BY Art Thiel 04:00PM 07/19/2020

Thiel: Blue Jays won’t play in Seattle or Canada

Not having Blue Jays fans in Seattle this summer was a teensy silver lining to the shutdown. But not allowing the team in Canada because the U.S. is so infected . . . wow.

The blue hue at the ballpark every summer came with a Canadian accent. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

From a summer sports perspective, about the only sliver of virtue accruing from the coronavirus shutdown is that Seattle would be spared the onslaught of Canadian fans pouring in for the annual visit of the Toronto Blue Jays. Besides cheering for the national team, they had a secondary goal of rendering inert all those stereotypes of Canadians being polite, courteous and deferential.

The ballpark typically brims with Canucks not only mocking the Mariners (tough chore there) but proving they can be as belligerent as Americans. It was not quite like Hockey Night in Canada, but after being out-numbered, out-drunk and out-shouted for three hours, most Mariners fans would prefer to have been high-sticked.

As irony would have it, the Blue Jays series here would have been this weekend, July 24-26. Instead, after a public health convulsion that shredded sports calendars globally, neither the Blue Jays nor the Mariners will be around.

I’m already missing the ritual, starting with getting whipped at the national anthems.

We’ve known for a while the Blue Jays weren’t coming, MLB having decided if there were to be a season at all — back in the heady days of April when President Trump was spearheading health-care innovations such as injections of bleach and disinfectant — that any shortened season would include no cross-country travel.

We didn’t know until recently the regular season would be merely 60 games, and that the Mariners would begin with seven games on the road, the first four in Houston. As you may have read, Houston is among the nation’s fastest-growing covid-19 hot spots, or as it is known in Tolkien-infused public-health circles, Mordor.

Then Saturday, we learned that Canada is not satisfied merely having its way slapping around Seattle. The federal government is so disgusted with its cooties-covered neighbor to south that it has banned the Blue Jays and all MLB opponents from playing in Toronto, less than a week before the season starts.

The Great White North slashes the Once-Great South.

“Canada has been able to flatten the curve in large part due to the sacrifices Canadians have made,” said Marco Mendocino, Minister of Immigration, in a statement. “We understand professional sports are important to the economy and to Canadians. At the same time, our government will continue to take decisions at the border on the basis of advice of our health experts in order to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.”

Nothing says third-world, tinfoil-hat dictatorship like being booted out of Canada because of poor hygiene. MLB has enough problems firing up this bubble-less  contraption without having to sputter, “But . . . but it’s not our fault,” to a square-jawed Mountie in a mask.

According to the Toronto Star, the club, which had been training at Rogers Centre the same way the Mariners were at T-ball Park, presented a 176-page return-to-play proposal to the city, county and federal government. It included a modified quarantine at the ballpark and the adjacent hotel, hoping to get an exemption from the 14-day quarantine that applies to the general public when crossing into Canada.

But the feds took one look at ne’er do-wells, outlaws and privateers the Jays proposed to bring across the border to play ball with them and said nope.

Some Americans may take offense being at being repudiated by the little brothers we always fondly thought would make a fine 51st state. But it sounds as if Canadians would prefer a hard winter in the den of a mama grizzly than risk national infection prior to building a wall.

Hard to argue with the logic.

ESPN’s Buster Olney offered up the national shame in a tweet:

The Jays are considering two “home field” options, both necessarily in the U.S. : Playing at their AAA affiliate in Buffalo, a two-hour drive, or at their spring-training facility in Dunedin, FL. Since Florida is run by a Trump sycophant governor, who may decide to encourage covid-19 parties in order get more sales tax from beer and liquor sales, the safer choice would be Buffalo, which would celebrate a two-month rental of an MLB team by going three-deep in masks.

The explosion of confirmed cases has taken a far more grave toll on America than the temporary dislocation of one MLB team. But it is another cultural marker of swift national disintegration, owing to our hire as the top crisis manager a crooked businessman who has escaped many of his previous failings via bankruptcy.

And we thought MLB had a management problem.

 


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YourThoughts

  • James

    Some good jabs there.

    • art thiel

      I hear Moose Jaw is wonderful this time of year.

      • Husky73

        25-30 this week and sunny. Good baseball weather.

        • James

          The Moose Jaw area is known for its high quality milling wheat, durum, canola, and is a dominant player in the world trade of pulse crops, such as peas, lentils and beans.

      • James

        And Moose Jaw Blue Jay just rolls off the tongue. See also: mellifluous, euphonious.

  • Alan Harrison

    Brilliantly put. As Dudley Do-Right once said, “We must do whatever we can to save Canada, Nell!” Any chance we can convince PM Trudeau to designate Western Washington and Western Oregon as South BC?

    • SeattleSince57

      Dudley Do-Right always had his hands full, when Snidley Whiplash was around

      • art thiel

        And Anthony Fauci as Inspector Fenwick.

    • art thiel

      I prefer Baja BC, but yes. Poutine over a Denny’s Grand Slam, anytime.

  • SeattleSince57

    Oh darn, no annoying Blue Jay, Yankee, Red Sox ‘fans’ at Mariner home games
    this year.

    Those are always the first games, i single out as ‘no way in he33’ i would enjoy going to. I’ve been to more MLB games in those cities than most all these ‘fans’ have been,
    if at all.

    I enjoy Mariner road games and root for the Mariners, but never with a
    “In Your Face” attitude.

    • art thiel

      I can recall a time when Mariners fans were equally annoying. Fun!

      • SeattleSince57

        ..Probably when they were winning, so not so much.

    • SeattleSince57

      James, i am new here, thanks for the response.

      • Husky73

        You’re in the boat. Start paddling. You’ll find your stroke. Just keep in mind that this is Art’s site, and we are visitors, not proprietors. Good to have you here.

  • Husky73

    “The power of the force has stopped you, you hosers.” (Doug McKenzie)

    • art thiel

      The McKenzie Brothers were underappreciated. As was the Red Green show.

      • SeattleSince57

        Second City too?

      • Husky73

        Loved Red Green (not to be confused with the Redblacks)—Port Asbestos and the handyman’s secret weapon.

  • woofer

    Both the glory and glitch with the MAGA slogan was always that nobody ever defined the actual content of “great.” Everyone was at liberty to define it however he, she or it wanted. Most probably opted to plug in profound things like “greatest military”, “greatest economy”, “greatest athletes”, “greatest orgasms” and the like.

    But reality had a different idea: “greatest humility”. Here was a country — if ever there was one — that just needed to be taken down a small notch. Too much overbearing ego, too much boisterous pride, too much sense of entitlement.

    And, look, now we are finally like everybody else, only a little less so. It’s definitely a hard lesson, but a good one.

    • art thiel

      Vagueness is always the favored tool of populists.

    • SeattleSince57

      So.. got anything to add, with the blue jays not coming to Seattle this year?

      • Seattle Psycho

        Also no one ever defined when we stopped being “great” (if we ever were) to make it possible to be “great” again. Now we know the M’s have never been “great” they have been good a few times and hopefully this wacky season will set the foundation for greatness.

  • jafabian

    So the NHL and NBA have been given notice now. As well as any Americans thinking of moving to Canada if the Orange-One gets a second term.

    • art thiel

      Since our passports are increasingly no good, we may be trapped here.

    • Husky73

      I live four miles from the Canadian border (and not far from Thiel Road). Come November 4th, my wife may be trotting across Boundary Road (US side) and onto Zero Avenue (Canadian side) declaring herself a refugee.

      • art thiel

        C’mon. There’s no running away from camp. The counselors will find her and bring her back.

        • Husky73

          Nah…Morty and Tripper are the counselors.

      • jafabian

        My plan is to board the ferry in Anacortes and file for asylum in Victoria at Rogers Chocolates. No way I’m coming back once I’m there!

        • Husky73

          Make sure you visit U Vic…beautiful campus.

    • SeattleSince57

      Sports topics here, please.

      • jafabian

        Stop. Please stop. You’ll make me pee!

        • SeattleSince57

          sorry, if i can do better, hope you can too..LOL

  • Chris Alexander

    I, for one, wholeheartedly applaud Canada’s decision … and desperately wish the U.S. had even HALF of their conviction and leadership regarding COVID-19 and the health and wellness of their citizens.

    • Kirkland

      The USA’s system of government is based on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Canada’s is based on “peace, prosperity [or order] and good government” (Article 91, Constitution Act of 1867). Ours has its advantages in ideological, principle circumstances; theirs has its in more practicable, common-sense ones. The latter approach is better suited for global pandemics.

      • art thiel

        Nice research. Actually, the system is in the Constitution; the Declaration is more aspirational. But our government has (had prior to 2017) the tools for effective response, but not if the president fails to work the levers.

  • tor5

    You know who else doesn’t want us? Every country on the African continent, each of which have lower infection and death rates. Who’s the sh**hole country now?

    • James

      https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/20/us/portland-protester-navy-veteran-beaten/index.html

      This is MAGA. Trump beating a peaceful veteran wanting answers. Liberal federal judges being shot. Criminals who protect Trump having sentence commuted.

      • Husky73

        MAGA = Morons Are Governing America

        • SeattleSince57

          Perhaps this sports site could be better utilized for sports talk?

      • SeattleSince57

        Any chance we can save this site for sports?

        • art thiel

          Please read above. It is a sports site, but there’s no wall that can keep out life.

      • art thiel

        I know many want to vent, but I’d prefer the politics be about sports consequences.

        • James

          Trump’s thugs beat and pepper-sprayed a peaceful Navy veteran in Portland wanting to question their legality, in the process breaking bones in his hand. What’s to stop Dear Leader from physically beating sports athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

    • SeattleSince57

      If no one else will say it, i will ..
      this is a sports site, perhaps talk world order and politics elsewhere?

      • art thiel

        Actually, we’ve been over this a time or two. To repeat: Never has there been a time when sports and politics DIDN’T intersect. And . . . never has there been a time until now when playing sports has been so crippled by a natural disaster and a poor governmental response to it. So as a sports column writer, I offer some thoughts on important political developments, and respond to readers who offer their thoughts. We talk of many things, hope you can tolerate.

        • SeattleSince57

          Yes i can tolerate, it is not a deal breaker.
          I am new and will play by the rules, now that i know what they are, thanks

      • tor5

        Fair enough. As Art put it below, I was venting, and got away from any sports connection. I’ll try to keep that in mind as I look out in horror.

  • Husky73

    Let them eat bannock.