Blue Jays in “must win” scenario

For a young Toronto Blue Jays fan, their most memorable moment in team history may be the now infamous Jose Bautista home run. The deafening roars from the Roger’s Center were a release of frustration, and one long awaited swing of the bat. The new era of Blue Jays seems to be that of extreme power at the plate. Having so many intimidating bats following one after the other shows signs that this might be the era of a championship team. However, future uncertainty with star players may hinder their close reach to this goal. Having a winning baseball team in Toronto could do great things for a growing city. The Toronto Blue Jays should try and mirror the tremendous influence the Toronto Raptors have had on the city. Making the Blue Jays a successful team now will not only grow the city in the short-term, but also in the long-term as young fans will increase interest in a winning hometown baseball team. This increased interest has the potential to create many future young Canadian baseball players that have aspirations to play for the Blue Jays. The team has the current roster, and management group to build a serious contender. It’s now up to leaders like Jose Bautista to lead the way.

Recent contract rumours continue to surround Bautista as he prepares for his last year in his contract. One can only speculate if these rumours are indeed true, however Jose is not a player Toronto can afford to lose. Edwin Encarnacion sits in a similar boat as he is also looking to strike a big contract next season. Both sluggers put up equally impressive seasons collecting 79 homers between the two. Blue Jays fans grew accustomed to the chicken wing trot around the bases this past season, and will continue to want the same from Edwin in hopes he will stay in the city with fellow teammate Bautista. The biggest question is: how much longer can these two players produce at a high level? With both in their mid 30s, it does not leave much time left for highly productive years. While Jose Bautista avoided the injury bug for the most part last season, his record proves he has troubles staying on the field consistently. One can only wonder how his body will hold up in the coming years. However, Bautista has done so much for the city during his six seasons with the blue birds. Acting as a leader on the team, and for the city of Toronto, his presence should stick around a little longer. With Donaldson locked up for the next two seasons, and many other star players currently in the lineup, it would seem nonsensical to leave what could be a championship contender.

Blue Jays celebrate a successful 2015 season / Brocku.ca

Blue Jays celebrate a successful 2015 season / Brocku.ca

Branding the Toronto Blue Jays towards the city of Toronto will fit nicely with that of the Toronto Raptors. The “We The North” campaign took over a nation. Canada now had one team to cheer for, and this campaign exemplified that. With so many growing Canadian basketball fans, the Toronto Raptors continue to gain support. The Blue Jays achieved this during the end of their previous season. This will create marketing strategies that show how Canada’s baseball team can be dominant. Rapper Drake has done great things on the promotional side of the Toronto Raptors. He has increased youth attention due to his massive following from his music. This figure was able to bring popularity and energy to a team that desperately needed it. Now that the Toronto Raptors have rejuvenated their brand, it’s time the Blue Jays do the same.

Upgrading the Rogers Center should be in the plans to help increase the reputation of the Blue Jays. With a new dirt infield set to release at the start of the 2016 season, and an already sterling reputation for their pitcher’s mound, more needs to be done. Their once revolutionized stadium has seen it lose its appeal. Maybe it’s time the Blue Jays get an upgraded stadium that houses real grass, and has appealing features. Some talk has come up about the possibilities of improving Rogers Center. To help grow the Blue Jays brand, this would certainly help.

Toronto must win and win now before other Canadian markets begin their search for a franchise. With Montreal already looking to reintroduce the Montreal Expos, Toronto must make a name for themselves before this happens. Having some big names in the line-up is sure to help this greatly. In order to continue to be Canada’s team, the Blue Jays must start winning now.

Jonathan Barichello

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