Politics

Blue Jays get last laugh in election day scheduling conflict

On Monday, as politicians plead with supporters to go out and mark their X on a ballot, they will have some tough competition for the attention of many voters. And the main party leaders have no one to blame for the situation but themselves.

After campaigning party leaders jinxed the end of the regular season, it's time for revenge

Blue Jays leaders' curse?

6 years ago
1:19
Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau agree over Twitter not to attend any more Blue Jays games after three losses with party leaders in attendance 1:19

On Monday, as politicians make their final pleas with supporters to go out and mark their X on a ballot, they will have some tough competition for the attention of many voters.

On election day — Monday, Oct. 19 — the Toronto Blue Jays will host the Kansas City Royals in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

That means about 50,000 people will be packed into the stands at the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto rather than lining up to cast their ballot that night. Millions more will be watching the baseball game on television at home or in licensed establishments, while polls are still open in much of the country.

The first pitch is at 8:07 p.m. ET. Polls close in that time zone at 9:30, which leaves precious little time for Jays fans to #cometogether and #pledgetovote.

Elections Canada is well aware of the problem and views it as a "regional voting issue."

It is concerned what impact this may have on polling stations near the stadium as voters contend with extra traffic chaos.

However, other than encouraging people to get out early to beat the traffic and vote, the agency's hands seem tied. 

Past elections haven't been delayed by natural disasters such as the Manitoba floods in 1997, and the Constitution is mute on conflicts between elections and sporting events.

Major League Baseball says its playoff schedule was announced months ago, and it is impossible to plan for every eventuality.

The league also points out it must schedule Game 6 of the World Series for Nov. 3 this year — which is voting day in the U.S. for hundreds of municipalities, three gubernatorial races and many other special elections.

Jose Bautista, Number 19 of the Toronto Blue Jays, can make the nation jump for joy even if he can't vote here. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

How did this happen?

Canada's election date was set more than four years ago. Major League Baseball set the series schedule months ago. The fact the Jays are guaranteed to play in Game 3 of the ALCS was determined on Wednesday by Jose Bautista.

Toronto's right fielder launched a ball deep into the left-field stands during the seventh inning — over the heads of his two teammates already on base — and putting his team on course to win the deciding game in a series against the Texas Rangers to advance to this series against the Royals.

The superstitious might say the main party leaders themselves are partly to blame for the pending gridlock in Canada's largest city on voting day.

Tom Mulcair, Stephen Harper, and Justin Trudeau each attended a different Blue Jays game in the final stretch of the regular season.

Each time the Jays lost.

The Royals finished the season with two more wins than Toronto, thereby securing home-field advantage for the series.

Had the Jays won just two of those three games attended by a federal leader, they would have finished tied with the Royals in the standings and secured home-field advantage for this series via a tiebreak. That would have put Games 3, 4 and 5 in Kansas City rather than Toronto.

All of this isn't likely to make much difference for the players themselves — only three Blue Jays are Canadian citizens.

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