought me media opportunities I never would have dreamed of, and friends I’ll cherish for life.
I have no idea how much longer I’ll continue working here at Jays Journal and/or writing about baseball in general, but 2500 articles later, I’m sure thankful for all of the memories and all of the wonderful people I’ve crossed paths with. Sincerely, thank you for reading.