Toronto Blue Jays stars are in Ottawa for a whirlwind tour to meet fans and take in a Senators game while they eagerly await the new Major League Baseball season.
'It's a pretty cool thing having the entire country behind you.' - Jays pitcher Marco Estrada
Pitcher Marco Estrada told reporters gathered at the Brookstreet Hotel that the fans were a big factor in his decision to sign a new contract with the team.
"The main reason I wanted to come back was because of all the love and support that we're getting from Canada," he said. "You're not just playing for Toronto — it's the entire country. So it's a pretty cool thing having the entire country behind you."
While in the nation's capital, Estrada, infielders Ryan Goins and Justin Smoak, and outfielder Kevin Pillar visited the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.
"This is the first time I've ever done something like this, and I guess to get broken in this way is pretty impressive, said Smoak. "There's been a lot of people talking it up."
After a successful 2015 season that saw the Jays reach the American League Championship Series and win the hearts of fans across the country, the team is eager to get back on the field.
The winter tour has taken them to Fredericton, N.B. and Toronto. They'll wrap up their Ottawa visit with a Senators game Friday night, and a meet-and-greet with fans at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre on Saturday.