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A tip of the hat to the Blue Jays


Toronto — As the hats rained down to the Rogers Centre outfield following Edwin Encarnacion’s third home run in a romp over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, I quickly removed my own lid lest some fellow reveler decided mine should join the others scattered about the turf and warning track.

A member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ grounds crew collects hats thrown on the field following Edwin Encarnacion’s third home run in the Jays’ 15-1 win over the Detroit Tigers Saturday in Toronto on Saturday.

“Only in Canada,” laughs a resigned Detroit Tigers fan sitting behind me, one who made the trip across the border to see his team trounced by the surging Blue Jays 15-1 and ultimately swept in a three-game weekend series.

It’s true, at any other ball park in Major League Baseball, a trio of jacks would be met with fanfare, to be sure, but not like this.

But that’s baseball in Canada and it’s evident the Big Smoke is once again reaching a fever pitch over its American League East-leading Blue Birds.

Even on days when the team is on the road, every other person you pass on Yonge Street — young and old, man and woman alike — proudly wears a Jays’ hat or shirt.

On game day, the streets around downtown are awash in a sea of people clad in blue and white. Even the odd grey jersey can be spotted.

Inside the dome, of the 50,000 seats for baseball, only those closest to the roof are empty this Saturday and the energy is palpable and never wanes.

From start to finish, when the 46,000-plus fans weren’t cheering — which they had plenty of occasion to do on this day — they were talking to one another about the team, enjoying good-natured discussions about the batting order and whether or not star pitching prospect Marcus Stroman should be inserted into the rotation when he returns from knee surgery.

One gentleman sitting next to me, engaged in conversation with a couple of men 20 years his junior throughout the game, remarks to them how delighted he is to see the Jays’ win again and on top of the American League East in early September, having first become a fan in the early 1990s.

“I’ve given up on the Leafs, so I’m glad to have a team to cheer for again,” he says with a chuckle.

With the season winding down and Toronto enjoying more success than any other time in the last 22 seasons, he and the rest of Blue Jays nation are hopeful there will be plenty more reasons to cheer as summer gives way to fall and the prospect of post-season baseball in Toronto.

A few thoughts on a few Blue Jays

Jose Bautista: There’s something theatrical about the way he approaches the game. His swagger at the plate and on the basepaths is a bit much. In the field, even as a pitch is being delivered, he might be in the middle of deep leg stretch. A bit lackadaisical for my liking.

Ben Revere: This kid can motor around the horn and swung a solid bat, with four hits in five at-bats. If I were Gibbons, I’d consider swapping him out with Troy Tulowitzki in the lead off spot on occasion.

Editor's note: Gibbons did exactly that for the Jays’ series-opening game against Cleveland on Monday. Kenn wrote his suggestion Sunday.

Drew Hutchinson: If he can start performing as well on the road as he does at home, he’ll be a force. Had great control and kept the ball low all day. Good confidence booster for him.  

Josh Donaldson: Stud with a clean, beautiful swing. Serenaded by chants of MVP every time he stepped up to bat and displayed why he should be with a great in the field and at the dish.

 

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @telykenn

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