The real harbinger of spring for many people in North America is the start of the Baseball season. In 1977, when Toronto opened its inaugaral season at what we now call the "mistake by the lake", I was hooked.
For many people living in Alliston, Beeton and Tottenham, "our" team is the Toronto Blue Jays.
This year, there seemed to be a real "buzz" down in Dunedin, Florida, where the Toronto Blue Jays hold their annual spring training, and that buzz seems to have traveled all the way up to Canada. Now, most baseball prognosticators seem to have missed this, as many are predicting our Blue Jays to finished fifth in the powerful American League East division and end up with ~ 76 wins.
The feeling "in the streets", among Blue Jay fans seems to be as optimistic as I have noticed since the the 1994 season, when Toronto was at the top of the Baseball world coming of back to back World Series wins.
After many years, most with likes of Carlos Delgado and Roy Halliday, we still were mired out of the playoffs in a division stacked with the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and the Orioles.
In my opinion, the real change came from the top. In October of 2009, the Toronto Blue Jays named a 33 year old Canadian, Alex Anthopoulos, their new manager. This 2011 edition seems full of pitching, power, and speed.
After trading away Roy Halliday to the Phillies, the Blue Jays still managed 85 wins, though not enough to secure a playoff spot, the season showed that his plan might have some merit.
After trading away Vernon Wells in the off-season, our 2011 opening day roster can be viewed here:
Official Toronto Blue Jay website
With our closer, Frank Francisco starting out the year on the 15 day disabled list, poised to join the team later in the month, Brett Lawrie, who will probably join the major league team at third base some time this year, I feel, like many out there, that our prospects are looking up.
Our Blue Jays open at Roger's Centre (formerly known as the SKYDOME) this evening, and though I won't be at this near sellout, I will see them a number of times this summer. I will be watching with great interest tonight at 7 pm EST for the opening pitch, looking forward to the year. I know that for fans of every team, especially at this time of year, hope springs eternal, but for us, who love our Blue Jays, let's sing:
OK, Blue Jays, let's play Ball
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage