Ever since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington DC in 2005, the Toronto Blue Jays have been the only Major League Baseball team located in Canada.
Does this make them Canada’s Team?
Former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons joined Jessica Kleinschmidt on the “Short and to the Point” podcast to discuss this, along with a range of other topics.
Gibbons had two stints as Blue Jays manager, taking the helm from 2004-08 and then returning to Toronto from 2013-18. and while his first run in Toronto didn’t result in any playoff appearances, the Jays caught fire in 2015 and won the AL East.
“It finally happened, right? It was like a light switch. Everything everyone always said came true, not only in Toronto there but all across the country,” Gibbons said of the national fan support.
“The biggest example of it is when we’d go play in Seattle, Canadians would come down from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and they’d take over the whole city. Basically, the whole crowd there was Blue Jays fans.” He continued.
Gibbons went on to explain that, like with all sports, the team is easier to support when they are successful, saying, “When the team is good and relevant, it’s amazing to watch. Even my popularity up there, the 29 teams in the States, there are 29 managers, up there there’s only one. They may not like me but they’re going to see me, they know who I am.”
Toronto’s 2015 playoff series against the Texas Rangers drew some of the highest ratings in the history of Sportsnet, the network in Canada that aired the series.