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Toronto Blue Jays Games
The largest city in all of Canada, Toronto is known for its entertainment attractions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, St. Lawrence Hall, Ontario Science Center, Niagara Falls and Casa Loma. But sports fans have plenty to explore, too. A number of professional sports teams are based in Toronto, including Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Toronto Blue Jays.
The Toronto Blue Jays are a member club of the American League (AL) in the East Division. They were founded in 1977 as one of MLB’s expansion franchises. Although Toronto had tried to persuade the San Francisco Giants to move to their city, the plan fell through. Instead, they became an expansion team at the same time as the Seattle Mariners.
From the start of the team, the Jays were designed to align with other professional sports groups in the city, inspired by the colors of the Maple Leafs and Argonauts in ice hockey and Canadian football, respectively. One of the few Canadian MLB teams, the Blue Jays have some interesting traditions. For example, before each home game, two songs are sung: “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada”. Sometimes, “O Canada” is sung in French or Cree. Another interesting fact is that the team plays tribute to the Canadian Armed Forces each Sunday by giving an honored member a personalized jersey during the third inning. Even though baseball is seen as a quintessentially American sport, these traditions make Canada’s twist on MLB a little different.
When it comes to rivalries, the Toronto Blue Jays’ biggest competition is with the Montreal Expos. From 1978 to 1986, the two teams held a mid-season exhibition game for the Pearson Cup. However, when the Expos relocated to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals, the rivalry shifted. No longer geographic neighbors with the Expos, the Jays’ rivalry with the nearby Detroit Tigers has picked up again. Their rivalry goes back to the 1980s when the two teams were competitors in AL East Division. When the Tigers switched to the Central Division, their relationship seemed to diminish. However, recent games between the two have pulled in massive crowd attendance of over 115,000 people.
Currently the Toronto Blue Jays hold their home games at Rogers Centre, which used to be called the SkyDome. Opened in 1989, it is a multi-functional venue downtown, not far from the shore of Lake Ontario. With a capacity for nearly 50,000 baseball spectators, Rogers Centre is a massive structure. It has a number of standout features, including a patented retractable roof design and inward-facing hotel rooms with two-way windows. Old time MLB fans may remember the Jays’ first venue, the Exhibition Stadium, which they left in 1989. Fans can admire the stunning Rogers Centre at the next Jays' game.