Thursday, June 2, 2011

Damn It Feels Good

Is it just me or is it suddenly really cool to be a Blue Jays fan? From hipsters to hoodlums I swear I've seen Jays paraphernalia adapted to every possible self aware staple of style adorned by the wildly diverse cast of characters that make up this city. White haired old men in dirty and tattered snap-back hats from the glory days, pretty boy swag in full effect and a variety of colours, good-looking women in loose fitting baseball shirts with blue sleeves, and an army of dudes with glasses wearing the recently revived blue and white throwback have turned the various forms of the Toronto Blue Jays logo as the unifying symbol of the city itself. 

I know, I know, Toronto is the hockey capital of the world (and centre of the universe), but on most nights you're just as likely to get heckled if you're wearing a Mikhail Grabovski jersey as you are to start a Go Leafs Go chant on the subway. The startlingly large amount of people who have the rooting interest for "Anyone but the Leafs" prevents those lovable losers from being the logo. Leafs Nation is undoubtedly massive, but a lot of the strongholds are scattered throughout the province. The city itself is home to hordes of fans from the different teams across the country with a whole new/old team on the way to Winnipeg, ready to grab some attention. Loving the Leafs will undoubtedly make you some friends, but you'll also have to deal with barbs from your friends who may be Habs fans, or Canucks fans, or fans of any other team that has had even a marginal amount of success in the last decade. The sheer amount of hatred and disappointment generated by the franchise has opened the city's floodgates on liberated fandom within its walls.  

And the Raptors... I mean... Is it even possible to wear a throwback Raptors jersey without it being ironic? Which player that was good enough to warrant a jersey purchase left on terms that makes wearing it now look not ridiculous? Alvin Williams? Damon Stoudamire? Morris Peterson? Jalen Rose? Beyond that, smack talk will seep from a curiously high amount of people you know that are Lakers fans, or Celtics fans, or fans of organized basketball played at a high level. Also I see far too many people wearing Andrea Bargnani jerseys over their high collared dress shirts and dress pants for them to put up a dog in this fight. (Also: The frequency of Jermaine O'Neal jerseys appearing on the subway is hilarious) 

Torontonians, check your various forms of social media on game day. People are snapping pictures of themselves in the stands, spreading eyewitness accounts of Jose Bautista, and talking about turning cheap seats into a pre-drinking event at a suddenly dizzying rate. It's everywhere. And the persecution is non-existent. I have worked with dozens and dozens of sports crazed lunatics in newsrooms across this city over the last 5 years and haven't taken Jays related flack once. Sure, there's always negative talk (Gotta boo at least one guy per year out of town, right?) but the negativity is born of frustration, and the frustration comes because the people are passionately invested in the fortune of the team. People that live and breathe to talk shit about teams and athletes from literally every sport you can imagine hold a soft spot inside their hearts for the Blue Jays in this city. They're our team.

So why the love fest and trendiness? Maybe it's the influx of youthful and handsome talent that makes up Hustle & Heart 2.0. Maybe it's the power of the One Man Gang. Or maybe it's because the all important '20-to-30 Somethings' that are the key-holders of cool all share the memory of when they were bright eyed and impressionable and dreams actually came true. The World Series Championships were unanimously cool to elementary school kids in 1992 and those elementary school kids have grown up and are wearing their childhood memories on their sleeves. Wearing a throwback Jays shirt has become akin to wearing one with the Batman logo, or one with vintage Pearl Jam tour dates. It says "I remember when I was young enough to enjoy this without fully understanding it or worrying about what it said about me." 

With a generation of children implanted with the memory of baseball glory in Toronto, it's only inevitable that the 20 to 30 somethings will begin to procreate and bring their own offspring to the park. Living proof that nothing catches the imagination of the next generation like watching the players achieve the wild heights that are the default level for a child's expectation. It is vital for 34 year-old Jays GM Alex "One Of Us" Anthopolous to build this team to make a serious run at a championship in the coming decade to solidify a Jose Bautista throwback as haute couture in 2034 and create something for this generation of kids to be unironically nostalgic about in the just-distant-enough-to-be-cool-again future. 

{Photo courtesy Hipster Animals}


  1. I knew Archi when he was just a Handsome Man!

  2. Scene: Ghostrunner on First HQ
    ARCHI navigates through mountains and mountains of books containing numbers and charts. He sees DREW at his desk, hunched over an abacus and drawing a pie chart and mumbling about Travis Snider.

    ARCHI: Hey, can I write about the Jays on your site.


  3. Greta first post, Archi! Very rarely have I ever received flack for being a Blue Jays fan, but if you wear your allegiance to the blue & white on your sleeve, people often do get flack for that.

    Out of all the pro teams in Toronto, I'd definitely say the Blue Jays are the hipsters out of the group.

  4. Need



    But welcome nonetheless!

  5. Whatever on the shorter-posts-dude.

    Archi your post was brilliant.

    As Always,
    Go Jays!

  6. great first post dude.

    as one of those almost 30 somethings that lived and breathed the jays growing up, i completely understand your sentiments.

    good luck with the gig.


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