First time you've been in the midst of pennant race? You should know ...
By Bob Elliott
As an eight-year old, I recall my favorite player Eddie Matthews and the Milwaukee Braves beating the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series.
But the daily ebb and flow of a race?
That didn’t come until years later.
So, while it has been 22 years this October since the Blue Jays were in the World Series, it’s been longer than that for young people to celebrate the ENORMITY of each victory and suffer in the COLLAPSE of each defeat.
If you are roughly 30 years of age or younger, then this is your first pennant experience.
As a first timer there are some things you should know ...
That the Toronto Blue Jays will lose again before Oct. 4, even after losing when five outs away from a 1 1/2 lead Friday night.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos will not wave his magic wand to bring in six new quality players the final few days of this month too.
He might bring in six early next month but they will pinch-run and help in the bullpen when the score is seven runs ... either way.
The New York Yankees have actually been through this whole exercise in the past 22 years.
The 20-year-old who pitches the ninth inning (Roberto Osuna) sometimes gives up hits and runs.
Neither Chris Colabello nor Ryan Goins have won the American League MVP award before.
You will learn to cha-cha-cha ... half a game up, half a game back ... cha-cha-cha.
The Blue Jays are not the Sunnyvale Nationals ... the last team Troy Tulowitzki joined which went 13-0 after he was in the lineup. His Little League team went 40-0 back then.
Don’t boo the manager when the reliever gives up a run. It’s the same manager who gave the ball to the same reliever earlier this month.
Be careful of jumping off the bandwagon after that first loss, because you can badly sprain an ankle or hurt your back. If you do jump make sure no one behind you lands on you.
It is not obligatory for players to grow unruly beards at any point in the hopes of making the playoffs, although the Boston Red Sox channelled their inner hockey player a few years back.
Tulowitzki hasn’t even begun to hit yet.
The manager and GM are not likely to be rewarded with $6 million per year contracts in the next week.
That two extended win streaks in the same season don’t guarantee a World Series title - or even winning a Series game. The 1954 Indians were swept four straight by the New York Giants … which, given your youth, was not a football team.
Playoffs in baseball do not involve a 2 1/2 month war of attrition, ending in time for the next year’s spring training.
Baseball is not either Canada’s official winter sport OR summer sport - but maybe it should be. Associations from coast to coast reported increased registration after the Jays World Series wins.
There’s no tradition of getting to take the Series trophy home for 24 hours in the off-season to drink with a player’s buddies.
It is not absolutely essential that Toronto have a female mayor in order that the Jays win the Series (although they’ve never done it with a male in office).
It isn’t essential that Canada have a female prime minister in office for the Jays to win the Series (although the last time they did, there was).
Before you argue whether the winner of the R.A. Dickey-Noah Syndergaard Game 3 Series match up validates the winner of the Jays-New York Mets trade, worry about staying ahead of the Yankees ... and the Baltimore Orioles ... and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Don’t expect the Yankees to need replay -- a double, fan interference or a home run -- to score one run in three games next month when the Jays visit the Bronx.
It’s awully tough to win a game as legendary scout Gary Hughes often says in the late innings.
How tough? The Jays won the 1985 American League title with 99 wins, went up 3-1 against the Kansas City Royals and lost Game 6 and Game 7 at home. A grown man remembers as a 12-year-old crying so long and loud when Jim Sundberg tripled to right his wise father opened the door and said “the sun will come up tomorrow son.”
How hard was it to win a game in 1987 as the Jays lost the final seven straight including the Melt Down in Mo-Town and the narrowest of margins a 1-0 loss in Game 162 on a Larry Herndon homer? The pork chops in the visiting clubhouse at Tiger Stadium sat untouched for an hour that Sunday afternoon.
How hard was it finishing two games out in 1988 and again in 1990?
Or reaching post season in 1989 and 1991 losing in five games first against the Oakland A’s and two years later against the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS?
Those Jays fans suffered before they celebrated.
There are going to be some exciting moments, some heart breaking innings and at-bats, but most of all there will be memorable moments.
The Jays are similar to the St. Louis Blues, who haven’t been to a Cup Final since 1970, although they’ve had good regular seasons or the Detroit Lions, who have never played in a Super Bowl.
Just one bit of do-not-forget advice from this educational piece of wisdom.
Don’t allow your wife to tell your 12-year-old son he can’t go to Game 6 or the 1993 World Series ... that he could go and watch Joe Carter swing and Pat Hentgen start Game 7 the next night.
Whatever you do, if the chance arises, do not do that.
Chances are you might hear about it once or twice in the ensuing 22 years.