Just in case your Blue Jays focus had started to drift back toward the current club and away from the sweet, merciful relief that is dreaming on 2018, the Jays and the league would like you to have a look straight into the future. The Jays’ 2018 schedule has arrived! (As you can see very partially above, and in full at the bottom of this post.)
- HOLY FOUR O’CLOCK SATURDAY GAMES! There are nine of them on the schedule this season, with just four Saturday home starts landing at 1 PM ET. Not everybody loves the 4 PM Saturday start time as much as I do — since the idea was first seriously floated by the club earlier this summer I’ve heard from people who love how much of their day is left after a 1 PM weekend start, and those out west who much prefer to turn the game on early — and I feel for those folks a little bit here (though they still get four 1 PM Saturday starts, and all of the Sunday ones), but holy shit, this is awesome. For those who live in the city centre and like to go and experience the game in person, there is absolutely nothing better than having a few hours before the game, then spilling out of the Rogers Centre at seven or eight o’clock into the middle everything. I don’t know if this change is entirely about that — maybe the players had input, or the folks watching the TV ratings — but making a concerted effort to better cater to these people would seem to me to make a whole lot sense. There’s a lot of money out there within walking distance of the Dome, gate receipts are a vital revenue source, and so maybe that’s reason enough for updating the balance between family friendly weekend games (which there are still plenty of) and ones that appeal to a perhaps more free-spending segment of the fan base. Whatever the reason, this is great! Y’know, for me. I might actually go to a weekend game again next year!
- Conspiracy theorists take note: the Jays have four different pricing tiers for tickets (technically five, if you count the two “A+” games on Opening Day and Canada Day), and the lowest level ones are due to return for midweek games against the Rays and Astros in September. THEY DON’T EXPECT TO BE IN A PLAYOFF RACE!!! (Note to anyone who takes this seriously: fuck off).
- Opening Day is a 3:37 PM ET start on Thursday, March 29th. That’s a pretty good way to kick off a long weekend! The following day is Good Friday, though the Jays don’t take advantage of the fact in order to play early, opting for their more usual 7:07 PM ET first pitch. Probably because of all the people who would be in church earlier in the day LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
- Victoria Day is on May 21st, and the Blue Jays have an off day during a home stand. Because who would want a giant Monday afternoon gate in May, amiright? I mean, I know that the Jays can’t get every single holiday date that they want, and that making a 30 team schedule work must be a difficult thing (it takes your average video game, like, a whole five or six seconds to spit one out!), but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to point out where opportunities for big holiday crowds are lost, and this is one of them — therefore it’s dumb. (That is, unless the Jays have found that so many people are out of the city and at the cottage on that weekend that it’s not actually a boon at all — I can tell you that it’s always a nightmare to have a show booked on that weekend. But… no, it’s dumb.)
- The Jays get the Tigers on July 1st, Canada Day, for a 1 PM ET Sunday start, and then the Tigers stick around for another 1 PM ET start on the holiday Monday. That’ll play!
- The Jays are off, as it feels like they always are, on the August Civic Holiday, but there’s a twist to this one: though they don’t play on the holiday Monday, the Jays will spend that weekend in Seattle. HOLY PISSBABIES! So you’re telling me the invading B.C. hordes will have an extra day to get back home before their next work week starts? That’s fucking awesome. Look out for a wild Sunday night of drunk Canadians, Seattle! (Maybe try to be a little more like Chicago next time.)
- The Jays play at home on Labour Day! It’s a 7 PM ET start against the Rays, which… I’d complain but I wonder if this is simply accommodating the players, who play in Miami on the Sunday, then will have to travel back to Canada, and probably wouldn’t prefer to (or maybe aren’t even allowed to by the CBA — please don’t make me look it up) get going right away the next afternoon.
- Thanksgiving is Monday, October 8th. The Jays have a much better chance of playing that day than you think.
- The Jays open with a four game home set against the Yankees, beginning on Thursday, March 29th. Having a team that plays indoors start at home on Opening Day? WHAT A NOVEL FUCKING CONCEPT.
- I’m a little concerned about what the fact that the league has (smartly) shifted Opening Day to a Thursday means for the Jays’ annual trip to Montréal. With the novelty perhaps wearing off as it is, how well does it work as a midweek trip? Because… can they do it the weekend previous and then head back down to Dunedin for tuneups on Monday and Tuesday before flying up to Toronto? I suppose that works, but it’s not exactly ideal. (A midweek event would sure test the mettle of the Montréal revival movement, though, I suppose. But who could resist it, if, say, they brought young Vladdy with them.)
- The Jays and the dumbfuck Rangers will be finished with each other by the end of April! We go to Texas for a weekend set on April 6-8, with the dumb Rangers coming back here for three games on the 27th.
- Sorry to Jays fans in Manitoba who make the trek down to Minneapolis, as you get to hope for decent weather at Target Field on from April 30th to May 2nd.
- The schedule in April isn’t a total nightmare, it doesn’t look too daunting, but it’s hardly easy. The Jays get the Yankees to start the year, but that’s balanced with a visit from the White Sox. A road trip through Texas, Baltimore, and Cleveland is a bit scary (at least it doesn’t include the Trop, though!), then the Jays come home for a quick three with the dumb Royals, before scooting to New York for four more with the Yankees — eight in total with them in April! — before coming home to host the Red Sox and Rangers. All that said, any early look at the schedule for this season wouldn’t have indicated the horrors in store. So…
- May… happens. The Red Sox visit early in the month, then the Jays go to Fenway at the end, meaning the two clubs will have played each other nine times by the end of the month.
- The Jays visit the Mets for a two-game midweek “series” on the 15th and 16th. That’s the week heading into the Victoria Day long weekend, so go ahead and make your New York plans last a little longer (the only Jays games you’ll miss will be the dumb A’s coming into the Dome for four that weekend).
- Another NL visit in May is a weekend series in Philadelphia. Underrated city! Make the trip!
- June sees a visit from the Nationals and the Jays’ first “west coast” trip, with four games in Anaheim and three in Houston. Atlanta visits for a mini series on the 19th and 20th — perhaps the return of R.A. Dickey???
- The Jays get the Mets on the two days after Canada day. They visit Atlanta for two in July — balmy! — then go to Boston for four as they head into the All-Star break.
- The Jays come out of the All-Star break with an easy schedule compared to the awful 10 game road trip (Cleveland, Boston, Detroit) they went straight into after this past one: they host Baltimore and Minnesota for three games each, then go on a cross-continental trip that takes them to face the White Sox, A’s, and then ends in Seattle on the aforementioned Civic Holiday weekend.
- The Jays go to Kansas City at one point, and the Phillies visit. Meh.
- The month starts in Miami and ends — hang on to your playoff hopes — at the dreaded Trop. In between they host the Rays for three and Cleveland for four. They then go on a make-or-break trip through Boston, New York, and Baltimore. It’s then four at home with the Rays, three presumably tough ones with Houston, and then the year-ending trip to Tampa. Uh… that could be easier! I mean, it probably won’t matter. But it might!