It didn’t take very long to answer my sister when she asked what I wanted as a souvenir from her trip to Toronto three years ago.
Almost instinctively, I responded “get me a Blue Jays hat.”
She wasn’t particularly surprised, considering I had about five other MLB hats at the time. And one year earlier, the Blue Jays had finally ended their silly uniform roulette – which amounted to four different primary logos in ten years – by going back to the basics and employing an excellent version of their original threads and hats.
Flash forward to August of 2015, and the Toronto Blue Jays are quite easily the hottest item in major league baseball. After acquiring Troy Tulowitzki and David Price at the MLB trade deadline, the blue birds are now 16-3 since July 29th — vaulting them into a snug race with the New York Yankees for the AL East crown.
If you're a Toronto fan, the Jays have made you laugh out loud a lot in the last few weeks
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) August 19, 2015
So while I’ve worn that Blue Jays hat pretty consistently since 2012, it’s a bit more fun to wear it these days.
Which makes sense, because everything about MLB’s lone team north of the border is fun.
Ironically, the other hottest team in baseball is the one I’m a legitimate fan of – the young, must-see TV Cubs.
But I’ve always said it’s cool to have an “AL team” if you’re a Cubs fan; because 1) this is America, and 2) we’ve gotten plenty used to rooting for other teams in October anyway.
Shit, besides the White Sox for six games a year and the New York Yankees all the time – it’s hard for me not to like every team in the American League.
Most of them have sweet uniforms (hats), the DH is sexy, and they rarely affect life in the NL Central.
This year, I’m all in on the Toronto Blue Jays as my “AL team.” Ergo, the team not named Cubs that I want to win the World Series most.
And unless you’re a diehard Royals, Astros, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Rangers or Rays fan – you should feel the same way. Why?
A lot of reasons.
Home runs are cool. The Blue Jays hit a lot of home runs. Therefore, by the associative property, the Blue Jays are cool.
In all seriousness, had second baseman Devon Travis not missed more than 50 games to injury this season, Toronto would’ve made a serious run at seven 20 home-run hitters – something that’s been done only four times since 1996. And even without Travis, the Jays currently sit right behind Houston for the team homer lead.
Long balls aside, the Blue Jays already lead the league in runs and RBI by 63 each. They’ve hit more doubles than anybody else and own the best team slugging percentage.
Toronto clearly has the best offense in baseball, and offense makes baseball fun. The longer Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Co. play in October, the better entertainment it is for all of us.
If you’re a White Sox fan, you shouldn’t need much convincing to hop on the Blue Jays bandwagon down the stretch. The 36-year-old Buehrle has by far his best opportunity to get a second World Series ring since leaving Chicago in 2011.
And another championship would make Buehrle’s already compelling Hall of Fame candidacy really interesting. He was never truly dominant for an extended period of time; but with 212 wins (and counting), five All-Star games, four Gold Gloves, a no-hitter, a perfect game and a World Series title, Mark Buehrle has done everything as a major league pitcher.
Judging by the excellent 2015 season Buehrle is having, (13-5, 3.31) his 212 wins could reach 250 in a few years. Combine that with a second ring, and it’d be tough for Cooperstown to turn down that resume.
There aren’t many better examples of a “quiet superstar” than Tulowitzki, who is back in a playoff race after getting traded from the miserable Rockies.
‘Tulo’ hasn’t been to the postseason since 2009; and as he showed in an interview after his Blue Jays debut, winning is all that really matters to him.
That’s as humble as it gets for one of baseball’s few two-way stars. Playing gold glove defense at shortstop and doing things like this at the plate, Troy Tulowitzki’s daily impact is as great as anybody in the game.
He’s an elite talent, and he belongs on the big stage.
Party Like It’s 1993
Yep, that’s the last time the Toronto Blue Jays played postseason baseball. That’s also the last time they won a World Series, their second in a row after taking home the ’92 title.
In the 22 seasons since Joe Carter’s magical walk-off in 1993, the Blue Jays have been over .500 nine times but have failed to get back to 90 wins even once. Every other AL East team has won the division at least twice during that span.
So yeah, you could say they’re due.