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Don’t Give Up Hope on the Blue Jays

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

For some reason – I can’t exactly pinpoint why – I’ve been thinking a lot about a Twitter reply I received the other day. Sometimes they’re poignant, sometimes they’re innocuous, but occasionally, something will resonate with me for longer than the brief moment it takes to read it.

It was this Twitter quote below, by a Baltimore sports writer Dan Clark.



I thought for a while about how to respond to this. Should I go counter-strike and say “well, by that same logic, the Orioles will win the World Series then, won’t they?” I also thought about simply saying “it’s a long season, let’s let this thing breathe a bit”.

The “It’s over. Already” part of that tweet really got me thinking not only about the Blue Jays, not just about sports in general, but also about life.

There are many who are ready to stick a fork in the Blue Jays right now and declare the 2017 season a write-off. I still think it’s premature to make sweeping declarations like that already, but that’s their opinion.

What I’m fighting against here is the notion of giving up on something before it’s even close to being over.

If the Toronto Blue Jays themselves were to adopt this philosophy, it would be the antithesis of professional sports. “Let’s just forget it because we’re already behind” is not only an extremely dark way to look at sports, but it’s also a dark way to look at life.

I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that the Blue Jays have an extremely difficult path to make the postseason now, but there is a way for them to do it. It’s not impossible or inconceivable. There is still hope.

Stacey May Fowles encapsulated this beautifully in her piece, “We can get through this because we have to get through this“. It was eloquent Baseball Life Advice at its finest.

What Dan Clark suggested to me was to give up hope on the Blue Jays right now. Abandon any dreams of the Blue Jays doing anything meaningful this year. The first month of the season isn’t even over yet, but the Blue Jays are done.

Again, by that same logic, when something is going poorly in life, one should abandon hope and just give up.



This past twelve months has been particularly difficult for my family. At times, I’ve felt hopeless and in despair, stricken with grief and unsure what to do or where to turn.

Oddly enough, baseball is where I often found refuge from the struggle of getting through every day. The distraction and elation of watching the Blue Jays play baseball helped lift my spirits and gave me something to cling to.

For me, baseball and the Blue Jays were a safe haven from the bitter reality of everyday life.

When the Blue Jays made the playoffs last year and it looked like they were destined for the World Series after beating the Texas Rangers, my brain thought it was the universe’s way of telling me “everything is going to be okay”.

I know it sounds ridiculous, I know it sounds weird and irrational, but that’s how my mind worked at the time. Logic and reason didn’t apply.

Maybe you’ve lost someone, too. Someone you’d love to have the opportunity to enjoy their company again to talk about the Blue Jays with, or to simply talk about anything.

For me, the Blue Jays have been a beacon of hope. To give up on them now would seem foolish, presumptuous and bleak. The Jays may not return to the playoffs this year, but you always have to hold out hope they could do the unthinkable.

Because in our darkest hour, hope is all we have.
 

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez “mine” incident. He’ll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

10 Comments

  1. Carla

    April 29, 2017 - 1:23 pm

    Ian Hunter, I’m with you! I The Blue Jays! Whether they’re winning or losing. My heart is breaking imagining how they feel right now! Compared to that, it is quite easy for me to be a fan! They must feel so discouraged & I sympathize with them. There are a lot of games left to play & I believe in them still! I am not lucky enough to live where I can go watch them but if I did, I would be there yelling & cheering until my voice was hoarse! This is when they need their fans the most & I believe they have the best fans in the world! GO JAYS

  2. Margaret Farrell

    April 29, 2017 - 4:31 pm

    I am not exactly sure how anyone can state before the first month of baseball that a team is finished.
    I myself have gone through and am going through a bad time, but as You have said I have not nor will not just give up.
    The TRUE BLUE JAYS FAN’S will continue to Cheer them to the end of the season and beyond

  3. dolsh

    April 29, 2017 - 5:23 pm

    “Because in our darkest hour, hope is all we have.”

    – Michael Bay Movie (probably)

    🙂

    1. Ian Hunter

      April 30, 2017 - 9:05 pm

      I think I may have unknowingly quoted something eerily similar to Rogue One.

  4. Rotax

    April 29, 2017 - 10:33 pm

    Please reprint this column on September 29th.

  5. Alan V

    April 30, 2017 - 8:26 am

    Wise words well spoken Ian. May 2017 bring you and your family more, off the diamond…maybe even on it as well!

    1. Ian Hunter

      April 30, 2017 - 7:17 pm

      Thank you, Alan, thank you.

  6. Gary

    April 30, 2017 - 9:45 am

    I honour the spirit and resilience of your attitude. But, as they say, while you can’t win a pennant in April, you can lose one. The Jays need a superhuman winning streak to get back to par, and they need to get their stars healthy. It doesn’t look likely, but we will find out a lot about the true grit of this team and its individuals by going through this. Or we will obtain some prospects with which to regenerate. And we will find out who are the true Jays fans.

  7. J Scott

    April 30, 2017 - 4:59 pm

    Ian, I appreciate and agree with your thoughts. A LOT of people are communicating quite negatively about our Toronto Blue Jays’ season thus far. .. and have been for weeks. I have the game on right now and am watching my beloved team play. There are great moves happening. And not so great. Highs and lows. This is baseball. This is any sport. This is life.

    Life is tough… it really, really is. Baseball is a diversion, hobby, or passion—maybe even a life line—for fans and, while I know it’s our players’ livelihood and “job”, it’s not a perfect “entity” for any of us. It ebbs and flows. It brings us high and presses us down. And lots of levels of both along the way.

    So goes life, also.. in all its facets.

    It’s a strong person–or maybe desperate, such as I’ve been myself at times–who keeps on keeping on despite it all.

    If any of us–baseball players or livers of life–were to give up because things aren’t going well, no one of the human race would survive. It’s hope–put in our spirits by God Himself–that keeps us living one more breath. Then another. And another.

    Never. Ever. Give. Up!

    ..Just like our Toronto Blue Jays who have won themselves a ball game this Sunday afternoon!

    1. Ian Hunter

      April 30, 2017 - 7:16 pm

      Wise words – thank you! For those first 10 games or so, it felt difficult to see the big picture because the team was playing so poorly. You just have to believe things will get better!

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