It should have come as no surprise that Toronto lost yesterday, in spite of the many things working in its favor. After all, the Blue Jays had won eleven of their last thirteen at home, there was a sell out crowd at the Rodgers Centre, and they were playing a Detroit Tigers club that had just suffered a thirteen game losing streak.
Unfortunately, the game happened to be on Canada Day, a National holiday for the Northern neighbors of the Untied States. It also happens to be, based on history, an unlucky day for Canada’s baseball team.
The Blue Jays have played thirty games on Canada Day in their home park over the course of their forty year history, and all thirty have been celebrations of the National holiday. Overall, though, the baseball team has had little to celebrate on the field.
In those score and a half of contests since 1977, Toronto has won just nine while losing twenty one. There have been eleven occasions on which the Blue Jays played on the road on Canada Day, and they probably wish for an away game much more often than that after the calendar turns from June to July.
As one would have expected from looking back at past occasions, the Blue Jays appeared to be doomed to lose on Canada Day again in 2018. They trailed the Tigers heading into their last at bat, and they in fact were one strike away from another holiday loss.
At that point pinch hitter Justin Smoak drew a walk with the bases loaded, allowing Toronto to tie the score and send the game into extra innings. That free pass incited the crowd at the Rodgers Centre, who felt for sure that this Canada Day would break with history and see their team succeed.
That hope proved short-lived, as the Tigers struck back in their next at bat. Shortstop Joe Iglesias hit a sacrifice fly that gave Detroit a 3-2, which ended up being the final score.
Fans around Ontario can take some comfort in the thought that the one run loss was not nearly as bad as the one back in 2001, when the division rival Boston Red Sox drubbed the home team by a score of sixteen to four. A decade and a half before the Blue Jays suffered a Canada Day loss almost as bad, the Seattle Mariners laying an eleven to two loss on Toronto.
In spite of the poor record on Canada Day in the club’s history, there is still reason to be happy when the Blue Jays play at home when July opens. Toronto’s two World Series Championships came in 1992 and 1993, both seasons in which the Blue Jays happened to win on Canada Day.