As a Toronto Blue Jay fan, the American League Division Series against the hated Texas Rangers was complete satisfaction. Extremely proud of how they played and behaved by not only displaying their superior skill, but their emotional maturity. We all remember how last year the Blue Jays overcame an 0-2 start to win the series and embarrass the Rangers in that “bat-flippin” way. We saw the cowards wait until Jose Bautista’s last at bat this season, to throw at him. Of course we all felt the punch (and admittingly, it was a nice one) that Rougned Odor landed squarely on Jose’s jaw. But it wasn’t the punch that ruffled our feathers it was how proud Odor and the Rangers universe was of it. Odor was offered sponsorship contracts, free meals etc. because he got retribution for the state of Texas. Definitely bad blood between the teams and as the Rangers watched the Blue Jays beat Baltimore, they prepared themselves for a fight.
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 10, 2016
The Blue Jays on the other hand, prepared to win and they did so in glorious fashion. A 10-1 demoralizing, crushing victory in Game 1; hitting 4 home runs in a 5-3 victory in Game 2 and they finished it off with a walk-off run in extra innings. The fact that it came on an Odor error was not only poetic justice but the icing on the cake. The Rangers did improve from game to game, but it was the Blue Jays mental toughness that overcame everything the Rangers threw at them. In fact, whenever the Rangers scored, the Blue Jays were able to score their next time up the majority of the time. That’s a huge confidence boost and momentum builder and it showed throughout the series. This mental strength allowed the team to sweep a series for the first time in history and yes, it feels even better because it came against their heated rivals, the Texas Rangers. The players and fans have a few days to celebrate, a few days to rest and more importantly, a few days to prepare for their next opponents, the Cleveland Indians. You see this city may have gotten satisfaction from that sweep, but players and fans alike aren’t satisfied, we all want more.
For the first time since 1969, the same two cities that fought to get into the NBA championship are now fighting to see which team goes to the World Series. In what will be dubbed the Shapiro Series or Shapiro 1.0 vs Shapiro 2.0 should be just as exciting, if not more so, than the Texas series if this season’s games are any reflection. The Blue Jays lost the 7 game series 4-3, well technically that’s how MLB and the historians will remember it, but I saw it differently. I saw the series as a 3-3 draw, with that one game back on Canada Day not counting as the umpires were horrible. They ejected Encarnacion in the first and Martin in the 14th inning, before the Jays lost that memorable game in 19. You remember it now, right? Goins and Barney had to come in and pitch because Gibby had no one else to turn too. It was one of many fantastic games between the two teams this year. Four of the seven games were decided by one run, one of those on a ninth-inning inside the park home run. There was only one game that wasn’t close and that was a 19-1 blowout in favour of the Jays.
This should be a special series and one that can and will get emotionally charged both on the field and off. I remember a time when Toronto fans were considered timid and politely clapped when their team did well. Times have changed and this city and its fan base have cranked the volume to 11 and have put back the “fanatic” into fan. The singing at TFC matches, 50,000 strong at the Rogers Centre and of course, Jurassic Park. Unfortunately, there will always be a few bad apples that interfere and/or throw things on to the field. Time for a @PapaDart rant – People, come on, if someone in your section does something that stupid, it is YOUR responsibility to point them out to security so they get properly charged and we stop idiots from embarrassing our teams, our city and our country again – end of rant. But as I mentioned before, it is this fan base’s ability to travel that has made the US take notice and Cleveland is one of our favourite destinations. So let’s cheer on our Blue Jays. Let Toronto Loud give our team every bit of help that we can. I know, I know, I personally was not excited about this team until the last few series of the season so why does it appear like I’m jumping on the bandwagon now. The answer is simple, I have been excited not by the fact that they are winning (which is still just as cool) but how they have approached each game and each series. Good baseball excites me. Calculated risks like Donaldson’s winning dash, excites me. Gibby having out managed both Showalter and now Bannister, excites me. Seeing a Toronto team on a deep playoff run excites me because this country, this city and this fan base deserves to be recognized as Champions once again.
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