Full disclosure: I’m the type of Blue Jay fan who happily goes to the games, regardless of where they are in the standings. Best team in the division? Worst team in the entire league? Doesn’t matter to me. I’m dropping the same amount of cash for tickets and accept whatever pleasure or torture comes out of it.
Of course I want them to win! Of course I’m upset when they perform poorly. Hell, 2019 is likely going to be Plan 9 From Outer Space. But there are far worse things in this climate to experience.
That’s why I currently have no interest in joining the anti-Mark Shapiro movement. He has a plan: Scorch the Earth and slow-build a winning team that’s more sustainable. I want to see how it turns out before I put on a “Make the Blue Jays great again” hat and scream on Twitter.
Not everyone is as patient as I am. In fact, some have expressed a lack of desire to purchase tickets this season.
I’m fine with that. I’ve watched low-attended ball games, while others chased shinier things.
It’s your money and you can do whatever you want with it. Don’t want to waste your cash on a last-place team? That’s cool. I don’t entirely agree with it, but I won’t discourage you from that choice
I do have one suggestion: Take the money earmarked for the Blue Jays and use it for other baseball activities.
Make 2019 a season to visit the Jays’ minor league affiliates instead. Plan trips to Buffalo, Lansing or Vancouver. Tickets are cheaper, the stadiums are smaller, intimate settings and you might see a player who’ll become a big league all-star. Just think of the bragging rights: “I saw so-and-so before he was famous.”
Maybe you want nothing to do with the Jays or MLB. In that case, why not drive east on Highway 401 towards Eastern Ontario and Quebec? There you’ll find the area’s local independent pro teams. Specifically, the Ottawa Champions, Quebec Capitales and Trois-Rivières Aigles of the Can-Am League. Minor league baseball is not as glamorous as the majors, especially when said league is an unaffiliated, independent organization. But there’s an allure to that.
You want baseball in its purest form and witness – forgive the cliche – the “love of the game?” You might find it there. You might even say it’s romantic.
Don’t forget about the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association league or any of the teams from the collegiate Western Canadian Baseball League either.
Maybe you want to stay local. How about the long-standing Intercounty Baseball League? There’s plenty of teams to choose from in Southern and Southwestern Ontario, including the Toronto Maple Leafs whose games at Christie Pits Park are always free. The IBL also has a new team playing in Welland this upcoming season.
With a rebuilding Blue Jay franchise and what appears to be a very grotesque CBA negotiation on the horizon, it’s understandable why some baseball fans are dreading the 2019 season. But it doesn’t have to be that way! This is a chance to re-discover certain aspects of the sport that have been lost in a world of analytics and hot takes.
No one is going to force you to gulp back an ugly year; so take advantage of the opportunity.
You don’t have to be miserable.