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Toronto Blue Jays’ Wild Card Game #2 and the Amazing “Barrio” Jacket

If you tuned in to watch the Toronto Blue Jays October 8th, 2022 post-season American League wild card game in the packed Rogers Centre against the Seattle Mariners expecting to go deep into the fall with a winning team, you may still be recovering from the shock and horror of their completely unexpected loss. We certainly are! Yes, the Blue Jays were bested in the first game of the series 4 to 0. But the series was the best of three, so all hope was not lost. It is not that the possibility of a loss is not always on the table in a Major League Baseball game. Of course, it is. But it was how our team lost that was so devastatingly awful. How exactly did such a stellar group of professional athletes lose after securing a commanding 8 to 1 lead by the 5th inning? Well, how to explain… Things looked hopeful as Teoscar Hernández’s second home run in the 4th inning pushed the score to 4 to 0 for the Jays. Jays’ pitching ace Kevin Gausman certainly delivered too, leaving the ball game in the top of the 6th with the Jays still leading by 7 runs, 8 to 1. But the Mariners were slowly gaining ground in the 6th inning scoring 4 more runs when J. P. Crawford’s shallow blooper to centre field led to the devastating outfield collision of shortstop Bo Bichette and centre fielder George Springer. The result was a tie game and Springer’s exit due to concussion protocol. We of course, first and foremost, hope that both Springer and Bichette have fully recovered and suffer no lasting consequences. But WTF! Suddenly 8 to 1 in favour of the Blue Jays had become 9 to 9. The rest? Well let’s not talk about it (but the final score was 10 to 9 for the Mariners).

However, let’s not forget what this joyful, supremely talented Blue Jays team has given all of us this wonderful 2022 season. These men not only floored us with their talent and exuberance, but we also love to watch them because they so clearly love the game and each other. They have a true brotherhood! Not so, with other teams. Take the New York Yankees for instance. One would be forgiven for asking if they enjoy playing baseball at all, much less like each other. Their rather pompous posturing and uncreative celebrations carry the weight of a franchise with a storied legacy. But that weight sometimes seems to suck the joy right out of them. Not so with the Blue Jays! One telltale sign that they love the game is that Barrio Jacket. You know the one they trot out when a player hits a home run? That one!

Also known as “The Blue Jacket” (it says so right on the left sleeve) it was inaugurated on July 29th, 2021 after the Canadian-Dominican superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (affectionately known as Vladdy) blasted a homer out of Fenway Park, returning to the dugout, to be presented with the exclusive jacket to be worn only after a homerun. The back of the jacket, emblazoned with the words “La Gente Del Barrio” (the people of the neighbourhood) also lists the countries of all the players, coaches, and support staff. Does this team have spirit? Yes! Will they be back and better than ever? We’re counting on it!