It feels ex­actly like ‘93

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/ pho­tog­ra­pher with the Com­pass. He strug­gled through many a los­ing sea­son since 1993 and looks for­ward to a pos­si­ble re­turn to the play­offs this sea­son. He can be reached at nmercer@cbn­com­ Ni­cholas Mercer

1993 is more than a num­ber in these parts.

For Toronto Blue Jays fans, it means a sec­ond straight World Se­ries ti­tle, a Joe Carter walk-off home­run and Tom Cheeks’ un-for­get­tab­ley belt­ing out “Touch ‘em all Joe, you’ll never hit a big­ger home­run in your life” when Carter’s line drive cleared the left field fence at the SkyDome. For here on out, the Roger’s Cen­tre will be known as the SkyDome un­til the Jays stop win­ning.

So when you men­tion the year 1993 to a Blue Jays fan, they get a lit­tle giddy in­side. Which brings me to the ques­tion.

Is it just me or does it feel like 1993 again?

I mean Blue Jays are pack­ing the SkyDome ev­ery night, the team is mashing the base­ball and they’re sit­ting pretty on top of the Amer­i­can League East this late in the sea­son for the first time since the World Se­ries years.

A cou­ple of key trades for David Price, Troy Tu­low­itzki and Ben Re­vere amongst other moves, has re-ig­nited a pas­sion for the team that hasn’t been seen since the cham­pi­onship years. There were flashes over the last cou­ple of decades.

Peo­ple got fired up when Roger Cle­mens signed here in 1997, but it wasn’t sus­tain­able. The team fin­ished 76-86 and fin­ished fifth in the East.

Same can be said a cou­ple of win­ters ago when Alex An­thopou­los made moves to ac­quire Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey and oth­ers. That team, too, flamed out spec­tac­u­larly en route to a los­ing sea­son.

By all in­di­ca­tions, that won’t hap­pen with this group. There are too many no-non­sense lead­ers for the team to be­come com­pla­cent.

Let’s face it. There hasn’t been a Blue Jays team this great since those famed cham­pi­onship years.

Those 1992-1993 years are some­thing of lore amongst us Blue Jays fans. They rep­re­sent a time when this coun­try thought of some­thing other than hockey in the sum­mer months.

It made Toronto sports fans for­get about the Leafs for six months a year and made us cheer for an ac­tual win­ner.

The likes of Roberto Alo­mar, Kelly Gru­ber, Ed Sprague and Devon White be­came heros to the mil­lions of young­sters pick­ing up base­ball gloves for the first time.

I was in Toronto in 1993 and I’ve been to Toronto as the Jays caught fire. The energy in the Dome was the same. You can com­pare both years.

Fans cheered ev­ery lit­tle part of the game. If an op­po­nent made a mis­take, they let them hear about it.

That’s what win­ning does to a fan­base. That’s not to say that this year’s team is go­ing to cap their sea­son with a pa­rade down Yonge Street.

There is too much that can hap­pen in base­ball for fans to start mark­ing the team down for a cham­pi­onship.

How­ever, get­ting swept up in the hoopla is al­lowed. Whether you gave up on the team years ago or are just now hop­ping on the band­wagon, en­joy the ride. Base­ball works best in this coun­try when the Jays are rolling.

The Blue Jays; They’re not just a made up an­swer to a Dante’s Inferno trivia ques­tion at the Univer­sity of King’s Col­lege cam­pus bar any­more.

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