Canada Day Not The Same Without Jays
This Toronto Slugger "Smoaked" Just One Of The Homers On July 1 in 2015
Yet another one of my summer delights was denied to me, and probably a million people North of the border this week. In order to celebrate Canada Day, the Toronto Blue Jays have always played an afternoon game on July 1.
Most years it is the only afternoon contest on the schedule, enabling fans from all over to watch what have often proven to be memorable games. Take last year for instance, which could have been referred to as "Baseball Family Day" in the Rogers Centre.
Two sons of Hall of Famers not only suited up for the Blue Jays, but they both had three hits. Rookie third baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. drove in and scored a couple of runs, getting his team off to a good start with a first inning double. Cavan Biggio, son of Houston Astros legend Craig, notched a trio of hits as well.
Lourdes Gueriel, Jr., the younger of current Astro Yuli Guerriel, also enjoyed a trifecta. One of his hits landed in the seats, just one of the three home runs that helped Toronto to an 11-4 rout of the Kansas City Royals.
Two years prior fans witnessed the exact opposite of a slugfest, as Marco Stroman led the home team in a pitchers duel with Josh Tomlinson of the Cleveland Indians. Each club was limited to just one run in regulation, a drought that would linger for eighteen innings.
Having run out of pitchers, manager John Gibbons called on utility infielder Darwin Barney to take the mound in the top of the nineteenth. The first batter he faced, All-Star slugger Carlos Santana, smashed the third pitch over the wall to snap the tie. A young hurler named Trevor Bauer shut the Jays down in order in the ninth, thus picking up the win.
Exactly 365 days earlier folks at the Rogers Centre has witnessed an even longer game, only this one comprised the regulation nine innings. Its extensive length was due to the offense, most of which was provided by the home team.
Edwin Encarnacion knocked a three run homer in the first frame and two batters later Justin Smoak connected for a two run shot. Ignited by those early blasts off of Rob Porcello, the Blue Jays ended up hammering the Boston Red Sox 11-2 on Canada Day 2015.
The other Sox were to have appeared in Toronto for the occasion this past Wednesday, but the team instead remained in Chicago for what is being called Spring Training 2.0. Those two numbers feel quite appropriate, given what a strange year has this far been '20.