Date
22 October 2017
Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (center) celebrates with teammates on the field after clinching the A.L East division at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, on Sept. 30. Photo: Reuters
Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (center) celebrates with teammates on the field after clinching the A.L East division at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, on Sept. 30. Photo: Reuters

My Blue Jays will fly high and win this season

If you love your team, you wouldn’t mind foregoing some sleep for them.

Being a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, I couldn’t help myself from getting up in the wee hours many days last month to watch the Major League Baseball games on cable television.

Just like any Torontonian, I am very excited about the team getting back to the post-season.

It has been a 23-year drought since the team last made it to the post-season and then went on to win two back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993.

I still remember the scenes in 1993, when the whole of Toronto erupted in wild celebrations over the success of their team. I particularly recall the midnight horn that woke me up at home — I was living in Toronto at that time — on the winning night.

Now the only non-US team competing in America’s favorite sport, I believe Blue Jays stand the chance of winning the title again this year after securing a spot in the playoffs.

This is the conclusion I drew after watching a series of games in the past two weeks where the Blue Jays were either winning by a big margin (I usually get back to bed if I they are leading by more than five in scores) or were especially competitive in late innings.

It does not mean they won every match in the end. But can we really have any complaints about the team, who won the nickname “Blow Jays”, as they won seven of their last 10 games and were on way to clinch the American League East title?

On top of its pitching, which was ranked top of the league after the post season, Blue Jays’ offense was what the fans are really cheering.

Compared to the team of 93, when it had the American League’s top three hitters (John Olerud, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar) in the lineup, the team of 2015 had Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion as three of the top four RBI scorers in the league.

Other than Donaldson, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate who the Blue Jays stole from Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane, both Bautista and Encarnacion are flirting with 40 homers this year.

And guess what? The player of the week last month was not Donaldson, Bautista or Encarnacion. The honor actually went to centre fielder Kevin Pillar who hit 0.524 with two home runs over six games.

With the team on fire, hopes are high that they can create a miracle comeback this year after a long absence. It is likely that this post season with Blue Jays would be even more exciting than the 1993 when the Jays came back with a 15-14 win over the Phillies in the record scoring World Series game

One distant advantage they have over the star-studded 93 line-up is age. The team is much younger, with the top hitters still in their early 30s. Fans favorite closer Roberto Osuna is only 20, while one of the five winning pitchers Drew Hutchison is just 26.

Maple leaves are yet to fall this autumn, but I am already missing Toronto.

I feel guilty for not having a Blue Jays T-shirt in the closet but I know it’s on the way – just in time for Hong Kong fans like me to cheer for the team as it seeks fresh glory.

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BK/JP/RC

EJ Insight writer

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