Friday, June 27, 2014

The Colby Rasmus/Perfect Strangers Mashup


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By now, most have probably watched the Colby Rasmus "Home Field Advantage" video that caught  like wildfire earlier this week. From the tucked shirt, to the chicken hot dog, Rasmus made it come to life with his unique personality.

In fact, I'm sure chicken hot dog sales outside the Rogers Centre have skyrocketed after Colby was seen eating his favourite pre-game meal on the way to the ballpark. Also, "that's pretty cool" has surely entered the lexicon of countless Blue Jays fans.

After numerous viewings of that video, something seemed incredibly familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me ... the video reminded me of the Perfect Strangers theme song.

Thus, the Colby Rasmus/Perfect Strangers mashup was born. No word yet if the show's been picked up for another season.


Flashback Friday: Jim Clancy Starts 40 Games in 1982


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Over the course of the 37 year history of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise, there have really only been a handful of true workhorse starting pitchers.

Frankly, today's definition of a "workhorse" pales in comparison to what it was a few decades ago. Where the 30 start benchmark is often lauded today as a strong season, pitchers back in the 70's and 80's were throwing well past 30 starts.

Some even went as deep as 40 starts in a season, which brings us to this week's Flashback Friday. It's Jim Clancy's 1982 season in which he started 40 games for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jim Clancy was the definition of a workhorse in every sense of the word. His 40 starts that season still stands as a Blue Jays franchise record, and with the way pitch counts and innings limits are monitored today, I very highly doubt that record will ever be broken.

The next closest pitcher on the list for single starts in a season belongs to Dave Stieb with 38, who coincidentally was also part of the Blue Jays rotation in 1982. Oddly enough, Stieb pitched more innings (288.1) than Clancy (266.2).

Also of note, Luis Leal also made 38 starts for the Blue Jays in 1982, which means their rotation had three pitchers who started 38 or more games that season. By today's standards, that's almost unfathomable.

If you do the math, Clancy himself started 25% of all of the Blue Jays games during the 1982 season. So instead of pitching every fifth turn, he essentially pitched every fourth turn. For the most part of 1982, the Blue Jays did employ a four-man starting rotation.

Clancy surpassed 200 innings pitched six times during his tenure as a Blue Jay, and he racked up 345 career starts with Toronto and surpassed 2204 innings pitched over the course of 12 seasons.

Image courtesy of Dunedin Blue Jays

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Connect with the Blue Jays Night Details


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If you were one of the early adopters of any of the various social media networks like Twitter, you may have been like me and thought "this thing is never going to last".

Nevertheless, outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are here to stay. Not only that, they are used extensively by professional sports teams to stay connected to their fans, and the Toronto Blue Jays are no different.

And thus, tonight the Blue Jays will host their first "Connect with the Jays" Night.

Connect with the Jays supplants the former "Tweeting Tuesdays" which took place during every Tuesday home game the past few years. Hosting several events throughout the year may have watered it down, and instead the Blue Jays are focusing on two special nights.

If you're curious why it seems like I have a vested interest in Connect with the Jays night, it's because the Blue Jays assembled somewhat of a social media taskforce during the winter comprised of bloggers and social media users.

The group includes April Whitzman of Jays Prospects (@Alleycat17), Andrew Hendricks of the Canadian Baseball Network (@77Hendricks), Matt Hartley of North Strategic (@thehartley) and yours truly.

Our role was to make suggestions and offer ideas to the club as to what can be done differently not just with the promotional night itself, but in general as well.

Tonight is the culmination of all the work put forth by the Blue Jays to revamp "Tweeting Tuesdays" into "Connect with the Jays". Here's just a taste of what's in store with many of the promotions and giveaways that will be taking place throughout the game.


Throw Out the First Pitch


Along with catching a foul ball, throwing out the first pitch at a ball game is on most fans' bucket list. You have the chance to cross this one off your list, use the hashtag #BringTheHeat for a chance to throw out the first pitch prior to tonight's game.

Admittedly, throwing out the first pitch in front of thousands of fans can be a nerve wracking experience, but here's a tip; so long as you don't go wide left like 50 Cent did ... you'll do fine.


Be Part of the World's Fastest Grounds Crew


Very few fans get the opportunity to run out onto the field during a game, and most that do usually get tackled by security before they make it any further than centre field. However, this is one legitimate way you can run onto the field.

There's an opportunity for someone to join the World's Fastest Ground Crew after the fifth inning. And for this giveaway, you don't even need to be at the game to take home something. Later on, four lucky winners across Canada will each win one of the bases.


Win Brett Lawrie Autographed Shirts for Your Entire Row



Going into the game, the first 15,000 fans will automatically receive the above pictured t-shirt anyway. But in addition, if you use the hashtag #InstaLawrie, your entire row could win autographed t-shirts by Captain Canada himself, Brett Lawrie.


Lead the 7th Inning Stretch


OK Blue Jays has been an institution in Toronto for decades, and three lucky fans will get to lead the crowd in "OK Blue Jays" during the seventh inning stretch. Send in your video through Vine or Instagram with the hashtag #OKBlueJays for a chance to win.

For anyone who may be nervous at the prospect of singing in public, just remember that virtually anything would be an improvement over Ozzy Osbourne's atrocious rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".


Have Jerry Howarth Record Your Voicemail


How cool would it be to have the soothing tone of Jerry Howarth on your phone? Use the hashtag #YouveReachedJerry to win a personalized voicemail from none other than long-time Blue Jays broadcaster, Jerry Howarth.

Bonus points if you can get him to say "And there she goes ... to voicemail!"

Images courtesy of BlueJays.com

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Anatomy of a 14-9 Comeback


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Overcoming an 8-0 deficit in baseball is not an easy feat. And yet somehow, someway, the Toronto Blue Jays managed to find a way overcome that nearly insurmountable deficit

So how did they do it? By chipping away at the 8-0 lead. Not surprisingly, the long ball had a large hand in turning the Blue Jays fortunes; four home runs in total (two by Encarnacion alone) helped pull Toronto back from the dead.

Thanks to FanGraphs, we can see that at one point after the Reds compiled their 8-0 lead in the third inning, they had a 98.9% chance of winning the ballgame. Or in the case of the Blue Jays, they had a 1.1% chance of winning.


So you're saying there's a chance?

Erasing that 8-0 lead by the Reds was the second biggest comeback in Blue Jays franchise history. The biggest comeback of course being down 10-0 to the Red Sox in 1989, only to come back and win the game 13-11.

Here's the sequence of events that got the ball rolling on the Blue Jays unprecedented comeback.


Juan Francisco homers off Jumbo Diaz (.149 WPA added)




By now, word has gotten around the league that Juan Francisco can't hit a breaking ball (a la Pedro Cerrano), which is why it was somewhat of a surprise that Jumbo Diaz threw anything but a breaking ball to him.

Francisco got a piece of this one and pulled the Blue Jays within a run with this opposite field shot.

And although it may not show up on the scorebook as having big implications on the game, this catch and throw by Munenori Kawasaki helped save a run and keep it as a one-run game.


Dioner Navarro doubles off Jonathan Broxton (.178 WPA added)




With Aroldis Chapman and his 100+MPH fastball looming in the ninth and two men out in the eighth, things looked pretty gloom for the Blue Jays - even though they were only down by a run.

However, Dioner Navarro come up with the clutch two out double to the left-centre gap to drive in the tying run in the form of Edwin Encarnacion.


Erik Kratz doubles off Aroldis Chapman (.307 WPA added)




How many times have you seen this; the Blue Jays sacrifice an out in the form of a bunt, but the move ultimately backfires. This is one of the rare occasions where the sac bunt actually worked.

Had John Gibbons not called for the play, Colby Rasmus may not have scored the go-ahead run. Instead of 270 feet, Colby only had 180 feet to run after Erik Kratz's double off Aroldis Chapman.


Edwin Encarnacion homers off Sam LeCure (.0.59 WPA added)




As noted by @CespedesBBQ, Erik Kratz is only the second player in MLB history with more than one extra base hit off Aroldis Chapman. This one could not have come at a better time for the Blue Jays.

Edwin Encarnacion hits hits second three-run home run of the game, and puts the game away for good with this towering shot to left field at Great American Ballpark.

Image courtesy of AP Photo/Al Behrman

Friday, June 20, 2014

Flashback Friday: Frank Thomas' Pillow Fight Commercial


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A harmless pillow fight between two kids - seems innocent enough, right? Apparently not when you add a towering 6 foot 5 inch 240 pound man to the mix.

For this week's Flashback Friday, we take a look back at Frank Thomas' "controversial" pillow fight commercial.

Every year the Blue Jays release a series of television commercials, and wanting to promote their new slugger Frank Thomas, a marketing team developed the spot below.

Like I said, it seemed innocent enough, but apparently the Television Bureau of Canada took issue with the commercial and thought it somehow promoted violence towards children.



The commercial is actually fairly tame by today's standards; Frank Thomas hits a young boy with a pillow, but he promptly gets up and says "wow", marveling at the power of the Hall of Famer.

It's not as if Thomas actually put the "Big Hurt" on him (don't worry, I'll show myself out).

The ad ran in conjunction with the 2007 season but was shelved early in April due to complaints. The Blue Jays were forced to edit the commercial by changing the pillow scene and were required to add the disclaimer "Dramatization: do not attempt this at home".

The vice president of marketing for the Blue Jays Laurel Lindsay was dumbfounded as to why it was an issue in the first place:
"Clearly we have taken ourselves entirely too seriously if we have given a pillow fight this much attention. The reaction we're getting from the fans is that people can't even believe this is an issue.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and the bureau's role is they feel that somehow a child is being put in harm's way and they need to step in and make sure it's clarified. That's their prerogative."
The fact that the Blue Jays had to pull the commercial drew a great deal of attention to the ad campaign. I vaguely recall unedited versions popping up on Youtube, and it actually convinced a lot of people to watch the commercial who wouldn't have otherwise.

Some were concerned this commercial somehow endorsed hitting children with pillows, but to me the greatest concern should be the stability of that railing. See how it wobbles back and worth when Thomas comes up the stairs? There's no way that was up to code.

Paul Godfrey was the Blue Jays president at the time, and he was also quote surprised about all the undue attention the campaign received, while at the same time also zinging the Toronto sports media:
"It took a kid getting hit by a pillow to knock the Leafs off the front page."
When all was said and done, later that year the Blue Jays had a Frank Thomas kids pillow giveaway for the first 5,000 kids through the gate at the Rogers Centre. So as ridiculous as the whole situation was, the Blue Jays got the last laugh.

Video courtesy of Zapp Internet

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yankee Stadium: The Blue Jays' New House of Horrors


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To say that Yankee Stadium has not been very kind to the Toronto Blue Jays the past few years would be a huge understatement. To say that Yankee Stadium has chewed up the Toronto Blue Jays and spit them out would probably be a fair assessment.

Although Tropicana Field was dubbed by John Gibbons earlier this year as the Blue Jays' modern day "House of Horrors", Yankee Stadium is very close to supplanting Tropicana Field as the next most unfortunate place to play on the road for the Blue Jays.

Last night's loss to the Yankees marked the fifteenth consecutive loss at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays haven't won a game in the Bronx dating back to August 29th, 2012.

During those 15 games, the Blue Jays have scored a grand total of 40 runs, which averages out to 2.66 per game. While at the same time, their pitching staff has surrendered 77 earned runs, or 5.13 runs per game at Yankee Stadium. That's a run differential of -33.

Go back to 2011, and the Blue Jays own a 4-26 record in their past 30 games played in the Bronx. Compare that to Toronto's 8-22 record against the Rays at Tropicana Field since 2011, and you have two ballparks which have been the Blue Jays kryptonite.

And it's not just the losses which have haunted the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, it's the laundry list of injuries which the team has sustained while on the road in New York.

There's Brett Lawrie diving into the camera well, Jose Bautista's season-ending wrist injury in 2012, and then again last night with the injury to Brett Lawrie and Brett Cecil landing on the disabled list.



For whatever reason, whenever the Blue Jays arrive to the Bronx, their bats go seemingly cold and their pitching staff gets roughed up beyond all means.

Some say it might be the short porch in right field, some say it might be the preferential treatment the Yankees get from the umpires get on their own turf, but those problems are hardly unique to just the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the case of the Blue Jays series winless streak in Tampa Bay dating back to 2007, it's somewhat understandable because that coincides with the Rays sudden rise to prominence in 2008.

That streak at Tropicana Field is also a bit of an anomaly; there have been a few four-game series splits sprinkled in there, but the Blue Jays have just been flat-out dominated by the Yankees on the road the past three seasons.

Even if they can squander a win later tonight, the Blue Jays likely can't escape New York fast enough. They'll return for a three-game set at the end of June, followed by another four-game series close to the end of September.

While these games in June mean just as much as games in September, I have a feeling that series at Yankee Stadium close to the end of the season may go a long way to deciding both team's postseason fates.

Image courtesy of AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Off-Day Fun: The Real 1993 Blue Jays Roster in Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball


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In retrospect, the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays were a very good team; almost "video game good". But have you ever wondered how that squad would fare within the confines of the 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System?

Wonder no longer!

One man decided to do something about this. Alex Parkinson has taken it upon himself to play all 162 games of the MLB regular season as the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays in Ken Griffey Jr. presents Major League Baseball on the SNES. However, that's not all.

If you've ever played the game, you've noticed there are no real MLB player names in the game, save for Ken Griffey Jr. himself. Quite famously due to licensing issues, MLB could not use players, but they went ahead and used the team likenesses.

In order to remedy this to accurately reflect history, Alex went to the extra work of changing the Blue Jays player rosters to reflect the real 25-man roster as it was in 1993 (as you can see below).


He's currently doing the yeoman's work of playing every single game of the 162 game schedule as the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays and uploading the games to his Youtube channel.

Alex said this is an homage to his dad, whom he played Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball with as a kid. On occasion, the two still fire up the old SNES and play the game together.

Here are just the first few games of the schedule, but Alex is already up to Game 23 of the 1993 season with the Blue Jays.







Friday, June 13, 2014

Flashback Friday: The Oft-Forgotten Willie Canate


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When you think back to the 1993 World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays, there are many names that come to mind; Carter, Alomar, Molitor, Ward, Stewart and Henderson to name a few.

But have you ever tried to name all the players on that squad? Trying to name the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays World Series roster is actually much more difficult than one could imagine.

This week's Flashback Friday is focused on one of those oft-forgotten members of the 1993 World Series Champion squad ... none other than Willie Canate.

Canate came by way of the Cincinnati Reds, who sold his rights to the Toronto Blue Jays in early 1993. He was called up and made his big league debut on April 16th 1993, but collected just seven at bats over two months before going on the DL.

Willie Canate rejoined the Blue Jays just prior to the All-Star Break and hit .250/.354/.325 in 40 at bats the remainder of the season. Wanting to have a fourth outfielder and some speed on the bench, the Blue Jays opted to keep Willie Canate on their playoff roster.

Willie Canate's claim to fame was he got caught in a rundown during Game  5 of the World Series. He was tagged out by Phillies third baseman Dave Hollins. Canate made one pinch run appearance in the series ... and that was it.


And for his troubles on the basepaths, he received a World Series ring. However, Willie Canate never played another game in the Major Leagues after 1993.

Canate has the distinction of being the Blue Jays' position player equivalent of Gary Lavelle; Lavelle made a postseason appearance but failed to record an out, while Canate did not make an at bat, but entered the game as a pinch runner.

Canate spent 1994 and 1995 in the Blue Jays minor league system before playing for the Mexican League in 1997 and subsequently jumped over to the Italian Baseball League from 2002-2005.

But to many, he'll be remembered for that famous rundown on the basepaths.

Images courtesy of 500 Level Fan and Getty Images

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Quest for 90 Wins Begins


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90 wins; at the beginning of the season, it seemed like an insurmountable task for the Toronto Blue Jays. Frankly, it was extremely unrealistic to expect them to finish anywhere even close to that win total in 2014.

But now that lofty goal doesn't seem so impossible anymore.

As the Blue Jays continue to hold their grip as the first place team in the American League East with a 5.5 game lead over their next closest competitor, it's beginning to look a lot more like they could do the unthinkable.

There's no denying the quality of teams coming out of the American League have always been of a high calibre, as the last 13 division winners have finished with no fewer than 95 wins a piece. But this year the squads have been uncharacteristically underwhelming.

So why should the Toronto Blue Jays aim for 90 wins? It's not an arbitrary number, as FanGraphs has the AL East division winner pegged at 90 victories which coincidentally happens to be the Blue Jays.

In order to achieve 90 wins, the Blue Jays need to go 51-46 over their next remaining 96 games. That's a mere five games over .500 the rest of the season, and if the Blue Jays can achieve that they will reach the 90 win benchmark.

Just in case you were curious, here are all the scenarios for all the teams in the American League East to reach 90 wins:

RecordGames LeftTo Reach 90 WinsOver .500 To Reach 90 Wins
Blue Jays    39-269751-465
Orioles  32-3010058-4216
Yankees  31-3110059-4118
Red Sox  28-359962-3725
Rays  24-419766-3135

So not only do the Blue Jays need to play consistent baseball heading into the second half and after they All-Star break, they also need to keep an eye out on their AL East brethren. Although some teams may be down, they aren't out ... at least, not yet. 

Clearly, the two teams to be extremely cognizant of are the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. Aside from the Blue Jays, the Orioles and Yankees have the next closest path to achieving 90 wins.

It's not unreasonable to expect those teams to have a strong second half, and also don't discount the fact that the Orioles and especially the Yankees could load up with players at the trade deadline and significantly bolster their rosters for the home stretch.
 
Any other year, 90 wins might not even be enough to get the Blue Jays within sniffing distance of the postseason. Just ask the 2012 Tampa Bay Rays who had an impressive 90-72 record and still missed out on the playoffs by a full three games.

However, a soft division indicates the 90 win benchmark would be enough at the very least to get the Blue Jays close to the playoffs if not the recipient of a division series in the postseason.

Five games over .500 ... seems like a fairly reasonable goal, right?

Except the fact that as the season drags on into the dog days of summer, pitchers may begin to show signs of fatigue, position players may feel the brunt of playing 81 home games on turf, and just the general overall wear and tear of the grueling schedule.

In fact, it might not even be necessary to set the bar at 90 wins for a team to win the American League East. If the Blue Jays merely play close to .500 ball down the stretch and go 49-48, they'll finish with an 88-74 record.

Considering how the division has performed as of late, perhaps those 88 wins might even be enough to take the AL East crown. However, to play it safe the Blue Jays should ideally target to pick up 90 victories total.

I don't know if teams consciously employ this strategy, but to me it seems like a wise idea for them to have a target to reach for total wins by season's end. 90 wins is a concrete number, and more importantly it's an attainable number for the Toronto Blue Jays.

By using that game plan, the Blue Jays don't have to worry about what other teams are doing within the AL East; they just have to be concerned with getting those 90 victories, whether it's against inter-divisional foes or not.

90 wins won't necessarily guarantee the Blue Jays a postseason berth, but at the very least it should get them in the conversation. Make that 39 wins down, 51 to go.

Image courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Sport

Friday, June 6, 2014

Flashback Friday: Domer the Skydome Mascot


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Whether they want to admit it or not, I think a lot of people have a soft spot in their hearts for mascots. Perhaps it's their big sympathetic eyes, but mascots are a fun and accessible part of the game where often times the players are inaccessible.

Occasionally, we take time to remember our forgotten mascots, and such is the case with this week's Flashback Friday, where we take a look back at Domer; the mascot of Skydome.

Admittedly, I'm going back to the well one more time since Domer was already featured on a Flashback Friday a few years ago. But considering this week marked the 25th anniversary of the Skydome and Domer will be in attendance this evening, it only seemed fitting.

Domer is kind of the forgotten one when it comes to mascots associated with the Toronto Blue Jays, namely because he wasn't a Blue Jays mascot per se ... but a mascot for the Skydome itself; which is quite the rarity in professional sports.

I was lucky enough to hear from Jim Caswell, the illustrator who originally designed Domer. He was kind enough to send his original character sketches, and here's what he had to say about the concept and design of Skydome's first and only mascot:
"With Bearspots Creative Director and Nelvana co-owner, Clive Smith and the marketing VP, Dave Garrick, we worked over a number of weeks to finalize a look and two basic “hero” poses and then I illustrated 10 poses in different costumes.

I designed the look of Domer by a number of sketches, trying different heads, body sizes,etc. and client input.
The direction from the client was to use a turtle as the shell was reminiscent of the dome. Once the black and white version was developed, we used Skydome’s defined PMS colours.

I used Walt Kelly’s Pogo as a starting point to develop a thick thin ink line for the final artwork. Back in those days, it was literally inked artwork. Today, because of the need for flexibility for multiple applications, it would have been produced as vector art."
Here are a few images below of Domer in action, one taken from the commemorative Skydome Opening Celebration magazine (which I happened to pick up for 99 cents a few years back).


And courtesy of Ed at Retrontario, there's this very rare photo of the late John Candy alongside Domer.


Luckily thanks to the advent of Youtube, we can travel back in time and unearth lots of great videos featuring Domer. Judging by the videos below, it looks like Domer was a prominent feature around 1 Blue Jays Way.

The opening of the world's first multi-use retractable roof stadium was like the premiere of a Hollywood blockbuster, which included virtually everything. The reveal of a brand new mascot being just one of them.

Here you can watch Domer's grand entrance during "The Opening of Skydome: A Celebration", which is really nothing more than just a flying balloon of Domer. For many, this was their first introduction to the Skydome's new mascot.




Proving that turtles just can't help but congregate together, Domer meets up with Michaelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Ontario Place.




Here's Domer entertaining the masses during an NBA Game between the Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz at the Skydome.




And for some strange reason, it's Domer inexplicably going down a slide, which I can only assume is at the Canadian National Exhibition.



Featured Domer image courtesy of the ever-awesome Retrontario.
Domer character sketches courtesy of Jim Caswell.
"Make Tracks" image courtesy of Toronto Archives.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Plight of the Weary Blue Jays Fan


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Are the Toronto Blue Jays for real? Can they keep this up? Could they conceivably end their 21 playoff drought this year?

These are questions which I'm sure the collective fanbase of the Blue Jays find themselves asking with each passing day. As the season inches forward and Toronto continues to have stranglehold on the AL East, many are wondering if this is a facade or not.

I don't think anyone can blame the Blue Jays fans for being very cautious about where this team currently sits. After all, we've seen this movie before; the Blue Jays enjoy a great start but fall off the map during the meat of the schedule and the dog days of summer.

For many, the promise of a return to the playoffs and a World Series championship are still fresh in the minds of season ticket holders and even the occasional game-goer. So with that in mind, it's no surprise attendance numbers this season reflect that skepticism.

Quite simply, the Blue Jays didn't deliver last year, so why should they come back this year? After what happened last year, I'd say fans are warranted to be a little fickle and cynical going into 2014.

Perhaps the early gate sales from the 2014 are a reflection of that overall weariness of the Blue Jays fanbase. Compared to last year, attendance is down at the Rogers Centre 161,965 through the first 31 home games.

In 2013, the Blue Jays averaged 29,491 fans per game to begin the season. This year they're averaging just 24,266.

So the ripple effects of snakebit Blue Jays fans are definitely being felt, that combined with construction on Toronto's major routes has given people just another reason to forego a trip to the Rogers Centre.

Another thing that didn't help cultivate the fanbase this offseason was the lack of offseason moves. The Blue Jays needed to upgrade their starting pitching, and for a multitude of reasons they didn't.

If the blockbuster trade with the Marlins, the R.A. Dickey deal and the Melky Cabrera signing were indicators that this organization was committed to building a winner, the "stand pat" strategy last winter did nothing to reinforce that.

Nothing was really done to re-energize the fanbase or reassure ticket holders that this team was still on track to becoming a contender and ending that 21 year playoff drought.

The attraction of watching a first place team now is definitely there, but it's hard to sell a first place team in early June when there's still nearly four months left to play in the season.

It's going to take some time for this team to build back some trust that was eroded last season. And don't expect those weary fans who were already on the fence last year to flock back to the Rogers Centre this year.

In order for attendance to spike up again, the Blue Jays need to win and they need to win on a consistent basis; it really is that simple.

Does that inherently make this fanbase the fairweather variety? I don't believe so. Regardless of the Blue Jays record, there will always be an appetite for baseball in Toronto and even across Canada.

Just look at the loyal fans who sat on the bleachers in Exhibition Stadium during those 100 loss seasons in the late 70's; a young Dan Shulman and Jamie Campbell being just a few of them who would likely attest to that.

The attendance dip is not one that's unique to the Toronto Blue Jays, in fact it's one applies to nearly every team in Major League Baseball. If the team doesn't win, fans won't come to the ballpark. If the team does win, they will show up in droves.

It doesn't help that the Blue Jays play in the same market as the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have bucked nearly every trend when it comes to attendance. Leafs games at the ACC sell out regardless of how well or how poorly the Leafs perform.

In comparison to the fiercely loyal Leafs fan, it may appear as though the Blue Jays fan is a bandwagon jumper; but in reality, that's true for essentially every other franchise in professional sports.

Fans are extremely savvy these days and while the promises of free giveaways or the appeal of an open roof on a nice day may provide a short-term gain here and there, but there's one thing that will always drive attendance through the roof; a pennant.

Image courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Sport

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