TORONTO – The tradition started early in the 2011 season, during one of the many debates Toni Fletcher had with other Toronto Blue Jays fans over Adam Lind’s worth. As they picked at the faults in the slugger’s game, she pointed to his merits.
Eventually, someone said to her, “Well if you feel that strongly about him, do something.”
“So I said, ‘Alright,’ and I stood up in his next at-bat, and yelled, ‘Adam, you’re my favourite,'” recalls Fletcher, a season-ticket holder since 2010. “They thought it was a big laugh and said, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s really funny. So what?’ So I said, ‘So What?’ I did it the next time he was at-bat, and I started doing it every game, every time he comes up to bat.”
As anyone around the seats behind home plate on the Rogers Centre’s 200 level can attest to, Fletcher has since been Cal Ripken-like in that regard, never taking a game off. The moment Lind’s walk-out music – this year it’s My Chick Bad by Ludacris – stops, her piercing, high-pitched shriek follows.
Combined with the supportive, "Adam, you're her favourite," bellowed in concert by her wife, Tracy Thornton, Fletcher's shout has become a staple for anyone within earshot.
"I'm sure there are people who do not appreciate my cheering for him when he comes up to bat, but there are also many people in our area who look for me when Adam's music comes on to see if that crazy lady is going to cheer," says Fletcher. "I've been told by some people that when they're at home watching on TV, their children now stand up and yell, 'Adam you're my favourite' when Adam comes up to bat. People in the stands often join me. And I just love it."
Well, back in 2009, Lind and Aaron Hill both had big seasons and became Fletcher's favourite players on the Blue Jays. Especially the former, who earned her admiration for "how he's quiet and goes about his business, does what needs to be done, he's not a show-off, he's not playing for the camera."
"There was Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, big-showoff woo-hoo, big contracts, and I just liked Aaron and Adam. When Aaron left I said, 'Well, Adam is it.'"
That support never wavered through Lind's down times in 2010, the second half of 2011 and 2012, although she does have one point of criticism for the slugger.
"Not crazy about the beard, I don't think it's his best look," she says, "but he's working well."
Lind says that since Fletcher's cries were pointed out to him by a reporter, he has heard it when the circumstances have been right and the Rogers Centre has been quiet enough.
He appreciates the support and says the quiet, inward demeanour that draws Fletcher praise, "is just who I am as a person."
"A lot of times when I do something crazy, the first thing that pops into my head is, 'Oh man, my mom's watching,'" says Lind, who doesn't think he's ever pimped a homer in pro ball. "I did in high school. My high school team was really good, I was one of the younger guys on the team and we hit a lot of homers so we started pimping homers. I went to summer ball that year and continued the same bad habits and some guys got hit because of me. So I stopped.
Fletcher has had only one personal interaction with Lind, when he stopped by a crowd of fans during a spring training game in Dunedin, Fla., and signed some autographs.
Thornton admires Lind, too, but her favourite players are Melky Cabrera and Casey Janssen. That being the case, why did she decide to join Fletcher in the Lind chants?
"I just admired the tenacity to do it all those years," she explains. "After a while, you have to support it."