August 14th, 2015
By Tyler King
Here’s the understatement of the decade:
Friday night’s game against the New York Yankees will be the most important Blue Jays game since October 23rd, 1993 - the day Joe Carter touched em’ all and the Jays won their second World Series title.
The stakes might not be as high on Friday, as it is just a regular season game. But try telling that to tomorrow’s sold-out crowd of deprived Toronto fans (who have been waiting since 1993 for any meaningful baseball this late in the year).
If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket to the game, take a second at some point and close your eyes. If it weren’t for your iPhone calendar telling you it’s August 14th, I imagine it would be hard to tell that the game wasn’t being played deep in October.
There has been a buzz in the ‘dome of late, the likes of which I’ve certainly never seen in my adult life.
It seems that every game since Anthopoulos blew the team up (in a good way) at the Trade Deadline - acquiring David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, and others - has a playoff atmosphere.
That will likely be most prevalent on Friday - when the Jays and Yankees play a game with no shortage of story lines and potential dramatics.
Always a hotter ticket, the Jays-Yanks rivalry has been amped up given their proximity in the standings and the impending battle for the divisional title.
The Jays are 64-52.... two weeks ago they were 52-51.
The Yankees are 62-51 (two weeks ago they were 57-44).
Toronto, after making up all that ground, now has a half-game lead over the Yankees in the division.
There is also a little history on the line as the Blue Jays make a bid for their 12th straight win. The franchise has won 11-in-a-row four times (including once this season), but they've never had a 12 gamer.
Oh ya, Price will also be pitching for the Jays.
"David Price will also be pitching for the Jays"... hearing that will never get old. I’ve seen him pitch for the Jays twice now - both wins - yet it still seems unbelievable.
If you recall what the roster looked like back in Spring Training, and compare it to the team that takes the field tomorrow, it’ll be hard not feel a bit... overwhelmed (read: giddy).
Where did all these guys come from? And how? (Seriously, AA. HOW?)
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos did his best Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams” impression at the deadline and managed to instantly build a potential contender.
And the fans have been coming ever since.
The past midweek home series against the Oakland Athletics (Tuesday-Thursday) drew an average attendance of 43,627.
(Oh how far they’ve come...)
The last midweek home series - against the Minnesota Twins - had an average attendance of 29,962.
It’s almost hard to believe that at one time, way back in April, they drew (a borderline embarrassing) 16,124 fans per game for a series against the division rival Baltimore Orioles.
But it’s a (completely) new team now. A (totally) different vibe.
If you’re thinking about attending this upcoming weekend series against the Yankees, good luck. It’s been sold out for days.
If you really wanted to go you could always take a second mortgage on your home and dip into the secondary ticket market.
The cheapest upper bowl seats on the ticket resale website “StubHub.com” are going for $60.00 US (roughly infinity dollars Canadian).
If you want to sit down in the 100-level expect to spend a minimum of $150.00 per seat.
There are even tickets listed for as much as $1,700.00.
On Wednesday afternoon the Blue Jays even released - rather sneakily - a bunch of six-game Flex Packs. They only announced the sale through social media, but the priority access to playoff tickets that came with it had many fans scrambling to their computers.
Apparently people waited on the ticket booking website for over three hours just to purchase the Flex Packs. (How do I know this? Because I waited four ...)
But it appears the wait might have been worth it. The ticket packages sold out over night.
...It seems like so long ago when I could head down to the dome after first pitch and for $25.00 I’d have a seat and a hotdog.
That being said, the best hot dog in the world doesn’t taste half as good as this winning streak. I mean, I walk around the ‘dome now and I barely recognize the place. It’s just so ... happy.
The good vibes are also being felt by the guys on the field.
When Mark Buehrle left Thursday’s game in the eighth inning he received one of the loudest ovations I’ve ever heard at the ‘dome. You could even see Buehrle mouth “wow” as he walked off the field, uncharacteristically clapping his glove to acknowledge the fans.
It might be the most animated I’ve seen the veteran left-hander since he joined the Jays in 2012.
It’s at the point now where many fans are even saying that it feels a bit like 1992-1993. I wish I could describe what those World Series days felt like, but I was only four-years-old at the time.
Then again I can tell you exactly how 2015 feels...
‘93 must have been some party.
Follow Tyler and #Section108 on twitter: @tylerjoseph108