Back in January the Toronto Blue Jays unveiled a new red-and-white alternate uniform, a patriotic Canadian look for the 150th anniversary celebrations happening throughout the country in 2017.
“I like ’em, they’re different, something a little different than what we’re used to wearing,” Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins told me at the time. “It looks cool to show up to a different colour jersey in the locker room and now we’ll get to do it more than just on Canada Day.”
The plan originally was to wear the uniforms for every Sunday home game with a few extra dates in July. One Saturday aside (for Canada Day), those extra dates in July never materialized. Yesterday they weren’t even worn for the home Sunday game, the team taking to the field wearing their traditional home whites.
“We should probably shred ‘em, burn ‘em, I don’t know, give ‘em away to charity, something”, Goins was quoted in regards to the phantom red jerseys yesterday after the game, singing a very different tune about them than he did in January.
So what happened?
In each of their first two games wearing the red jerseys the starting pitcher for the Blue Jays that day had to leave with an injury, J.A. Happ in their red debut on April 16th, and then Aaron Sanchez on April 30th. The team split those two games with a 11-4 loss to the Orioles on the 16th and a 3-1 win vs Tampa Bay on the 30th.
The next two games were fairly uneventful, low-scoring affairs, a 3-1 loss to the Rangers and a 3-2 victory over the Yankees… at this point calling them unlucky wouldn’t be fair. Following those games, however…
For two games on Canada Day weekend (July 1-2), the Blue Jays in red facing the Red Sox (who were wearing their patriotic “USA!” uniforms), lost both and were outscored 22-2. Happy Canada Day! A week later the Houston Astros came to town, as it was Sunday the Blue Jays again wore red, the Astros beat them 19-1. Over the course of those three games the Blue Jays lost by a combined score of 41-3.
Fast forward to July 30th against the Angels, the Blue Jays are again in red, at this point a clubhouse full of superstitious players likely already starting to dread what’s about to happen. After two-and-a-half innings the Angels were up 7-1… you could make the score 48-4 now in the last three-and-a-bit in red.
A minor rally came in the bottom of the third but the Angels tacked on some insurance runs, it was 10-4 for Los Angeles going into the bottom of the ninth. At that point the players had probably already made up their mind about the red jerseys, I can imagine at some point someone shouted “we’re not wearing these things ever again, I don’t care what happens in the ninth”.
Naturally Toronto scored seven runs in the bottom of the inning, including a walk-off grand slam to win it 11-10. If that’s the last time we ever see those uniforms, I mean… what better way to go out?
We all know how superstitious baseball players can be, yesterday’s 7-1 victory over the Pirates in the white uniforms will not help the future of the red jersey much. Toronto has turfed a piece of their uniform due to “luck” before, their iconic white-paneled caps were killed off midway through the 1993 season due to a losing streak despite having been worn for 18 years at that point.
When reached, a team official told us no official decision had yet been made regarding the status of the red jerseys moving forward. But going back to the superstitions of a ballplayer you can safely bet the team will wear white again for their next Sunday home game, if they win that one then you can probably say “so long, eh?” to the red uniform for good.