The Toronto Blue Jays' place in the hearts of the city's sports fans has never been secure. It is not enough that baseball has to compete with ice hockey for the first two months of the season, the Jays then have to play second fiddle if and when the beloved Maple Leafs are in the play-offs. Formed in 1977, the Jays have twice won the World Series - in 1992 and 1993 - but they lack the history of the Leafs, who were formed in 1917 and have had a hold on the city ever since.
Despite a shockingly strong start to the season by the Jays, that trend has continued this year. The Jays players, for their part, however, are probably not too fazed by it. General manager JP Ricciardi has assembled a nucleus of players including the dynamic Vernon Wells, star pitcher Roy Halladay and the perennially frustrating but supremely gifted Alex Rios who have all captured the hearts of those who do attend.
But as spring stretches into summer, the Jays will be faced with some tough decisions if they want to remain competitive. Should they trade away their young prospects to acquire a player to help them compete better? If so, do they need a good hitter, or a good pitcher? These questions will answer themselves in time, as all questions in baseball do. For now, the long-deprived core of baseball lifers in Toronto - who come to the Tuesday and Wednesday night games even if the ice hockey play-offs are on - hold on to the hope that the promised land could be at hand.