Fort St. John locals fly south for memorable Jays series

One Seattle columnist hilariously asked last week “Do any adults work in Western Canada?”

The quip, a slight jab or a backhanded compliment depending on where your allegiances sit, came on the heels of Blue Jays fans invading Safeco Field in Seattle for three days last week.

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Invading might not even be a strong enough word, as a sea of blue sprawled out in every corner of the stadium, leading announcers to even question if there was a single Mariners fan in the stands. It was an occupation— an opposing team’s fan base outnumbering the home crowd by most accounts at 10 to 1. 

The aforementioned columnist, John McGrath, also wrote this in The News Tribune: “I saw my first major league game in 1962, and over the past 53 years have been to just about every park in both leagues. Never have I witnessed a contest where visiting fans occupied more than 99 percent of the seats.”

The series is often a pilgrimage for the Blue Jays faithful in the west, the trip to Seattle easily closer than an expensive trip to Toronto. But, last week was a step up from the ordinary.

The crowd included a few of our own too, as Dustin Sall, 35, who does have a job at Western Financial, said he along with several friends ran into no less than 15 or 20 Fort St. John locals at the three game series.

“There really wasn’t one moment, just the crowd,” Sall said about what stood out for him. “The atmosphere was so electric. There was a buzz around the stadium the whole game. All the games.”

Sall, who only last year started following the Jays in person after a trip to Toronto, said the crowd in Seattle was one he won’t soon forget.

“Seattle was incredible. When you’re in Toronto, there’s casual fans, they don’t dress up, they just go after work. Pretty much everyone was wearing Blue Jays stuff (in Seattle),” he said.

“Essentially it was all Blue Jays fans. Every time they (Mariners fans) tried to start a chant, or a cheer for the Mariners, it would be overwhelmed by Blue Jays rally right after that.”

Fort St. John Flyers forward and local firefighter Adam Horst, who knows a thing or two about big crowds after his days on the Red Bull Crashed Ice circuit, said the fans were “unbelievable.”

It was made even more dramatic on the field, as Jays closer Roberto Osuna saved a wild 3-2 win in the opener and Toronto exploded for eight runs in one inning in game two.

“They just kept hitting and hitting,” Sall recalled. “There was group of nine of us who just made friends… we were pretty tired from high fiving.”

In game three, Jays slugger Jose Bautista clubbed a massive homerun that tied the game, but they would go on to lose the game in extra innings.

It was a crucial series for the Jays, struggling to stay afloat at the top of the wildcard, with the pesky Mariners creeping up on them. The Blue Jays took two out of three games to win the series.

Still, Sall said everywhere him and his group went in Seattle those three days, it was all blue.

“The train was, blue, the hotel lobby was blue, downtown everybody was walking around in their Blue Jays gear, it was incredible,” he said.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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