The Blue Jays, known nationwide as Canada’s baseball team, ventured to Halifax, Nova Scotia to meet with fans, explore the wonders of Eastern Canada, and most of all, remind of us of the universality deeply embedded within this great game of ours.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know all that much about Nova Scotia, or any of the provinces along Canada’s east coast for that matter. While I’ve always wanted to travel there and see the picturesque sights and taste the delectable seafood, I’ve never been able to make my way out east to visit one of the farthest corners of this great nation.
I do, however, know several (awesome) people who hail from Nova Scotia, all of whom are not only fiercely proud of their province (which is incredible to see; who doesn’t love pride?) but also cultured and well travelled. In short, though I myself have not ever experienced the magic of the Maritimes, I’ve been able to get a sense of the hospitable and uber-Canadian personalities I might find in a seaside town.
Torontonians exist, in some ways, inside of a bubble that closes us off from the rest of the country. In the case of baseball, many often associate the Toronto Blue Jays, who, as the name suggests, play in downtown Toronto, with the city as opposed to the entire country.
The Blue Jays organization, to their credit, hasn’t forgotten the rest of the country at all, frequently flying out players to speak at banquets, participate in fundraisers, and spread the love of the game of baseball all over a generally hockey-crazed nation.
This week, they did just that, sending Devon Travis, Ryan Borucki, Danny Jansen, Luke Maile and former catcher J.P. Arencibia to Halifax, Nova Scotia to participate in several outstandingly inclusive and heartwarming events as part of their 2019 Winter Tour. Blue Jays broadcaster Jamie Campbell and team mascot ‘Ace’ also joined in on the fun, periodically appearing at various points throughout the trip.
From teaching young players how to hit to suiting up in firemen equipment, the Blue Jays players have done it all in Nova Scotia, having their progress tracked through the particularly clever minds of the team’s social media team. They also signed a massive amount of autographs, appeared on the local news and, in a random and comedic stop, handed out toques inside of a bank.
Simply put, the team’s recent trip to Halifax brought two sentiments to the forefront. The first is the feeling (and desire) that the team should consistently work to nurture and please the fanbase in the Maritimes. If this trip showed the organization anything, it’s that the fanbase in Nova Scotia (and all over Canada, for that matter) is just as passionate as the group in Toronto.
Secondly, it raised the heartwarming idea that, despite the vast geographic separation between Canadians, baseball remains a growing and exciting sport in Canada. Though it may never have the historic relevance of hockey, it still is one of the country’s favourite pastimes, thanks largely to the recent resurgence of the Toronto Blue Jays.
All in all, the Blue Jays continue to expand their marketing to the Maritimes. While it may not increase their revenue as much as the outpour of support would suggest, it’s one of the best things that the team, as a Canadian entity, can do for one of the country’s most supportive and baseball-friendly regions.
If there’s one thing baseball is great at, it’s bringing people together. Once the first pitch is thrown, Torontonians, Nova Scotians, and Albertans suddenly become one big happy baseball family. Proud of our roots, we should be, but excited to join in with our fellow Canadians, we should embrace even more. Play on, Canada, and go Blue Jays.