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Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

I grew up hating baseball. These Toronto Blue Jays changed that.

Growing up in Alberta, I was never really exposed to baseball as a kid.

In fact, I wasn’t exposed to it at all. I feel like baseball is one of those sports that’s inherited in some way. Your grandfather maybe would sit by the radio tracking the game with a stats sheet, or maybe your father did too.

For me, it was all about hockey and football. I grew up Edmonton Oilers hockey, and I grew up a Chicago Bears fan and am still a diehard to this day.

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I found myself ingrained with thoughts that baseball was, well… a “dumb sport.” I bought into tropes like “the games are too long,” or “there’s not enough action,” or “the players aren’t real athletes,” et cetera, et cetera.

As I grow older, I’ve found these tropes to be the farthest thing from the truth. You see, two years ago I started working at the Nation Network full-time. I got to work closely with guys like Cam Lewis, and Tyler Yaremchuk, both massive Jays fans, and through osmosis I started becoming a Jays fan too.

You see, there are few things I love more than good stories. I went to school to be a Journalist and worked full-time in the news industry in Southern Alberta for years. Working the crime beat more often than not, there was no shortage of interesting stories.

And as I’ve transitioned my career and writing path into sports, that’s never gone away. I love telling stories and I love seeing stories play out.

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These Blue Jays? They’re a big story. The sport as a whole is shrowded in great stories, and that’s part of what’s making it so appealing.

Last year I started to get more and more exposure to the game of baseball by just watching the Jays. I even picked up MLB The Show thinking that since I didn’t grow up playing it, what better way to learn hands-on than by literally playing it?

It was fun to follow the club last season, no doubt. The breakout season from Vladdy, Springer Dingers, and boy, how about Bo?

It’s not hard to see the excitement around the team this year, either. They beefed up the left corner with a defensive stalwart in Matt Chapman, and the stars that are Vladdy and Bo are just getting better and better. The starting rotation has been beefed up with a fresh deal for José Berríos, while the addition of Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi. A beefed-up bullpen should go a long way. (Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Alek Manoah, The Big Man.)

As a whole, I’ve still got loads to learn about the spot. I’m getting there, though, and I hope by exposing myself to baseball by watching and writing about the Blue Jays helps in that. The terminology is largely still foreign to me, but I’m excited to continue to learn.

Call me a bandwagon fan if you will, but the truth is I feel lucky to have been exposed to this beautiful sport at just the right time and boy, am I excited to see what these Blue Jays do.

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So, I hope you welcome me, and my writing, with open arms this year. And if you have any advice, tips, or tricks about following the game, I want to hear all about it.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]


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