Friday, April 4, 2008

Dig Those Pajamas

Much to report, as real life, so-called, pulled me away from last night's game and prevented commentary. I know only about that game as much as the pithy highlights on Canada's two major sports networks would allow. Apparently, there were ice hockey matches with serious consequences related to the major hockey league's upcoming championship tournament; that meant little time for baseball news.

As for today, well, this has been a uniquely satisfying day to be a Blue Jays fan.

Rios locked up longterm. We knew that. But the rare second prize in our Crackerjack was learning that Aaron Hill has signed on for the long haul, too. And both sides were being so cagey, all like, "We're not talking about it anymore until the season is over." Devious cats.

And then there was the home opener. I note the unusual quiet on the other Jays blogs tonight; I assume this is because every Jays blogger but me was at SkyDome (shut up - tonight it was the SkyDome again). Well, the televised images made it look like a hell of a party.

The Roberto Alomar/Paul Beeston ceremony was a righteous thing. All spitting incidents forgotten, Robbie. About time he was elevated to the "Level of Excellence." It was actually a nice moment, later on, when he joined Campbell and Tabler in the broadcast booth, and Tabby had a chance to lavish praise on Alomar. He seemed genuinely moved.

Then the powder blues came out, and you know, I was prepared to write them off. I thought that with the way modern players wear their unis (baggy and low, bunching up over their hightops), they'd look silly. And I was right in the sense that nobody had the stones to wear the new suit a little bit tight, like they used to. After all, this whole thing is just a way to move some merchandise, right? But you know what? They looked pretty damn good. And if you squinted - what with the stands full of seemingly interested fans - you might have actually convinced yourself that it was, like, 1989, or something, and people showed up not just because they loved their Jays, but because the retractable roof was the single most advanced scientific development the world had ever produced. And yes, shut up, I know they stopped wearing the powder blues in '88, but for the stadium timeline thing to work there, I had to fudge it a bit. Besides, memory is a hazy and sentimental thing.

It was a lovefest through and through. It was PR and spin and hokum, but it was nice to succumb to it, truth be told. It was a treat to suspend disbelief and allow the Blue Jays' marketing department to mash all the good feelings we've ever had about Our Team into one gooey powder blue ball of goodwill, and to smear that all over this year's model so as to convince us that these new guys exist on the same continuum as all your heroes. They don't, of course, but who cares? Being a fan means accepting a certain degree of manipulation. And tonight, it felt good to be manipulated, goddamnit.

And the team held up their end. Marcum was gold until, well, you know. The Canadian guy broke the scoreless tie. Hurt finally got a meaningful hit.

I'd like to break it all down a bit more incisively, but I'm a bit buzzed by all that Blue Jay love, frankly. Maybe later I'll regain my critical faculties. Maybe not. Right now it just feels amazing to be a Jays fan.

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