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'Blue Jay Fever' in Toronto

October 13, 1985

It is said that one can set out to--and prove--virtually anything one wants to. This is especially true of our North American press, and even more so of television.

It is not the purpose of this letter, however, to debate this subject. Rather, I would like to comment upon Kenneth Freed's whimsical article (Oct. 7) on "Blue Jay Fever."

The standard American misconception that Toronto is overly boring and overly clean has been perpetuated yet again. Sigh.

So what if the place is clean? So what if drunken brawls at baseball games are as rare as the Cleveland Indians finishing out of last place? An article on one of the best teams in baseball should be just that--a baseball article.

What we have now in Toronto is a collection of baseball players, by and large ignored by the U.S. media, that we have supported since their inception as a team in 1977. We crammed more than 2.3 million people this year into a ball park that has, at best, 15,000 good seats. We have, over the past nine years, become great baseball fans.

Attending a Jays game and hearing a cheer from the crowd on a routine fly ball can only be attributed to those poor wretches that are sitting at a crummy angle. Fortunately, the ground-breaking is set for a new domed stadium in Toronto within the next year. Construction will, of course, be expedited when our local politicians get their fingers out of the process.

The talented people in charge of the Toronto Blue Jays set out nine years ago to build an organization that any city would be proud to call their own. The results?

--A team that suffered through five last-place finishes between 1977 and 1981 came out on top this year with 99 wins.

--A manager who will only criticize his players face-to-face--not through the media.

--A front office that lets its people do their jobs, and wouldn't consider referring to any of its players as "Mr. May"--as George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees did.

In short, Toronto is blessed with a first-class organization that has the potential to dominate baseball for years to come. That old argument about not one Canadian on the roster is the same one we used as kids when we tried to justify to our friends that the team from Boston that beat out our beloved Maple Leaf hockey team were all Canadians anyway.

Oh yes, one more thing--for God's sake please stop referring to our city as Toe-ron-toe. Even the newest Blue Jay on the team knows we're all from "Trawna."



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