Now that Canada’s only baseball team is finally in the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, people are have really #ComeTogether. Like, in a really huge way. We’re talking sold-out-Dome, bars-crammed-to-the-brim, memorabilia-everywhere kind of huge. And it’s pretty much inescapable.
Whether you’re a newish fan or one of those “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” types, we’ve got you covered so it looks as though you’ve been following this team your whole life.
1. It all started with one little trade
Troy Tulowitzki (just say Tulo and you’re good), a.k.a. our new shortstop, was a game-changer when he joined the team in late July. Fans were super worried when he collided with centerfielder Kevin Pillar a few weeks back and had to miss three weeks, but he’s back now.
2. We put a Price on the team
We’re talking about David Price, of course. We lost Daniel Norris (a.k.a. the really cute pitcher who lived out of his van and sported an awesome beard) in the trade, but Price was worth it. He’s one of the most sought-after pitchers in the league, and he’s ours — all ours.
Cheat: “Thank goodness the Jays started spending some money on players.” This works if you’re around people who believe we just bought our way into the playoffs. There are many, many people who feel this way and are 100 per cent good with it.
3. Pillar is our very own pillar
Kevin Pillar (pronounced pih-lahr) is unstoppable in centre field. He started the season in left field, but when rookie Dalton Pompey was sent back down to shake out some nerves, he won the spot fair and square. Amazing, diving catches are kind of his thing.
4. This guy is the class clown
Munenori Kawasaki is the first Japanese player the Jays have had. He’s been around for a couple of years now, but isn’t their strongest player. A middle infielder (second, short) and a batter who chops at the ball when he bats (meaning he has shorter, infield hits), Kawasaki is largely used as a pinch runner right now. That, and as instant stress relief for the team thanks to his constant antics.
5. This is the Bringer of Rain
A.k.a. Josh Donaldson. We call him this because that’s what the moniker he gave himself on his Twitter account, @BringerOfRain20. Earlier in the season, we kind of made fun of him for it, but he’s proven himself as an incredible third baseman and batter all season long. So now, it has kind of stuck. Of all the Jays, his is one of the hottest-selling jerseys at merchandising stores.
6. He is also responsible for the man bun
At least in Toronto. Ever since he started sporting it, we’ve noticed it popping up everywhere.
7. Stroman is back
Pitcher Marcus Stroman wasn’t expected to return from an injury this season but he wound up coming back right before we clenched a playoff spot. He’s a fan favourite who gets the job on the mound done. He’s also known for making pretty big bubbles with his gum.
8. This guy befuddles the announcers
If Buck Martinez is announcing the game (and odds are he is), he will probably fumble Ryan Goins name. For the record, it’s go-ins.
Cheat: “Heh, Buck.” Or some form of this. Only if you hear him say “Goins.”
9. Grumpy Gus is our fearless leader
John Gibbons rarely, rarely smiles. But as the Jays’ manager we can forgive him this, since he has some pretty big decisions on his shoulders. Also, the last manager to take the Jays to the playoffs, Cito Gaston, was kind of beloved. So the pressure is on.
10. Bautista doesn’t run much
Jose Bautista is used to being the best player on the team. Unfortunately, while he’s always gotten by in right field, his strength rests in his bat. (Hence his Twitter handle, @JoeyBats19.) The problem with that this year is that other teams have caught on. Now, they rarely throw him anything in the strike zone, which means Bautista walks more than any other Jay.
11. This is the ultimate victory lap
If Edwin Encarnacion hits a home run, he’s going to break out the bluebird run. Every. Single. Time. Some people may feel it’s obnoxious, but we feel it’s his trademark. And yes, he could actually balance a parrot or other form of bird on that arm.
Cheat: “C’mon, I’m in the mood for a chicken wing!” Best said at the bar, while Encarnacion is up to bat. Clearly, this means you want to see a home run, and you want his chicken-wing run to follow.
12. We’ve taken on a US monument
There have been plenty of fan-made nicknames these past few weeks, but this one remains one of our favourites. (That’s a combo of Tulo, Bautista, Encarnacion and Donaldson.)
13. The bandwagon is a thing
When you stick with a team as long as some fans have stuck with the Jays, you get accustomed to having your pick of the house when it comes to cheap seats. Around early August, however, that changed, when every single game was sold out. And getting playoff tickets? Forget it. Now, diehard fans—especially those in Toronto—are upset they can’t enjoy a game whenever they’d like.
Cheat: “Wonder how many fans there today are actually watching the game.” Say this when you need to get on a grumpy fan’s good side. Especially if he or she is lamenting having to watch the game on TV, again.
14. It’s about time
The one thing old and new fans alike can agree on is that this is an exciting time to be a Jays fan. And really, isn’t that the meaning of #ComeTogether—an entire country celebrating the boys in blue? Whether we win (fingers crossed) or just have an exciting playoff run remains to be seen. But at the end of the day, baseball is back.
Cheat: “Who wants to play slow pitch next summer?” #GoJaysGo
WATCH: Hands down, the catchiest song about the Blue Jays you will ever hear