If there’s one thing that unites most Canadians (other than health care and complaining about the weather) it’s got to be the notion that Americans don’t care to know anything about us and don’t pay any attention to us. I mean, there’s a reason those Talking to Americans specials were so popular, right?
This weird insecurity does extend to many baseball fans as well. It’s most evident in the “why doesn’t ESPN show the Jays on Sunday night?” cries that are heard from time to time.
So when an American does pay attention, it comes as a surprise and, unless the reason is obvious, people usually want to know why. It’s in that vein that this post is, uh, posted. The following was written by Elise Myers, a Californian living in New York who is, somewhat surprisingly, a Blue Jays fan:
Walking the New York City streets is overwhelming enough without facing the incessant bombardment of Yankees-this and Yankees-that, and the zombie army’s endless recital of, “Oh Captain, Derek Jeter, My Captain.” The interlocking “NY” is embroidered to the skull of even the most apathetic bystander who sells cell phone chargers and mangoes on the grimy sidewalk. To catch sight of any other team emblem comes as a breath of fresh air, and generally warrants a smile or a discreet nod as the lone soul passes by.
As a proud Jays fan in a Yankees Universe, there are perks and responsibilities. People notice me: friendly blue-collar people, like night security guards, post office folks, and grocery store managers, who pause to question my rationale. I routinely hear, “Why are you a Blue Jays fan?” I cannot rely on the logical home team argument, because I’m not a Torontonian — I’m from California. Therefore, it’s obligatory to keep a crafty remark off hand. My personal favorite: “Why is the sky blue?”
Yet truthfully, it is a legitimate query. My Blue Jays devotion, although steadfast, is puzzling to many, specifically the hordes of Yankees fans who haunt the streets and sports bars. So how did it begin?
I was undeniably born a mutt of mixed baseball heritage, with tangled branches of Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers ancestry prominent in my family tree. Growing up, baseball was always in the background. It came mostly in the form of the scintillating speech of Vin Scully with the Dodgers, and also from my grandmother, with a Cubs cap sitting atop her curly white hair, shouting at Sammy Sosa.
Becoming a Jays fan developed later, after I grew into a frenzied baseball fandom all my own. An individualist innately, I sought out my own team, lest I fool a family member into thinking I sided with them in all arguments. The parameters for my search included: seeking a dedicated fan base, a team of promising young ballplayers to grow with, an interesting and unique ballpark to dream of visiting, and perhaps as a bonus, a loveable mascot. Furthermore, the team’s logo design and uniform aesthetics (both past and present) were crucial components in my decision, and obviously led me straight to the Blue Jays. My perfect match, I promptly pledged my allegiance to my newfound other half, and I never looked back.
Today, when I walk past a skull in a Yankees cap on Broadway, or find myself seated across from one on the subway, I boldly look them in the eye with the dignity and aplomb that comes from always cheering for the away team. It’s a treacherous cosmos fraught with navy pinstripes and taxicabs, and this Jays fan is soaring above it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elise Myers lives in New York City and is enthusiastic about writing, social media, and WordPress web design. In her downtime, Elise enjoys tweeting and watching baseball games. To find out what she’s up to, or to let her know she’s not the only Jays fan in NYC, visit her site: www.elisemyers.com or tweet: @Elise_Myers.