Toronto Blue Jays

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Street Style: Jays fans flaunt their boldest blue and white

street-style-jays-fans

(Images: Kayla Rocca)

The newly unstoppable Blue Jays are hauling around their heaviest bandwagon since 1993. (If you just started paying attention, see here.) With baseball enthusiasts both new and old shelling out big bucks for tickets, we decided to head to the Rogers Centre to see how fans are showing off their Blue Jay pride. We noticed ticket-holders wearing team colours in plenty of creative ways: our favourites involved vintage jerseys, cornflower-blue baubles and indigo hair dye. Here, 25 high-five–worthy outfits.

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The ridiculously elaborate high-fives of the newly victorious Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have had plenty to celebrate lately—and, if you’ve just started paying attention, you’ve probably noticed they have some strange ways of doing that. Here, a selection of the most elaborate high-fives, handshakes, backslaps and other on-field victory gestures from a few of the team’s recent games.

Jose Bautista makes it rainThe Rainmaker
Jose Bautista and Ryan Goins appear to mime making it rain, shuffling bills from their hands into the sky.

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Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because the Rogers Centre will rock again

(Images: Getty Images)

You have to be absurdly starry-eyed to be a loyal Jays fan in Toronto, but soon (and we’re not just saying this) that optimism will be validated. The team has four impressive starting pitchers, all under the age of 25. The Jays didn’t trade for them or sign them to bank-breaking free-agent contracts. They drafted and developed these players, which means they’ll be Jays for a long time. And with the money left over, the team can sign premium sluggers and base-thieving speedsters. When the playoffs finally return to the Rogers Centre, these four studs will be the ones to thank.

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Ten things Russell Martin can’t live without

Last fall, the star catcher signed a five-year, $82-million deal with the Jays. This month, he’ll make his debut on the field. Here, the 10 things he can’t live without


russell-martin-the-list

1
My Lululemon pants
I’ve got really big thighs, so it’s impossible to find pants that fit right. The ABC pants from Lululemon are a life changer! They look great with a sport coat, but they’re as comfortable as yoga gear.

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How the Rogers Centre turns a concrete floor into a field of dreams and fake grass

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The artificial turf at the Rogers Centre has, oddly enough, been a source of some controversy over the past few years, because players think its tough, unyielding surface is leading to on-the-field injuries. Blue Jays management is doing everything in its power to hasten the arrival of honest-to-goodness natural sod, but the process is more complicated than it seems. Keeping grass alive and happy in a stadium requires all sorts of fine adjustments and mechanical upgrades. “We’re working with the University of Guelph on a specific species of grass,” says Kelly Keyes, Rogers Centre’s vice president of building services. “Ourselves and the Tampa Bay Rays are the last two teams that play on turf.” As a stopgap measure until the happy day when the real grass arrives, the stadium has just invested in a brand new set of Astroturf. According to Keyes, the new stuff has a more realistic, two-tone look—and, because it hasn’t suffered years of abuse, it’s also quite a bit softer than the previous turf, and not as heavy.

The fuzzy green carpet went down for the first time at the end of March, after Disney’s redundantly titled Frozen on Ice cleared out of Rogers Centre ahead of the start of baseball season. Here’s a step-by-step look at the surprisingly exacting process of turning a concrete floor into a lush, playable field of fake grass.

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Sports Gods: which Toronto pro athletes are truly worth their salaries?

Sports Gods: They’re paid a fortune. Who’s worth it, and who’s not

Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle, 35
Starting pitcher, southpaw

Paid: $19 million ($37,000 an hour)
Bang for Buck: He’s reliable and not injury-prone, but he’s in the twilight of his career and no R. A. Dickey.

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Quoted

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Bereaved Blue Jays fan: “It was a little awkward telling them I’d just dumped a dead guy on the field.”

“It was a little awkward telling them I’d just dumped a dead guy on the field.”

Rob Ouellette, the lifelong Blue Jays fan who scattered his stepbrother’s ashes at Rogers Centre during Friday’s game, telling the Sun how he dealt with “the whole terrorist thing” (meaning, the understandable consternation of police and game officials, who had no idea what the powdered substance was).

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“A grim ritual march to irrelevance”: what to expect from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, month by month

It may not feel like spring is on the way, but a definite sign of it is taking place in strange little corners of Florida and Arizona, where the teams of Major League Baseball have gathered to ready themselves for the upcoming season. The local nine begin their annual grim ritual march to mid-season irrelevance on March 31st in Tampa, and here we have all you need to know and watch for over the next eight glorious-ish months of Blue Jays baseball.

March and April
Optimism is in the air, even around a Jays team largely unchanged from last year’s 74-win, injury-filled disaster. Shapely veteran (round is a shape, right?) Dioner Navarro takes over for human strikeout J.P. Arencibia behind the plate. Would-have-been ace Josh Johnson’s spot has been turned over to a competition among younger, cheaper, and hopefully healthier pitchers from the club’s minor league system and its bullpen. Second baseman Ryan Goins, a defensive wizard who has struggled to hit in the minors, seems to have inexplicably been deemed good enough to be a big-league regular. Otherwise, the Jays are basically rolling with the status quo, plus crossed fingers for fewer health problems than they experienced last season. It could actually work, but fans are rightly confused by the team’s lack of visible improvement over the winter, after the Jays seemingly went “all in” the year before. None of this will stop the Friday-night home opener against the Yankees on April 4th from being the train wreck it always is, though.

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Roy Halladay is retiring—and as a Toronto Blue Jay, no less

Roy Halladay is a legend in Toronto. Over his 16 Major League seasons—11 of which were with the Blue Jays—the pitcher won two Cy Young Awards and was an eight-time All-Star. This morning, it was revealed that he’s hanging up his glove for good, at the age of 36. “Doc” Halladay was one of the best pitchers the Jays ever had, posting a 148-76 record and 3.43 ERA while in Toronto. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, but Blue Jays fans never lost their affection for him, cheering him even when he returned to pitch against Toronto.

And clearly, Halladay never lost his affection for Toronto. In a heartwarming move, he intends to sign a one-day contract with the Jays that will allow him to retire as a member of the ball club that he holds so dear.

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Features

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The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto: who really runs this city?

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto 2013 You know you live in interesting times when the chief of police is the most powerful person in town. What propelled Chief Blair to the top of our Influentials list was Rob Ford’s Crackgate—a story that consumed the city for much of the last year and whose bewildering narrative is still being written. Of course, Ford wasn’t the only politician who behaved badly in 2013. Chronic dysfunction is evident at all levels of government, from the petty infighting at city hall to the crippling gamesmanship at Queen’s Park and the expense scandals on Parliament Hill. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the city’s most formidable leaders are outside the traditional halls of power: global hip-hop stars, tech titans, gossip bloggers and guitar-strumming astronauts, among others. The people ranked here all did something in 2013 that made an impact on our lives, for better or for worse. Our list demonstrates that sometimes influence is enduring, sometimes it’s fickle and sometimes it rests on a single cellphone video that could forever change the complexion of the city.

Start the slideshow »

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VIDEO: Relive Joe Carter’s World Series-winning homer which was, unbelievably, 20 years ago this week

This has not been a good year for Toronto baseball. Not only did all the offseason hope and optimism fade almost immediately, but now the Boston Red Sox—the Blue Jays’ bearded, manager-poaching nemeses—are one game up in the 2013 World Series. But 20 years ago was a happier time. That’s when the Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies squared off in that immortal Game Six, when Henderson walked and Molitor singled and Joe Carter hit that Dome-shaking walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth. Watch the video above to relive that moment—complete with sportscaster Tom Cheek’s epic call. Because sometimes it just feels nice to remember the good times. We can worry about next year another day.

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Dear Urban Diplomat: Someone posted an embarrassing video of me on YouTube. Can I ask them to remove it?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Colonel Mustard

(Image: Screenshot/YouTube)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I wore my Boston Bruins jersey to a Jays game recently and some drunk guy threw a hot dog at me. I freaked out and said some things I regret. Unfortunately, the hot dog thrower recorded the incident and posted it on YouTube. I want to get in touch and ask him to remove it. Any tips on what to say?

—Colonel Mustard, Yonge and Eg

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Back in the Game: Blue Jays slugger José Bautista’s high-stakes mission to stay on top

José Bautista silenced his critics and became baseball’s most powerful hitter. Now, after a potentially career-ending surgery, he must prove himself all over again

 José Bautista: Back in the Game

(Photo: Nigel Dickson)

It was July 16 of last year, a day game. More than 42,000 people in Yankee Stadium, and a few million sitting on couches at home, had watched Blue Jays slugger José Bautista swing at an inside fastball, just as he had thousands of times before. It had become his specialty, swinging at that pitch. Crushing it. And he’d done it again, whipping his bat around at an ungodly speed and slamming the ball far into the stands in left field. All eyes, at home and in the stadium, watched that ball sail long and foul. Then they turned back to the star at the plate, but he wasn’t there.

He was staggering toward his team’s dugout, toward people who could help him, holding his left forearm. He called out and sank toward the ground. At the end of his swing, he’d heard a popping crack in his flesh and felt a knife stab of pain. He thought he’d broken or dislocated his wrist.

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Random Stuff

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Toronto GIF Showdown: Rob Ford puking versus a crazed Blue Jays fan

Yesterday saw the birth of two new GIFs that are sure to take their places in the Toronto GIF Hall of Fame next to classics like Rob Ford playing football (he fell) and the Raptors’ mascot rollerblading (he also fell). First, Ford displayed his well-honed sense of mayoral decorum by pretending to puke in response to Metrolinx’s shortlist of proposed taxes and fees to pay for transit expansion:

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The Blue Jays—along with the rest of Toronto—are pumped for the season ahead

Pitcher R.A. Dickey tweeted this photo of his 1986 Little League team (Image: @RADickey43)

Toronto’s baseball fans and sportswriters engage in a ritual burst of optimism about the Blue Jays’ chances every April and, thanks to some mammoth off-season trades and the addition of charming knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the roster, this season is the most hotly anticipated in years. (According to bookmakers, the odds of the Jays winning the World Series are now about 10-1) Though at least one wise soul warned against getting caught up in the hype, the players—including Dickey, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Reyes—seem as excited as the rest of the city ahead of tonight’s sold-out home opener. Below, some of our favourite pre-game tweets from the men taking to the field tonight.

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