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I’m all in on rooting for Edwin and Josh

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 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:

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.

  • The Humungus

    “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”

    No, it wasn’t. Because I was cheering wildly, as I have been a Marlins fan as my secondary franchise since day one.

    Is it any wonder that I didn’t actually watch a lot of baseball this year?

      • The Humungus

        You and I both know all too well what Bills fans are like. So, when I picked an NFL team when I was 10, I picked the Dolphins, because a)Dan Marino was awesome and would pass for 6,000 yards in today’s NFL; and b)Bills fans suck.

        So, when the Marlins came in the league, they played in the same stadium and wore the same colours, it was natural to get some of my interest. Then they took a Jays prospect (and a Canadian no less) with their first pick in the expansion draft, so they had that. Finally, in July ’93 they traded for Sheffield who was my favourite player at the time, and I was hooked.

        • Ryan Di Francesco

          Marino is a legend. And it makes sense why you ended up liking the fish. But, geez man I miss crossing the boarder for chicken wings. Toronto wings are overpriced and just bad. St. Catharines does the chicken wing justice though.

  • Oz Rob

    I’m rooting for Cleveland. Always had a soft spot for them, mostly because they were so bad for so long when I was a kid. I remember going to doubleheaders at the Ex and they always seemed to be against Cleveland. In the good old days when you could get a lot of autographs before the game I was politely hassling Andre Thornton for one as he was talking to another player at the batting cage and he kept looking over and smiling. He finally came over and was so friendly and chatty. I only found out later that he’d had a tragic past with his wife and daughter passing away in a car accident. He was a favourite of mine after that. Be great also to see Edwin and JD at least get to the World Series and hopefully lift the burden off of Tony Fernandez.

    • Oz Rob

      Is it still possible to get autographs before the game at Rogers Centre? I hope so. Those were great experiences at the Ex. It was interesting to see the differences in team ‘cultures’ at the time. Some would just freeze you out, some would be totally into it. I got 18 Chicago White Sox autographs with barely even trying! My biggest coup was getting Dennis Eckersley during the 1978 season, my favourite player at the time and another nice guy. Man, I’m getting all nostalgic, feel like writing a retro piece about the old days! Anyone old enough to remember the photo days at the Ex? You’d go on the field and take pictures of the players. Some would pose with you. Most did not have a clue and were like statues except Damaso Garcia…he’d just wrap his arm around you and goof around…fantastic. That kid with Donaldson will be stoked for life with that experience playing catch.

  • dolsh

    If Cleveland is going to break the curse, they may as well do it with the assistance of a couple of the best former Jays around.

    Also, Fernandez is the best.

  • Oz Rob

    Look at this gem from a Sportsnet article today. Great quote from Joe Sheehan, overseer of the analytics department about Gurriel:

    “If you think about it, we had three months last year, now we have six months of data [this year],” says Sheehan. “We have nine months total and two-thirds of it is this season. So, two-thirds of what we know about him is based on 2018.”

    Man, they can do the math! We are in good hands folks!

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      Ha ha! Boy, you sure have me convinced that you’re smarter than Joe Sheehan. That’s why he’s a widely respected club data analyst and you’re a rando trying to win applause from kids on the internet for snarking your betters.

  • DAKINS

    On the other hand, I’m a bit tired of Cleveland getting nice things at Toronto’s expense, so no. Thanks Lebron for leaving again!

    On the other-other hand, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck Trevor Bauer forever and ever. May he never win anything.

  • VK63

    Luhnow can join Beane and Epstein on the “you failed” sidelines.
    He can then get his favourite shill Ben Reiter to “explain” it to us in the most revisionist way possible.

    • Ryan Di Francesco

      Hahaha…Fernandez is a true proper legend. A lot of people who rag on that play forget that Cleveland wouldn’t have even been in that game or had the lead if it weren’t for Tony.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    EE and JD combined for 0-8 today. For those cheering for EE, it’s hard to see why. He made numerous claims of wanting to continue with Toronto, but then turned down their 80/4 offer, and made it clear that he only wanted to play for Toronto if he could be sure he was gouging more out of them than anyone else would pay. I’m glad to see him down $20 million for that little show, while we have Nate Pearson. Pearson now is so. much more valuable an asset than EE that its a joke.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    JD has a chance for a hit today with a left-handed pitcher starting for the Astros. ‘MVP’ (I don’t say that to mock JD but instead the trolls who claim our FO traded an “MVP”) JD is really little more than a platoon player in his mid-30’s. His OPS vs. righthanders this year is a decidedly non-MVP .756. And that doesn’t include his 0-8 so far in the playoffs.

  • Ronan

    Ryan,

    I’ve really enjoyed some of your work in the past – you clearly love the game of baseball and clearly don’t lack knowledge as far as it applies to Blue Jays history – but I find myself saddened by this post…why do you feel the need to let people know that though you have love for Cleveland, you’re not a racist (not one reader on this site would have assumed that, this isn’t Reddit, from my experience on here, people are here to read about their Blue Jays, not hate on one another for ridiculous reasons or are that quick to make foolish judgements), and also, why waste so much energy calling other people assholes, etc? All that negativity really ruined a beautiful story, Ryan. Looking forward to your next one, cheers.