The buzz is building for the Toronto Blue Jays regular season as they kicked off Spring Training this week in Florida.
Alex Anthopoulos drastically revamped the roster and helped reinvigorate a fan base after one of the more disappointing campaigns in recent memory.
With Blue Jays single-game tickets going on sale Friday morning, here are sportsnet.ca’s 10 must-see games in Toronto this season.
Date: Apr. 2
Time: 7:07 p.m. ET
The Lowdown: The city is jacked up about the new-look Blue Jays and there should be a playoff atmosphere at the Rogers Centre for the Home Opener. This will be the first look at the new and improved roster and Toronto’s first chance to see new ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who is projected to start against the Indians.
Date: Apr. 5
The Lowdown: This might be the most anticipated game of the year as Blue Jays fans are chomping at the bit to see John Farrell’s return to the Rogers Centre. Farrell left Toronto to join the Boston Red Sox on bad terms with the fan base and the former Blue Jays manager should expect a very harsh reception in his first game back in Toronto.
Date: May 14-15
The Lowdown: New Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera will take on his old teammates for the first time as the defending World Series champs make a rare appearance in Toronto. If you’re a fan of a pitching, this is a must-see series as the Blue Jays and Giants have assembled two of the league’s most impressive starting rotations. You might even get a chance to check out Tim Lincecum’s new haircut.
Date: Apr. 21
Time: 1:07 p.m. ET
The Lowdown: It’s always fun seeing the atmosphere at the Rogers Centre with the New York Yankees in town. The finale of their first three-game series features Edwin Encarnacion Bobblehead Day, which is always a popular event for fans. You may not get the chance to boo A-Rod this time around but watching future Hall of Famers such as Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki should be on any Jays fan’s bucket list.
Date: July 21
The Lowdown: This Sunday afternoon game not only features a chance to see former Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar and the rival Rays but fans should come early as the Blue Jays will be adding Carlos Delgado to the Level of Excellence. The former Blue Jays slugger has always been one of Toronto’s more popular players and the first 20,000 fans will receive a Commemorative Delgado baseball.
Date: July 1
The Lowdown: Canada Day is generally one of the busiest day games at the Rogers Centre and this year has the Blue Jays taking on the defending American League champions in the Detroit Tigers. Fans will get a chance to see exciting sluggers such as Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and maybe even Kate Upton will be in the crowd to see Justin Verlander. That’s more than a reason to go.
Date: July 22-24
The Lowdown: The highest-spending team in baseball offers plenty of high-profile players including Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Blue Jays rarely get the chance to see a historic National League franchise like the Dodgers at the Rogers Centre and this could turn out to be the most fun series of the season.
Date: May 27
The Lowdown: The rematch of the 1992 World Series is a must-see as the Blue Jays and Braves had two of the most exciting off-seasons this winter. The Braves will see a lot of familiar faces from the NL East when they take on Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Emilio Bonifacio for the first time in a Blue Jays uniform.
Date: Sept. 10-12
The Lowdown: This has the potential to feature two teams who could be in the thick of the American League playoff race. Led by new slugger Josh Hamilton, future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols and blooming superstar Mike Trout, the Angels should be a pleasure to watch and could be one of the most fun offences in the majors. It will be the Angels’ lone visit to Toronto during the regular season and you could even see Vernon Wells play. Remember him?
Date: Aug. 11
The Lowdown: Oakland doesn’t have the superstars like New York or Los Angeles but the Athletics are a fun and scrappy team featuring a collection of young talent who plays the game the right way. Not only will you able to see some of best young starters in the American League, but the Blue Jays will also be giving out Brett Lawrie bobbleheads to the first 20,000. Who doesn’t want one of those?
Which game are you most excited to see this season at the Rogers Centre?