Obiter Dicta Issue 10 - February 2, 2015 - Page 9

SPORTS Monday, February 2, 2014   9 The glory past of the Toronto Blue Jays A look into the team’s ascension to greatness and its heydays pa r t one: e s ta blishing a n iden t i t y a nd a winning cult ure kenneth cheak kwan lam › staff writer A s a di e-h a r d supporter of the Toronto Blue Jays who has followed the baseball club for nearly three decades, I believe they have come a long way since playing their first ever regular season game at Exhibition Stadium on April 7, 1977 when the field was covered with snow. While the franchise is still a long way from matching the New York Yankees’ twentyseven World Championships, Toronto achieved some impressive feats in its thirty-seven years of existence: five American League East division titles (1985, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993); two American League Pennants (1992 and 1993); as well as two World Series Titles (1992 and 1993). By comparison, our expansion cousin, the Seattle Mariners, only won one Wild Card Berth (2000) as well as three American League West division titles (1995, 1997, and 2001). S u c c e s s eluded the Blue Jays initially as the team came out of the gate with a string of losing seasons from 1977 to 1982. However, the six consecutive sub .500 seasons (including the first three seasons in which the club lost over a hundred games) did not dampen the fans’ faith in the team since Torontonians understood that then-GM Pat Gillick was building an expansion franchise from the ground up and that we needed to be patient as the twenty-five-men rosters were comprised of draft picks and superfluous players whom other clubs had cut loose. By all accounts, Gillick worked with what he had and the Toronto Blue Jays in the late-1970s to early 1980s were AAA teams from a