It’s been 183 days since the Toronto Blue Jays have played a regular season game. It’s been roughly 4,392 hours since Blue Jays fans have heard the crack of the bat, 263,520 minutes since the last strike was thrown and 15,811,200 seconds since the snap of a ball on leather.
Despite the wait, the day is finally here. Today is the Blue Jays’ season opener.
The Blue Jays' first season opener was 36 years ago. On April 7, 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays took to a snowy field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Inside Exhibition Stadium, 44,649 fans erupted in cheers as the Boys in Blue celebrated their first win, defeating the Chicago White Sox by a score of 9-5. The player of the game was certainly Doug Ault, who hit a pair of home runs with four RBIs. Right-handed pitcher Jerry Johnson recorded the team’s first win.
The Blue Jays would follow by winning their next four season openers against the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees respectfully. Their first season opener lost came on April 9, 1982 against the Milwaukee Brewers, when their opponents scored 15 runs en route to a 15-4 win. It would be the most runs the Brewers would score in a single game during the entire season.
Despite that first, the Blue Jays have kept losing at a minimum on Opening Day. They presently hold a record of 26-10 going into today’s game. They scored their most runs against the New York Yankees on April 11, 1988 at home, winning by a score of 17-9.
One of their most interesting season openers, in my opinion, occurred in 2001 when the Blue Jays started their 24th season in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While the Rangers had Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Alex Rodriguez in their lineup, Blue Jays starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza pitched an incredible game, keeping the Rangers to one run on eight hits with nine strikeouts over seven innings. Thanks also to solid offense from Shannon Stewart and Alex Gonzalez, who combined for five RBIs, the Blue Jays would defeat the Rangers by a score of 8-1.
Today, the Blue Jays open their season against the Cleveland Indians. Lifetime beginning their season against the Indians, the Blue Jays are 2-0, gaining a win in both 1987 and 1993. The Blue Jays are also 9-3 when they are opening the season at home. The odds are in their favor.
Last season's National League Cy Young Award winner and knuckleball thrower, R.A. Dickey, will be taking the mound tonight against the Indians’ Justin Masterson. Let’s hope that home field advantage and the winning record the Boys in Blue hold on their season openers will result in a Blue Jays win.
If you are as excited for the Blue Jays 2013 season opener, please comment below. (Oh, and go Blue Jays!).