Why I’m Becoming a Blue Jays Fan

I grew up and spent the first 23 years of my life living within the city limits of Kansas City, Missouri. I lived just eight miles south of the Truman Sports Complex, where the Royals and Chiefs both play. The Royals were usually very good during my formative years; the Chiefs not so much. Okay, the Chiefs sucked in the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s.

I also grew up hating the Yankees. The were the team that was blocking the Royals in the playoffs seemingly every year. And it seemed that Lou Pinella was a special thorn in the side when he got up to the plate in those games, probably because he was once a Royal and became another mercenary for the hated Yankees. The infamous pine tar game is just one example of my hatred for that franchise that still hasn’t completely abated.

Then the 1985 playoffs came and the Yankees were no longer in the way of my beloved Royals on the way to the World Series, but the Blue Jays were. By some form of magic they squeaked by both the Blue Jays, and with some bad eyesight by the umpires, the Cardinals to win it all in 1985.

Then life and the strike came and I moved overseas and away from baseball for over a decade. I no longer followed my Royals, mostly because they stunk. Year after year they were irrelevant by the All Star Game, and year after year I generally ignored their existence. Then in 2013 my nephew came to visit and had to watch the Royals. They were actually decent! I jumped back in to my Royals obsession.

I relearned the names of all the players and their positions, and followed them through the rest of 2013. The next two years were both excruciating and wonderful! Bumgardner singlehandedly won the 2014 World Series for the Giants, but the Royals took it to the Mets in 2015. But they did have a struggle with that Canadian team again in the playoffs. At least more so than they did with the Mets.

I kept watching my Royals and wished they’d trade off players after the disappointing 2016 season. But they didn’t. They again disappointed in 2017, 2018, and 2019. But in 2019 I was headed to Ontario with my now adult daughter for summer vacation. I needed one, as my wife of 24 years had passed from cancer the previous winter. My Royals were going to be in Toronto over Canada Day weekend, so I planned the vacation to see them there.

It was an exciting game, tied into the 9th until the Blue Jays walked off with a win. Both teams were in rebuild mode at that point, so it didn’t really matter who won. Several runs were scored by both teams and the game went back and forth several times. The food was good too. The Royals could learn a thing or two about what a good hot dog should taste like from the concessionaires at the Rogers Centre; the food at the K pales in comparison. There was one future Blue Jays star in that game who I just couldn’t bring myself to root against in that game, Vlad. He was just a good player, and seemingly good person.

Fast forward a couple more disappointing Royals seasons. My Royals have continued their "rebuild" mode while Toronto has actually built back to a winning team again. My Royals disappointed in 2020 and 2021, and have started this year with a 5-9 record. Meanwhile Toronto is leading their division with good pitching and timely hitting.

But that isn’t the only reason I’m now watching the Blue Jays. I live too far from Kansas City to get local stations, and stupid MLB blackout restrictions mean I cannot watch any game with the Royals, Astros, Cardinals, or Rangers in it. So I have found a team I can watch with players I can root for, especially when they play the Yankees. It’s also fun when the beat the cheating Red Sox as well.

Some day in the distant future the Royals may again meet the Blue Jays and beat them in the playoffs on their way to another World Series win, but I may be dead and gone before that happens. In the interim I’m going to be learning more Blue Jays’ player names and rooting for them as well. Go Jays!

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.