Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've Never Liked the Blue Jays

It seems like a lifetime ago when the Brewers played in the American League, and sometimes I have to convince myself that they actually did. There were different teams, different matchups, different rivalries. If last week I told you it wasn't the Twins that I hated, then which team was it? Judging by the title of this posting and the picture included, you'd be correct if you answered the Toronto Blue Jays.

I was only 8 years old during the playoff run in 1992, in a time before the wild card and three division winners. If the Brewers were going to make the playoffs, they had to outright win the AL East. They finished 92-70 that year, but were four games back of those unreachable Toronto Blue Jays, which broke my little heart. The Blue Jays went on to win the World Series.

I was so upset, I can honestly remember that as the first time I ever truly experienced hatred towards a given thing. As new as those feelings were, they were strong. I hated Toronto. The feeling only got worse when the next year Paul Molitor, my second favorite Brewer (Robin Yount was #1), crossed the border to play for the Blue Jays. That was also the first time I recall understanding that while fans have loyalty to a given team, players usually do not. It's just not the nature of the business.

The 1993 Blue Jays were even better than the '92 version, once again winning the World Series. The Brewers that year, by the way, went 69-93 to finish last in the AL East. I still remember the 1993 All-Star game, which was hosted in Toronto, and I swear half that team was made of up Blue Jays. Including my old friend Paul Molitor. The heart, now nine-years old, was broken again.

It's been 15 years since I've harbored those feelings against the Blue Jays, and now they have a squad with a completely different roster, unrecognizable from the teams that came before them. As for Paul Molitor, his number hangs on the rafters at Miller Park, and he has been forgiven. But as the Blue Jays come into town, I think of the younger version of myself, and how the 1992 and 1993 seasons molded me as a sports fan. I certainly don't hate Toronto anymore, as nothing heals wounds better than time (and a league switch, and lack of relevance for that matter). But, for the next three days, I am going to hate the Blue Jays with everything I have, and hope for some sort of payback against them.

I owe that to my 8 year old self.


Anonymous said...

As I recall, we low-balled Molitor. We could have had him back but expected a home-town discount. Its a shame, though. His departure was the start of the Brewers downfall.

Anonymous said...

You gotta admit Joe Carter's home run was sweet though.

Mark said...

Once Molitor left for the Jays, my loyalties actually followed him, almost to the point where my fandom of the Jays equaled the Brewers. (Fortunately, that's changed quite a bit since then.) I was also 8 during that 1992 season, and as much as it hurt to lose out the division to the Jays, I still loved everything about them. Still not really sure why.

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