I have been a dedicated fan of the Jays since '84 but it wasn't until 2001 that I first saw them play live. It was a bachelor party weekend in Toronto for yours truly and Boston was in town for a Canada Day weekend series. Although lots of extra curricular activities were planned, the games were the central focus for my group of baseball obsessed friends. It couldn't have been a better time. Except that the Jays lost. Badly. I was pretty bummed about it but got over it after a night of debauchery at a certain legendary adult entertainment facility on Yonge Street.
Over the years since then I've been back to the SkyDome/Rogers Centre a number of times. Work takes me around North America so I always jump at a chance to go to TO during ball season. While I've seen them play many times against many different teams, I have never seen them win. Not once. I started to get a complex. Was it me? Was I jinxing my beloved team? I started to waffle on opportunities to go to games.
Last week I found out that I had to be in Boston when the Jays are in town. The tempation was extreme. My head was swimming with doubts and rationalizations. Things will be different this time... All of those past Jays losses were under lesser managers than Cito... They are too good this time... After last night's game, they are due... Snider is due... Wells is due. Cecil is the new Jimmy Key...The Jays are going to prove wrong all of those Jackasses in the baseball world...I'll wear a brand new Jays cap...Fresh start...It wasn't me.
Turns out it was.
The Jays started out strong on the pitching and defence front. Love seeing a team struggle against an unknown starter like Cecil. The Jays drove balls deep in the first couple of innings. One of them was due to go out. Penny's luck was going to run out.
All was scoreless until the third inning when Varitek electrified the crowd with a line drive shot into the seats. Lugo later scored on a fielders choice but a two run spot was not insurmountable.
Cecil actually was lights out in the fourth so it looked like things were back on track.
Then came the fifth. I don't even want to talk about the fifth. Thankfully the Boston faithful spent a lot of time on their feet -- it obstructed my view of moonshot after moonshot leaving the park. I slunk in my seat.
My colleague deemed the game done. I was putting on a brave face. I reminded him of the Jays 10-0 comeback game...back in the late '80s. But I knew it was over.
I gave it until the 7th to see if they could muster any runs. They did manage two but the hole was deep. I suggested that we leave. I secretly hoped that my absence might spark a return of the team that kicked serious ass on Chicago on the weekend. When I got back to the hotel I crossed my fingers that I'd see that they scored 4 runs in the 8th. They got one. It was too late.
I have to disclose that the baseball Gods tried to keep me out of Fenway last night but I ignored the signs. Stubhub seriously messed with me and I ended up having to get tickets at South Shore Tickets (thanks Donny) at the last minute. But I foolishly thought that things would be different.