Toronto Blue Jays Home Opener Preview.
Today is THE day if you live in the Greater Toronto Area. Today is one of the only days that you will see the SkyDome packed for a sporting event this spring/summer. For some people, it is the only Blue Jay game that they will attend all season. Why is this such a big deal in Toronto? Because it is the start of a new season; and although the Blue Jays are looking forward to finishing no higher than 3rd, people still love the Blue Jays’ home openers.
If I can say one thing: Thank God the Jays play in a Dome because I just looked outside and it is snowing. Yes, it is April in Canada too.
As usual, I will be in attendance and as usual, I will be sitting in the 500 section. There is no other place I would a be sitting for tonight’s game versus the Detroit Tigers. The 500 section is where all the action happens. We are the ones getting kicked out for fights, indecent exposure or being too drunk. But we are also the most enthusiastic fans. We get the chants going. We start the wave.
Today is more significant because the SkyDome will serve beer today. The Rogers Center decided that a select few games this season will be “dry”, which includes TOMORROW’s game and not today’s. Phew.
The reason? Probably because early season games get too rowdy in the Dome.
Why tomorrow’s and not today’s? The people at the Dome are not stupid. If word got out that they were not selling booze at the game today, half of the people would not go. Imagine a half capacity Dome on Opening Day. Wouldn’t look too good for the organization.
Also significant is that we get to see the best pitcher in the league go to work one more time on Opening Day. This could be the last opener that Roy Halladay has in Toronto, so enjoy it. With the Jays looking towards a very difficult season, JP Riccardi is more than likely to deal Doc before the trade deadline, as he is due to be a free agent next season. The key for Halladay is that he wants to win. He won’t do that in Toronto. I think Jays fans will accept his departure for this reason.
The Boston Globe is already speculating trade rumors for Halladay. The New York Times just wrote a fluff peice on Doc, showing that they too love Halladay. Too bad for us. Hopefully we can get a good return.
I looooove watching Halladay pitch. He works fast, he throws strikes and the movement on his pitches is impregnable.
I am looking forward to a full season with Travis Snider and Adam Lind. These two are the future, along with Alexis Rios, and need to show Blue Jay nation that we have something to be optimistic about. As mentioned in my MLB season preview, I believe that Snider will be the AL’s Rookie of the Year. Aaron Hill is going to have a big year!
Aside from Halladay, the pitching is expected to struggle. No McGowan. No Marcum. No Burnett. Those are huge loses. Jesse Litsch goes from the 5th starter in 2008 to the 2nd best starter in 2009. Litsch is the 3rd pitcher in the rotation; however, because Cito Gaston wants a lefty (David Purcey) to split up the two righties. Smart move. As I mentioned in a previous article, I am excited to see Ricky Romero in a full season. This is another guy that needs to pan out in order to justify his draft position (We coulda had Tulowitzki!).
What I want to see out of the ’09 Jays is a development of their young players and a good draft. The Jays’ farm system has gone to shit since the 90’s.
Overall, I am excited for the new season, but I am not expecting the Blue Jays to finish higher than 3rd.
As for tonight, Halladay pitches a gem. Complete game shutout with 8 K’s. Blue Jays win 4-0 in 2 hours and 30 minutes (I told you Halladay works fast). After the game, everybody goes across the street to the Loose Moose to watch the 2nd half of the NCAA National Championship game. Great night