It was an odd scene, and not one I expected.
Two seats away sat a woman with a knitting bag resting on her lap. In her hands she brandished a pair of needles, effortlessly working away on a multi-coloured washcloth.
We were among 49,000 fans at a sold-out Rogers Centre that Sunday - a study of contrasts - myself hoarse and struck with a severe case of Blue Jays fever, while she sat quietly, enjoying a beautiful sunny afternoon at the ballpark and working away on her linen.
“They normally win when I knit,” she explained.
The Toronto Blue Jays captured our imagination, our hearts and our following this season. Unlike any other Canadian professional team, the Jays were Canada’s team.
You can’t be a Leafs fan in Ottawa or an Oilers fan in Calgary, but you could don the Jays blue and white anywhere in our nation and get high fives for doing it. Cheering on the Jays made Canadians proud. This is OUR team.
As the Jays head into the biggest game of the season today at the Rogers Centre, Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers, the bandwagon is full.
Sitting at a clinic recently with my ill daughter waiting our turn with the doctor, I heard a woman say how annoyed she was with non-fans riding the blue wave.
I bit my lip and listened, dumbfounded by her argument that fair-weather aren’t real fans.
“I’m so sick of Blue Jays fans. I’d rather cheer for an American team,” she said. Blech!
As a diehard Jays fan, I hadn’t had much to cheer about since back-to-back World Series titles in ‘92 and ‘93. But, regardless of the outcome, this was the most exciting Canadian sports team in more than a decade. Fun to watch and bulging with thumpers who could jack any pitch out of the yard, the Jays had an ownership willing to spend money and managers with a plan.
No, they didn’t fight cancer, and yes they are overpaid athletes. But there is something to be said for uniting a country and giving fans – new and old - something fun to embrace and unite for.
It is a crazy, cocky, talented and fun team. Long the underdogs, they went out and added some exciting players this year.
Whether they win or not, they’ve been worth rooting for.
Jack Poirier is a life-long Blue Jays fan and occasional writer for The Sarnia Journal.