Fowles: It’s Not Over Until It’s Over. And Then It’s Over

Stacey May Fowles
October 20 2016 02:24PM

Edwin Encarnacion
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Every year I think it’s going to feel different and every year it feels exactly the same. Somewhere during the last half dozen outs of what is likely the last game of the season, I start to accept our fate and get hit hard with an inexplicable wave of emotion. It doesn’t matter if the Blue Jays are in the bottom of the East at the end of September, or clinging to their World Series hopes during a thrilling October. It doesn’t matter how much I prepare myself for what I know all too well is coming. My gut always delivers the exact same ominous message.

“Baseball is ending,” it warns. “It will be gone soon.”

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Fowles: Looking Back Before Looking Forward

Stacey May Fowles
October 13 2016 12:18PM

Dioner Navarro
Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Because the Jays did away with the face-punch-loving Texas Rangers in the fewest number of days possible, we’ve had an entire luxurious work week not only to take a deep breath and get our lives back in order (as I’ve written before, meaningful baseball really messes with your ability to be a functional adult), but also to dissect and analyze what our chances are against Cleveland going into the ALCS. We’ve had ample time read all the comparisons and predictions, to review all the stats, to develop an intense fear of Corey Kluber, and to understand why we should never use their team name (that last one should only take a few seconds.)

But what I personally like to do before every important game or series is not add up all the available numbers and furiously forecast possible outcomes, but instead take stock of everything that came before it. For me, this generous little break has been less about terrified anticipation, and more about thoughtful reflection on the topic of who we are (a really great team), and how exactly we got here (baseball magic). In fact, after I got some much-needed sleep, I was finally able to remind myself how grateful I am to even be worrying about the postseason at all. And after a near week of submerging myself in said gratitude I’ve actually become surprisingly relaxed, sentimentally playing a filmic montage of great 2016 season moments in my mind.

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Fowles: Never Say Die

Stacey May Fowles
October 06 2016 10:27AM

Edwin Encarnacion
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

In the replay of Edwin Encarnacion’s eleventh inning, Wild Card game-winning home run, there is a shot of a smiling woman in the stands, exuberantly clutching a homemade sign that reads, “Never Say Die.”

It’s a phrase that best characterizes everything we’ve endured during the Jays 2016 season up until this point. It’s a description of a couple of months of baseball that have, on any given game day, felt painfully up in the air, if not hanging by a thread. That feeling, of course, has its own inherent reward; if things ultimately go well, you get to feel the way I’m sure a lot of us were feeling after Tuesday’s game. Elation. Joy. Hope. Gratitude. The experience of anything being possible.

"It was pretty similar to [Bautista's] home run last year, to be honest.” Osuna commented on Encarnacion’s blast. “It was unbelievable."

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Fowles: The Last Regular Season Home Game

Stacey May Fowles
September 29 2016 01:46PM

Hyun Soo Kim
Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

For a moment, let’s forget the painful, jealous feelings induced by watching the Boston Red Sox win the AL East last night. Let’s forget that the division really should have been ours, if not for an inexplicable early September implosion we’re still not over. In fact, let’s just go ahead and forget about wildcard races, and clinches, and those pesky magic numbers altogether. Let’s put all the basebrawls, and injuries, and bullpen doubts right out of our minds. Let’s ignore the crushing fears, and anxieties, and aspirations that have consumed our lives over the last month or so.
 
And though it’s seemingly impossible, let’s temporarily disregard the promise and potential of another October.
 
Today, my friends, is the very last regular season home game for your Toronto Blue Jays this year. It’s a game that usually requires a sweater and a package of Kleenex—the sunny, bare-shouldered, open-domed days at the ballpark now a distant summer memory, with the cold, miserable chill of a baseball-less winter waving a grim hello in the distance. I make sure I go to this particular game every year, one I designate to pay homage to my team and all they have given me, regardless of where they sit in that great, exuberant race to the World Series.

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Fowles: "Hope" is the Thing with (Blue Jay) Feathers

Stacey May Fowles
September 15 2016 06:28PM

Michael Saunders
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s anything the last few weeks of baseball have taught us, it’s that you just never know with this glorious, terrible, beautiful, infuriating game. Sure, you can guess. You can rely on the math, surround yourself with stats, and use the past to make predictions about the future. You can deal in odds and chances. You can say who is looking good and who is looking bad, who is hot and who is not.  But in the end, the game is always so unpredictable and infuriatingly inexplicable. It rarely does what you expect it to do, and it definitely refuses to do what you tell it to.

Mostly, it just asks you to hope.

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