Well, today was the season opener for the Toronto Blue Jays, my favourite baseball team. I’ve always liked Baseball. It’s the only sport I really got into as a kid. I think I liked the strategy of it, compared to other, faster, dumber sports. Also, playing t-ball and softball as a kid helped.
Unfortunately, I don’t get Sportsnet, so I wasn’t able to watch the opener, or any other Jays game this season, which is really a shame since I made it a point to watch their games this year. Looks like that’s not happening. For some reason we get the sports channel that airs everything from Los Angeles, but not local stuff from Toronto. No wonder Canadians lack national pride. Hopefully I can catch a game or two this summer, but that’s about it.
Anyways, despite my disappointment and failure (pretty much constants in my life), I figured I’d talk a little about what got me into the Jays in the first place; The Junior Jays. The Junior Jays Club was THE kids fan club to be a part of in the ‘90’s. I joined after visiting the grand opening of a brand-new police station opening just behind my house where they were handing out fliers and free Junior Jays magazines. I picked one up, went home, scanned the story, enjoyed the colorful pictures without really embracing the convoluted sci-fi storyline, but still thinking it was super cool. I decided to sign up for the monthly issues to be sent to my house, after my parent’s financial approval. My Dad probably just thought it meant I was getting into sports. Really it meant I was getting into sci-fi.
For those readers too unfortunate to live within the Ontario border, the Junior Jays followed the weird time and space travelling adventures of an older scarf-wearing gentleman who happened to be an alien android in disguise and travelled the universe in a booth that was bigger on the inside than the outside. Sound familiar? That’s right. Dr. Jay was a total Dr. Who rip-off and this was 1994/95 when the Doctor wasn’t airing regular episodes, so none of the kids reading it knew it was a rip-off. The thing is though, I love Dr. Jay. His character was retired after the comic series ended, but back in the day, you could see guys dressed up as Dr. Jay running around the Skydome (now the Rogers Centre) during Jays games.
Despite knowing know where the source material came from, it was always cool to get a new Junior Jays adventure each month with Dr. Jay and his little league baseball team of midgets. Yes, they even included a kid who took pictures all the time named “Flash” and a kid in a wheelchair named “Wheels”. There was also Crunchie the dog, brought to you by Nestle Crunchie bars! I wish I was joking. However, looking back, there was always a sense that the guys writing these stories put a fair amount of thought into it. Besides, they could have picked a worse thing to rip off. Even the articles that braced the pages between the story were cool and I used to enter some of the contests and get free consolation prizes. I even remember being ecstatic when I got my official membership card. I’ve still got all my old issues stashed away somewhere in my basement. I’ll have to break them out again sometime. Sadly, the Junior Jays stories ended shortly after the Junior Jays magazine went to being called “The Magazine Not For Adults” and then disappeared entirely. Kind of sad, but I’d love to get a graphic novel omnibus of those stories someday.
Come to think of it, I remember reading a really freaky article about a thing called “Hagman Syndrome” that maybe I’ll bring up in a subsequent blog. Is anyone even reading these things?