Learn­ing to love the Blue Jays again

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a reporter/ pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

Base­ball is more than what you see on the ex­te­rior.

It is more than cowhide and maple bats. It is more than nine guys oc­cu­py­ing nine dif­fer­ent spots on a field and try­ing to beat the other team.

It’s more than balls and strikes; home runs and sin­gles.

Base­ball is magic. It bends you to its will and con­trols your ev­ery move. A toss be­tween fa­ther and son, fly balls in the sum­mer sky and “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” They’re all pieces to the spell. There are gods that on days when it suits them, de­cide who wins and who loses.

Base­ball has the abil­ity to en­snare a per­son and make them care again. It gen­er­ates emo­tion with even the tini­est play. You feel awe, ex­cite­ment, em­pa­thy and anger when you con­nect with the game.

Base­ball is both cruel and kind. It gives and it takes.

Most of all, it draws peo­ple to­gether. It in­spires you to care again.

For the past cou­ple of months, base­ball got this coun­try to care again. More im­por­tantly, it got you to care about the Blue Jays for real for the first time in a cou­ple of decades.

Whether you were a long­time fan or some­one who comes on board when the team starts to play well, it didn’t mat­ter. The Blue Jays didn’t care if your favourite Blue Jay be­came David Price be­cause he was some high pro­file pitcher the team picked up at the trade dead­line.

It could’ve been Muni for all they cared. They just wanted you to care.

It wasn’t an easy re­la­tion­ship to get back into. You had to ease your way into it. For all the fun you were hav­ing, there was al­ways the threat of the other shoe fall­ing.

When was it go­ing to go back to the hard times? It had to go back to a time when the Jays couldn’t find a per­ma­nent sec­ond base­man (Russ Adams any­one?), right?

It didn’t though. With each crack of the bat, the re­la­tion­ship deep­ened. Even­tu­ally, we had it bad. Wasn’t it glo­ri­ous?

We hung our heart on ev­ery pitch. Our breath caught in our throat with ev­ery fly ball.

Canada started car­ing about base­ball again.

We’ll al­ways have hockey. There are seven teams that di­vide the coun­try, though. We can’t truly come to­gether as one fan­base.

That can hap­pen in base­ball. It did hap­pen in base­ball.

For seven months, fans from Vic­to­ria, B.C., to White­way, Trin­ity Bay trav­elled the same path.

They cringed when Mar­cus Stro­man blew out his knee in Spring Train­ing and they cheered as Josh Don­ald­son put to­gether a MVP sea­son.

That’s the magic of base­ball. The Blue Jays of this sum­mer cast a spell on Canada.

Hours re­moved from the Blue Jays loss to the Kansas City Roy­als in the Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries, base­ball is still work­ing its magic. Man, this hurts. Man, this was awe­some. Thanks for the ride, fel­las.

We hung our heart on ev­ery pitch. Our breath caught in our throat with ev­ery fly ball.

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