Road to the World Series

Blue Jays' success gives life to a Canadian fan base that’s been a long time coming 

The Toronto Blue Jays clinch the 2015 American League East division.
Credit: 
Keith Allison

October is here, and to many Toronto Blue Jays fans, this month once signified the end of baseball season for their Blue Jays. However, this season has been one in our favour. 

For the first time since 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays, widely seen as Canada’s team, have qualified for the Major League Baseball playoffs. The 2015 Blue Jays finished first in their division, largely due to a strong second half of the season that pushed them past the New York Yankees.

This season has seen a buzz around the thrilling play of the long mediocre team. 

Anson Kwok, Comm ’16, who’s lived and worked in Toronto for the past two summers, says he  noticed a large difference between the two seasons. 

“People used to go to Jays games for corporate events or to catch up with friends. [This year] people started going to watch the Jays win.”

Kwok credits much of the rise in popularity to the team’s success.

“Whenever a Toronto team has success, the whole city gets behind it. The Jays have made big moves and the city appreciates that,” he said.

Toronto’s roster was bolstered in the offseason with the addition of fan favourites Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, in addition to important roster pieces such as Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello. 

Throughout the season Toronto continued to add strong players to their roster, picking up David Price, Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere, all through trades. These trades signified a push by Toronto to make the post-season for the first time since 1993. 

In addition to their successes on the field, the Blue Jays have seen great success with ticket sales this season. Fan supports has increased dramatically, as Torontonians and nearby towns are excited to see a quality team on the field. 

The Blue Jays average home attendance this regular season was 34,504, a strong improvement from the average of 29,327 the previous season. For an even sharper contrast, attendance in 2010 was a mere 20,068.

Blue Jays marketing in recent years has focused on promoting them as more than just Toronto’s baseball team, but as Canada’s baseball team. The Blue Jays rebranded in 2012, switching their logo to a recreation of their past logo featuring both a blue jay and a maple leaf. 

The departure of the Montreal Expos after the 2004 season left Toronto as the only Major League Baseball franchise in Canada. More than ever before, the Blue Jays are embracing their role as Canada’s team. 

Canadian fans can also rally around local players. Russell Martin, who was born in Toronto and raised in Montreal, has quickly gathered a fan base. 

Up-and-coming Dalton Pompey is from Mississauga, and looks to have a bright future with the team. 

It’s an exciting time to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan, and their success is giving life to a fan base that’s been waiting for a long time. 

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