Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt is a man known for his social media bangers, and last night, he dropped another beauty.
For Blue Jays fans of a certain vintage, Bassitt’s comments immediately brought to mind one of the most legendary catchphrases in franchise history …
Back in the early-90s, the Jays had begun to develop a bit of a reputation as nearly men. They had been good for the better part of a decade, but had failed in the playoffs in 1985, ‘89, and ‘91, not to mention missing out on the postseason altogether in 1987 despite 96 wins, after getting swept and passed by the Tigers on the final weekend of the season.
In an effort to finally get over the hump, the front office made two significant additions heading into the 1992 season – Jack Morris, who had put up ten shutout innings to win Game 7 of the World Series the year prior, and a 40-year-old colossus with nearly 1,700 career RBI named Dave Winfield.
While Morris was good, putting up 21 wins despite a 4.04 ERA, it was Winfield who made all the difference, in more ways than one.
First, with the Jays closing in on another division title at the start of September, Winfield unapologetically called out the fans, who had perhaps become apathetic from regular season success and postseason failure, imploring them to “make some noise” and give the team a true home field advantage.
The next day, when Winfield stepped to the dish for his first plate appearance, a man appeared on the jumbotron holding a sign with three simple words on it, and instantly the ovation from the crowd became so rapturous that Winfield was forced to step out of the box and compose himself.
And thus, a legendary catchphrase was born – “Winfield Wants Noise.”
Up to that point, Blue Jays fans had been known across baseball as some of the most docile and polite in the league – Canadians, eh? But from that moment, the script forever flipped, and Jays fans instantly became among the game’s rowdiest and most intimidating, almost as though they had suddenly become hockey fans at a baseball game.
(Younger Jays fans who weren’t part of the carnival in ’92 and ’93 may remember the near riotous atmosphere inside the Rogers Centre during the 2015-16 run.)
Today, Chris Bassitt is calling upon this history.
Sure, the Jays have underperformed on expectations this season, but you can throw all that out the window now – six games left, a playoff spot in hand, and once you get to the dance, well, anything can happen.
It’s time to “blow the damn roof off.”
Oh, and by the way, a little more than a month after Dave Winfield called for noise, he delivered the championship winning hit in Game 6 of the World Series.
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