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A Thank-You Letter to the 2021 Toronto Blue Jays

Thanks for getting me "back in the game"

By Shelley CarrollPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
A Thank-You Letter to the 2021 Toronto Blue Jays
Photo by Mike Bowman on Unsplash

I don’t know if there are any baseball fans among my readership. I’m not a big ball fan, myself. Granted, I certainly used to be once upon a time. As a recent collaboration with my friend Len will attest, the Montreal Expos were my childhood dream team.

You can read our joint piece here:

Working with Len on that article sparked a lot of fond memories. It also piqued by curiosity and nudged me to jump on the bandwagon for Canada’s current and only national baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

I watched what turned out to be the final Toronto Blue Jays regular season game yesterday. Spoiler alert: although it came down to the wire, and even though they won big, they weren’t able to clinch a playoff spot.

Straight up, this one smarts a little. Like Maxwell Smart(s), in fact. As my friend Gerard reminded me, they “missed it… by THAT much”.

Here is what happened: Four teams — the Jays, Yankees, Red Sox and Mariners — were each desperately fighting for two Wild Card spots heading into yesterday’s final day of the regular season. To add to the excitement – all four games were being played simultaneously.

The Jays did what they needed to do and won 12–4 over the Baltimore Orioles. George Springer hit two home runs (including a grand slam) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his record-setting 48th home run, making him the only 22-year old (or younger) to ever hit that many home runs in a single season.

As luck would have it, and with a pinch of pure dramatic flair, the Yankees and Red Sox also did what they needed to do — both teams won their games in the ninth inning and, consequently, the Wild Card berths.

(Oh, and the Mariners lost too.)

It’s the stuff of fairy tales and big budget movies.

Was it an ill-fated playoff run for the Jays?

Or was it just a gentle reminder to play for fun?

It’s a matter of perspective.

Like I said, I don’t watch a whole lot of ball these days. Over the last month, however, I’ve watched a team of young bucks having fun and making it look easy. They’d dance, they’d laugh, they’d wear The Blue Jacket. They’d HAVE FUN.

It makes me think about when my kids were playing sports – you know, before things got way too serious or went offside because all of the game officials were idiots and the opposing team was full of *ssh*les – back before folks started looking for someone else to blame rather than looking within to try to make things better.

The kids were out there just having fun – learning new skills, hanging out with their buddies, feeling the magic as it unfolded, playing the game. Sure, you can’t win ‘em all. But as the old adage goes, “when you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”

Once it started to get too serious, the magic faded. It got political. Sometimes it just got plain old nasty.

I remember coaches getting kicked out of games. I remember players being disrespectful. I remember parents heckling one another in the stands. Sometimes, someone got needlessly hurt. Somewhere along the line, I feel like we all lost sight of what we were doing there in the first place.

Occasionally though, the fun would resurface. Smiles would light up the bench. Fans would cheer rather than cast aspersions towards the referees and umpires.

That’s what I saw in yesterday’s MLB game at Rogers Centre: this unity of collective hope and support.

As with any sport, I know it’s hard work. I know it takes a lot of training and that practice makes perfect. I can only imagine that it’s a lot easier to stay loose if you just get out of your head and enjoy the ride.

I guess I want to thank the Jays. I’m pretty confident that kids of all ages noticed what I noticed.

Thanks for being so fun to watch. Thanks for giving us hope. Thanks for going out on a high note, for finishing strong.

I won’t lather this space with platitudes and say that “it really doesn’t matter if you win or lose; it’s how you play the game”. We all know the difference – it’s nice to win! Makes it more fun!

Sometimes, though, even when you win, you still lose. And that’s ok. It’s a tough pill to swallow, no doubt.

I hope they all woke up refreshed this morning after a well-deserved and restful sleep. I hope when their feet hit the ground upon rising, that they held their heads up high.

They went out with a bang.

Ours is not to question why. It’s been a helluva ride.

From my view out here in the cheap seats, you've got my most humble respect and my most sincere thanks.

PS. Briefly yesterday, I cheered for the Washington Nationals – they used to be the Montreal Expos. Sadly, they came up short and the Red Sox won. Good for the Sox too. It was nonetheless a little bit nostalgic to cheer for my “old” team… even though The Hawk, The Rock and The Kid are distant memories.


About the Creator

Shelley Carroll

Ms. Carroll is a 40-something year-old veteran public servant and mother of three adult children. She and her partner Hal live in Amherst NS with a sweet, anxiety-ridden rescue dog. Shelley loves running, red wine, and laughter.


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