Blue Jays’ fans are a dying breed

Rogers Centre, empty as usual
Rogers Centre, empty as usual

Nobody cares about the Toronto Blue Jays. Seriously, nobody cares. How else do you explain the fact that the Jays kicked off their American League home schedule this week and, other than a capacity opening-night crowd, Rogers Centre has been a ghost town. Oh, there have been about 10,000 people at the subsequent games, but that crowd, in a city of about three million is an absolute joke.

The Canadian baseball fan is a dying breed. Literally, dying. Especially in Toronto. Baseball is the Great American pastime. North of the 49th, the youth sports infrastructure barely recognizes that baseball exists.

There are lots of reasons that the Jays can’t draw. Sadly, a big one is Rogers Centre itself. When it opened in 1989, it was baseball’s first-ever retractable-roof stadium. That was awesome, especially after the Mistake by the Lake – Exhibition Stadium. I still have frostbite scars from a frigid April game at that dump. But, once today’s fans see brand-new facilities going up around the league – with technology that’s twenty years newer – they realize Rogers Centre isn’t that great anymore. And, with the roof closed (which it perpetually is throughout April and September), the place is like a giant echoing tomb. And, for God sakes, Toronto’s subway system doesn’t even completely reach the place! Great planning, folks.

The cost of food, for a tightly budgeted family, is absurd. You couldn’t even begin to think of getting  munchies at a game for a family of four for less than fifty bucks. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s an intolerable rip-off. And it’s made worse by the facility.

Don’t believe me? Go to Wrigley Field or Fenway Park or Dodger Stadium and buy a dog. It might cost too…but you’re in Wrigley Field! Everything tastes better!

But the biggest problem is that slowly, year-by-year, a generation of children spawned by parents in “multicultural” Toronto – they’re so proud there of that self-anointed designation – never gets introduced to the sport of baseball.

When it’s time to get junior or juniorette into sports, well, soccer is the least expensive. Let’s go for that. And, if the pocketbook permits, the minor hockey infrastructure in Toronto is ridiculously huge. It’s like hockey’s Goliath v. baseball’s David. You don’t stand a chance in this match-up, kid.

As I write this, the Blue Jays have kicked off the season with seven wins in their first ten games. And nobody cares.  Jays’ centrefielder Vernon Wells has hit .343 through the first ten games, pouding five home runs and ten RBI. Nobody cares. Nobody’s showing up. You want to end up like the Montréal Expos? Keep it up Toronto…keep it up.

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