By Tim Kalinowski
I have been a baseball fan since I was young kid. My personal baseball hero growing up was the Montreal Expos’ Gary Carter. Later on my affection and my allegiance switched to the great Toronto Blue Jays teams of the mid-1980s with their Stiebs, Mosebys, Barfields and Bells. All that affection and loyalty paid off big time in 1992 with the World Series win of that season. My new favourite players were Candy Moldanado, Kelly Gruber, Roberto Alomar and the “Terminator,” Tom Henke. In 1993 Paul Moliter won my regard to add to a growing list of personal Blue Jays heroes as they repeated their World Series victory that year. It was a fantastic time to be Blue Jays fan in that ten year era where the Jays were perpetual contenders.
And then the 1994 baseball strike hit and it all unravelled. The Jays have come nowhere near contending since until this season.
Unlike many bandwagon fans coming out of the woodwork recently, I have always kept the faith and suffered through some brutal years alongside the team. It feels like we long suffering Blue Jays fans deserve this success as much as the players on the field do.
Don’t get me wrong. Even in the dark ages the Blue Jays have been limping through the past 22 years there have been some great players and performances. Ace Roy Halliday with his masterful curve. King Carlos Delgado with his big swing. And even Rocket Roger Clemens, juiced up on roids or not, brought some excitement to some pretty brutal years in the late 1990s. However, this year’s Blue Jays team is head and shoulders above any team the Jays have fielded since their back to back World Series wins.
I remember the Blue Jays charge to the World Series titles of 1992 and 1993, and I can unequivocally say this current team, as a whole, is better than the 1992 team and is quickly drawing even with the 1993 team. The old excitement is back. The Skydome is full for every home game and the Blue Jays are must see TV again.
There is a lot in life which leaves you disappointed. You put your faith in things and too often they don’t pan out. That is why I am grateful to this year’s Blue Jays team. They are finally giving back to fans like me who have stayed with them through one mediocre year after another. Hopefully, there are some new nine year-old Blue Jays fans out there this year who will take their love for this team forward for the rest of their lives like I did.