The Blue Jays season now underway and fans everywhere are reviewing the team’s schedule to see what games will make for the best viewing experience this spring and summer. Whether it’s driving down to the dome or tuning in on…Facebook!?! most fans will have to prioritize which of the 162 games they will pay attention to.
So if your schedule doesn’t allow you to spend 500 hours watching baseball this year, the matchups below should act as a guide to when there might be some added intrigue/storylines or promotional value in tuning in or heading down to the Rogers Centre.
May 24 vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – School Day.
If you’re wondering why the Rogers Centre is almost at capacity on an afternoon in late May, it’s not because Toronto is excited to see two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani pitch and hit for the Angels. It’s school day at the ballpark. If the unbridled joy of youth warms your heart and enhances your day at the ballpark, this is a game you should attend. If the unbridled joy of youth makes you sick to your stomach, avoid the Rogers Centre for this afternoon tilt. If alcohol is a big part of enriching your in-game experience, take advantage of shorter lines at the concessions or make a little extra cash by offering to buy beers for some of the many disinterested, underage high schoolers at the park.
June 7-10 vs. Baltimore Orioles – Troy Tulowitzki Returns???
With Troy Tulowitzki on the 60-day disabled list after having surgery to remove bone spurs on both heels, he will likely miss the first two months of the season. Despite the long layoff, there’s no need to send Tulowitzki on a rehab assignment as facing Orioles’ pitching is basically the same thing. What better way to ease Troy back into major league action than against Andrew Cashner, Mike Wright and the rest of an Orioles’ staff that won’t be contending for an ERA title any time soon. There’s even a chance Tulo faces off against Miguel Castro, one of the players he was traded for back in 2015. I’m sure no one will have any opinions on that.
June 19-20 vs. Atlanta Braves – The Return of Alex Anthopoulos
It’s been very difficult for many Blue Jays fans to accept the departure of former general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Anthopoulos, who is rumored to have left the team when new team president Mark Shapiro chastised him for trading away multiple prospects and not being willing to work at a standing desk, returns to Toronto this June when the Braves play the Jays. Will Anthopoulos, who helped bring playoff baseball back to Toronto, be inducted onto the level of excellence? Will we learn more about why he left the team in 2015? Will Mark Shapiro buy him a steak for signing Vlad Jr.? Come watch the Braves and Blue Jays battle it out on the field while we welcome home our favorite former GM.
June 15-17 vs. Washington Nationals – Bryce Harper in Toronto
The last time Harper was in town he didn’t leave before gifting the baseball world the iconic “that’s a clown question, bro” quote. Not only will this series be the rare chance to watch the Nationals, the class of the National League East, make a rare appearance at the Rogers Centre, it maybe be one of the last chances that we have to see Bryce Harper before we have to loathe him unconditionally when he signs with the Yankees in the offseason.
July 16 Home Run Derby (Nationals Park)
With any luck Randal Grichuk makes good on all that exit velocity and is squaring off against baseball’s best power hitters (or more accurately, the one’s who choose to participate) in what is the most entertaining part of the all-star break.
July 6 vs. New York Yankees – Margaritaville at the Ballpark
Knowing that the murderous Yankees sluggers will get the privilege of feasting on Toronto’s left-handed pitching multiple times this season, the marketing department wisely decided to ease the pain of a potential loss by creating Margaritaville night at the Rogers Centre. This Jimmy Buffet-inspired theme night will ensure that drinking-aged fans will be well lubricated for all of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge’s home runs on Thursday July 6.
Aug 10-12 vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Boots and Hearts Festival North of Toronto
It’s only been a few games but the early returns indicate that Justin Smoak’s breakout 2017 was no fluke. Expect the Jays’ slugger to miss a day or two of the weekend contest with the Rays when Boots and Hearts roles through Barrie. Smoak, a noted country music enthusiast, wouldn’t miss any Florida Georgia Line concert within 400 kilometers of the Rogers Centre.
Aug 31 – Sept 2 at Miami Marlins: Marcus Stroman in Miami
This September, the Blue Jays will travel to Miami to take on the Marlins. If the Jays find themselves in the playoff hunt, this series could be a great opportunity to steal a few games from a team that should be one of baseball’s worst. Beyond some easy W’s at the Derek Jeter-led Marlins’ expense, the series is significant for another reason: Marcus Stroman’s Instagram and Snapchat accounts are going to blow up. Stro’s constant social media presence will only increase when exposed to the vibrant Miami setting. Yacht parties, Mike Studd shows, beaches, clubs, and crazy sneaker showrooms; DJ Khaled has nothing on whatever we are gonna see on Stro’s accounts during his big weekend in Miami. I also think its been made plainly clear by these last couple sentences that I know very little about both partying and Instagram.
Sept 8 vs. Cleveland – Star Wars Day
If you thought it was bad that nerds and scientists were taking over front offices across baseball, you’re not going to be happy about them infiltrating the promotional schedule either. Come voice your displeasure on the “wussification” of baseball by protesting with Goose Gossage (who has secured a permit to hold a rally outside the stadium before the game). With any luck you’ll be able to see plenty of RBI, pitcher wins, and the game being played the right way.
Lead Photo © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports