After a turbulent decade, the Jays (and Jays fans) are slowly coming back to life, thanks to the shrewd moves of wunderkind GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Four clues the city is catching baseball fever
By Rob Duffy
EXHIBIT ONE: Jays Days at Opera Bob’s
For fans who long for the stadium experience, even when the Jays are on the road, this Dundas and Ossington pub is fast becoming the city’s game-watching hub. Opera Bob’s bi-weekly fan meetup is arguably more fun than the ballpark: The game is broadcast on the big screen, Buck Martinez’s commentary booms from the PA system and the menu features hot dogs, Cracker Jack and beer straight from a soft cooler.
1112 Dundas St. W., 416-536-5585. jaysdaysatoperabobs.wordpress.com.
EXHIBIT TWO: Bleacher Features at the Revue Cinema
The historic Roncesvalles non-profit movie house hosts a monthly showcase of baseball-themed flicks. If you’re just catching on, you’ve already missed the Black Sox drama Eight Men Out, Charlie Sheen’s winning comedy Major League and Sugar, the story of a Dominican teenager struggling to make it in the big leagues. Stay glued to the Revue’s Twitter account (@RevueCinema) for next month’s screening.
$10. 400 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-531-9959. revuecinema.ca.
EXHIBIT THREE The Drunk Jays Fans sober up
Two years ago, Dustin Parkes and Andrew Stoeten were just two alt-bros unleashing profanity-laced post-game tirades on their blog, DrunkJaysFans.com. Since then, the site’s out-of-control popularity has spiralled into a more professional (and, consequently, paying) gig at The Score, where they launched the Getting Blanked blog last September. With its combination of witty observations and new-age sabermetrics, Getting Blanked is the city’s premier site for baseball analysis.
EXHIBIT FOUR: Baseball fans are getting booked
Drunk Jays Fan Dustin Parkes has also devoted his time to founding Getting Booked, Toronto’s first (surely) baseball-themed book club. In the lead up to the 2011 season, the club—which meets at Opera Bob’s, natch—tackled three modern tomes: Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, former Jay reliever Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels and statistics wizard Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2%. July’s discussion will focus on artist Craig Robinson’s book of baseball-themed infographics, Flip Flop Fly Ball.
Next page: Blue Jays timeline—charting the boys in blue’s (mis)fortunes since their early-’90s heyday