Three cheers for BC & AB Blue Jays fans in Seattle .. from admiring fellow Canadians in Toronto, only 3400 klicks away

Aug 27th, 2019 | By | Category: Canadian Provinces
“Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk poses with Jays fans in Seattle. Photo Credit: Toronto Blue Jays.”

TORONTO, CANADA. AUGUST 27, 2019. I read this past Sunday about the “author, podcast host and former ‘Jeopardy!’ champion” Ken Jennings, from the US Pacific North West. Perhaps after watching FOX News, he foolishly criticized the “20,000 surprisingly awful Canadians” who “drive down to watch a Blue Jays game” in Seattle during the northern summers.

This year’s Toronto Blue Jays series against the Mariners in Seattle took place August 23–25. The Jays won only one of the three games. But hey they’re just starting to build again. And how about Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and the reliable Randal Grichuk — apparently no relation to my colleague Randall White on this site?

I was also recently fortunate to attend a dinner that included my colleague Rob Sparrow on this site : our deeply well informed noted local authority on the sporting life. He reports that it will be a while yet before whatever long-term potential today’s young Blue Jays team may have starts to blossom seriously again. (Not even next season, eg.)

Yet this just seems another good reason for me — as a Blue Jays fan in Toronto (and more importantly husband of a still much greater fan, and pitcher in her youth) — to offer very deeply heartfelt thanks, gratitude, congratulations, commiserations, and consolations to all those Western Canadian fans in Vancouver and elsewhere in BC who heroically travel long distances to bring strength to Canada’s current one Major League Baseball team.

Similarly, while Ryan Flanagan’s recent excellent report on the “20,000 surprisingly awful Canadians” who invade Seattle to cheer the Blue Jays every summer concentrates on Vancouver and BC, there are also smaller numbers who come from still further away in Alberta. And at a Jays game in Toronto this year (June 29) Kiya Bruno from the Samson Cree Nation in northern Alberta sang O Canada in English and Cree.

The mainstream media across the country dwell so often on regional tensions in the true north, strong and free.

It is refreshing and much more to see the Canadian unity on the other side of the coin come to life so exuberantly.

Yes of course there are serious regional issues inside Canada — starting with the original region in Quebec, home of les Canadiens in the NHL. And for sure the Trans Mountain Pipeline is a divisive issue in (almost?) all parts of the country today.

(There are certainly people in Toronto who take the side of getting it done as soon as possible. And the other side too. As in Vancouver, no doubt. And Montreal, or Halifax, Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, etc. Most in Calgary and Edmonton, on the other hand, may be just for getting it done.)

Ryan Flanagan reports that the Seattle critic Ken Jennings has “questioned why BC residents seem to prefer cheering for the Jays to supporting ‘their [Canadian-American north-south] regional Cascadia team’ [the Seattle Mariners]. Vancouver is located 4,000 kilometres from Toronto and less than 250 kilometres from Seattle.”

Strictly speaking an as-the-crow-flies airplane trip from Vancouver to Toronto is only about 3400 kilometres. But the point remains.

It raises the poignant question “What Is Canada?” And the best answer here is probably the one to “What Is Jazz?” proposed long ago by the great American “avid baseball fan” Louis Armstrong : “If you have to ask, you’ll never know!”

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