The Toronto Blue Jays will take a crack at ending the longest playoff drought of any major North American sports franchise on Friday night.
If they can get a win against the Tampa Bay Rays, coupled with losses by the Minnesota and Los Angeles, they’re in for the first time in 21 years.
“I played on some good teams in Kansas City and Milwaukee and here in Toronto in the ’80s, but this team truly plays for one another each and every night,” said Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez.
Martinez said he’s noticed the change that success brings both on the field and in the stands.
“When the Rogers Centre originally opened up as the Sky Dome, there were a lot of corporate suites. There were a lot of corporate people there. This is a really heart-and-soul, down-to-earth, younger crowd that really has enjoyed this team,” he said.
A big part of the team’s success has come from a powerful lineup of hitters that have given opposition pitchers fits.
“You can have the best stuff of the night but you’re going to make a mistake sooner or later. And this lineup is so deep that it doesn’t make any difference where you are when you make that mistake, they’re going to hurt you,” he said.
The Jays start a three-game home stand against the Rays at 5 p.m. Friday.