I’m gonna be honest.
I sheepishly need to confess that I am a bandwagon jumper and currently caught up in Blue Jays fever.
It’s been that way since last season actually. When we (yes, I now say ‘we’) made that improbable run to the playoffs in the 2nd half of that season, I’ve been on board said bandwagon ever since.
I’ve watched more baseball in a year than I have in my entire life. I know the players, coaches, and some stats even. It’s kinda pathetic I know.
I’m not entirely proud of this. I have strong opinions of how brutally wrong I think major league sports have become. I have at times made those opinions known. It is entirely about money. If there weren’t buckets of money being made via TV advertising, team paraphernalia sales, ticket pricing, player contracts, agents, food and beverage stands, and the list goes on, there’d be no Blue Jays or Maple Leafs or any other team anywhere. (except curling of course, which I still am proud to say I love)
The money that players command each season in order to play on a major league sports team is honestly just plain obscene. When I think about the fact that every night in Toronto around 4000 shelter beds are full of folks with no home, and then compare it to the knowledge that some players make over $20,000,000USD annually, I scratch my head in wonder as to how the heck we got here.
4 of our (yes ‘our’, sheesh) best players on the Jays team made $55,000,000USD this year. I know that just 4 people’s annual salaries, to play baseball for 162 games per year and get 4 months off, is equal to the amount a shelter like Gateway would need to run for 20 years.
That’s 20 years!!!
110ish beds every night, 40ish full and part time staff salaries, over 100,000 meals, counseling, clinic, social programs, job training, and a whole lot more, for 20 years.
That’s just plain wrong.
But yet I’m a participant in it. I stayed up late the other night eating and drinking crap while watching the wild card game with one of my buddies. It went into extra innings until finally, just before midnight, one of our guys hit a 3-run home run in the 11th inning and won the game for us. I was one of I suspect millions of people who were ecstatic about it. But still in my heart there was a tinge of guilt.
Then, early the very next very next morning, there was a touch of redemption. I was at Gateway for something and ran into a bunch of guys there that I knew. They were in a really good mood. They watched the game the night before and were so very happy that the Jays won. I guess it helped them forget for a few moments their difficulties in life. There was something to be distracted by and excited about in the midst of all of life’s pain. The front desk staffers were also in a great mood. Everything there felt just a little lighter. It was cool to experience and be a small part of.
And, as the streets so often do, it taught me something. It helped me to relax a little about feeling guilty to be a Jays fan. It’s a distraction. It helps take my mind off of my own difficulties in life for just a few moments and enjoy cheering for my team. It isn’t a fix for my problems. It doesn’t make all of the injustices of the greed and gluttony of it all right, but it shows a glimpse of what a hobby or a pastime can do to bring a little light into a life that might otherwise be filled with darkness. And that’s a good thing.
Plus, an added bonus that I guess another secret pleasure is knowing that the teams we are beating up on in these playoffs have quite a few players making way more money than any of the Jays are; including a pitcher that makes $22M that our guys made look like I could do a better job☺
So, sheepishly I say, Go Blue Jays!!!