The Toronto Blue Jays may have clinched the American League East division title, but moving forward all attention is focused on their first play-off run in 22 years. It all starts Thursday against the American League West-champion Texas Rangers.
But the success of the Jays is causing some heartache for a certain group of fans plagued by one seemingly simple question: Is it truly possible to hate Toronto and love the Blue Jays?
Last week, we heard from a panel including the perspective of sports journalists, baseball enthusiasts, and Toronto-haters. The following are some of the points they made, plus a few of our own.
At least they're not the Toronto Maple Leafs
"The Leafs are probably one of the least successful sports teams in the history of human civilization. For that reason there is intense pent up frustration. The Blue Jays are another animal." -Albert Nerenberg, co-director of the documentary, Let's All Hate Toronto
The Jays belong to Canada — not Toronto
"What's better than watching a sports event that has lots of drama, [where] everyone is cheering for the same team. It doesn't mean that you're ready to move to Toronto and forsake all your previous acrimony for the city. The Blue Jays are kind of separate from Toronto — I think they are more national than that." -Robin Brown, sports journalist who grew up a Blue Jays fan
Saskatoon's Don Sparrow hosted a party for the Blue Jays home opener
There's no shame in celebrating success
"Following this team [is a chance] to build community, not only within the city but nation-wide. And those interactions with people who aren't ordinarily baseball fans — it's a unique experience."
-Michael Baumann, baseball writer for Grantland
Blue Jays are majestic birds
There's no denying their beauty.
You can listen to our panel on Blue Jays fans who hate Toronto here: