The 2018 American League brackets are set and, ah, some Jays fans don’t know who to cheer for, or aren’t going to cheer for any remaining AL teams. And our friend Minor Leaguer is one of those fans.
I don't think I can cheer for any of the remaining AL teams.
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) October 4, 2018
I get it – sort of. I mean, fuck the Yankees and Red Sox. And fuck Houston because of Roberto Osuna even though there are a lot of awesome humans on that roster and pretty damn skilled ones that you could cheer for.
So most Jays fans aren’t in on the Yankees, Red Sox, or Houston. And many Jays fans are against the idea of supporting Cleveland because of the eleventh hour trade involving Josh Donaldson. Oh, and, ya know, the whole racist logo thing. And, of course, because of ‘shatkins’ or is it ‘shapkins’?
A lot of Jays fans out there are like fuck Cleveland because of the JD trade. And fuck Cleveland because of Shapiro and Atkins. And fuck Cleveland because of their logo.
You can roll your eyes, but here’s the thing: I’m all in on Cleveland – have been for years – and that doesn’t make me a racist, who is cool with the logo or the name of the team. I’m not. And I don’t support Trevor Bauer either. He is an embarrassingly big tool. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of MLB teams have one of these on their roster these days.
If you read my stuff, you know that Cleveland has been my second favourite team since I was just a little squirt. I think that it’s fair to say that most Jays fans have a second favourite team or have hopped on a couple different ‘fanwagons’ over the baseball years. I have had only one: Cleveland.
And that’s the reason why I have been pretty pro-Shapiro in my articles because I know what he has done in Cleveland. I witnessed, as a fan, Shapiro building the farm and drafting, which made the team what it is today. I have also seen the upgrades that he has made to Progressive Field.
So the truth is, I have always been confused by the nonsensical discourse of Jays fans who don’t get what Shapiro did in Cleveland, or how he built an organization that became a high school for great baseball executives, or how Cleveland has had more success than Toronto has had…Anywho, I don’t want to travel down that ranty road today.
My stepdad is a huge Cleveland fan, as some of you readers already know, and I was lucky enough to drive down there every summer as a kid and watch baseball at old Municipal Stadium. The pillars were big. The stadium was empty. And a couple fans banged the tribal drum in the outfield.
I got to watch Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga, Sandy Alomar, and Charles Nagy. I’m not going to go on and on about my childhood Cleveland memories. But, I’ve loved this team for a long time.
My heart has been in Cleveland since I was an 11-year-old boy, and it always will be. And you might not have the same connection that I have with this team. Your heart might not have been broken back in the day when Tony Fernandez, one of my all-time favourite Jays, missed a weakly hit grounder in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series against the dumb Marlins. Cleveland was 3 outs away from winning their first World Series since 1948…ugh. And we think 1993 was a long time ago.
But in my longtime Fernandez defence, he hit the are-you-kidding-me dinger in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1997 ALCS against the Trash Birds to win the pennant. And it was Fernandez who also drove in the first two runs of Game 7 of the World Series against the dumb Marlins. I love Fernandez.
I digress. Back with the who to cheer for and being all in on something. Last year, it was kind of easy to be all in on Adam Lind or Brandon Morrow. This year though, because it’s Cleveland, it’s difficult for Jays fans to get all in on JD and uncle Eddie, who were a major part of the core that brought back the ruckus to the Dome. So I say, fuck that shit. These two ex-Jays are goddamn legends and without them none of that awesome stuff would’ve happened.
So why not cheer for them now? I’m all in on JD and uncle Eddie breaking the curse of Chief Wahoo. Josh Donaldson is one of the most talented Blue Jays to ever set foot on the Rogers carpet and let’s not ever forget that. Any reasonable Jays fan would agree with this.
Most fans, including me, were howling for Vladdy to be called up all season long, forgetting about what an incredible third baseman the Jays already had. And in fairness, it was easy to forget the Bringer of Rain this year with the dead arm and calf stuff that derailed his season here in Toronto, as he only played in a handful of games.
Before the 2018 season began, I wrote a piece called ‘If this is Josh Donaldson’s Final Season As a Blue Jay, Let’s Enjoy It’ and unfortunately we never had the chance to. But, we can enjoy watching him hit dingers off of Osuna. And we can enjoy watching him hit dingers against the stupid Red Sox or dumb Yankees, too. And I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple Edwin dingers mixed in there, as well.
Josh Donaldson might not be the perfect poster boy for MLB. He might not have been that top prospect that broke into the league at 20. He will never be able to step outside the long shadow cast by Mike Trout. But, he’s one of the best players in the game. And he also does things like this:
What we know: @BringerOfRain20 played catch with a young fan Wednesday in Tampa.
What we didn't know: Josh signed Ethan's baseball with the message, "To Ethan, Thanks for playing catch."
It just doesn't get any better than that. 😭❤️
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 14, 2018
I wanted to write about this when it happened, but the story had been covered so much I figured there was no point. However, it does show just how cool of a guy JD is because he didn’t have to do that. And you know he didn’t do it for the cameras – not a chance in hell. He made that kid’s day.
I will never forget when Joe Carter waved at me when he was warming up in the on-deck circle at Municipal Stadium back in the early nineties. I looked around because I wasn’t sure who he was waving at. And then I looked back at him and he pointed at me and waved again. It was one cool moment for this Jays fan, who at the time was only 12-years-old.
Sure Cleveland might have one too many Trump supporters. Sure Cleveland might have a racist logo. Sure Trevor Bauer is an arrogant know-it-all tool, but screw all that stuff. Josh Donaldson is one of the greatest Blue Jays of all time and there’s no shame in wanting to see him have success even if it’s not in blue. And there’s no reason not to cheer on uncle Eddie, too.
My heart is always going to be Blue Jays first, and it will always be Cleveland second.