Blue Jays’ Howell looks forward to having support of Toronto fans

One of the newest members of the bullpen J.P. Howell loves the style, swag and reputation of the Blue Jays, explaining why this team was his first choice.

DUNEDIN, Fla. – New Toronto Blue Jays reliever J.P. Howell is very familiar with the Rogers Centre having already logged 30 innings over 20 career appearances at his new home. He’s also familiar with the passion of the team’s fans, and he’s eager to experience that from the other side of the field.

“I love the fans, the people, it gets rowdy, it’s tough being an opponent in there,” Howell said Wednesday. “They’re pretty cutthroat, they do their research, man. I want them to do that, keep it up, keep breaking them down.”

“They say some personal things, man, they know Google, they check it out,” replied the 33-year-old. “It’s interesting going there. I don’t want to say it’s a hockey vibe, but it’s a rowdy vibe.”

Asked for a sampling of some top chirps, Howell grinned and said, “Oh man, they’re all rated R.”

“Plenty of them,” he continued. “They get to you and it makes it a little wavy out there, makes you a little emotional and that’s what we want. We want those guys to feel it.”

Howell finalized a $3-million, one-year deal with the Blue Jays last week after spending the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’ll be counted on to replace some of the key left-on-left outs departed free agent Brett Cecil delivered in recent years.

Howell has been a part of six teams that reached the post-season, advancing to one World Series, in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Better than most, he understands the thin line between success and failure in the playoffs.

“It’s stuff like today, little things coming into play,” he explained. “A first-pitch strike – you can draw so many things – everything matters. When you start thinking that way now, it becomes easy and playoffs should be a time to be free, it’s not a time to adjust.

“At that point, just continue to do what you do and hopefully that gets you to the World Series and obviously winning it. When you’re that late in the season, one little thing can throw you off, so you want to make sure you cover throwing a ball to first. In the past years, pitchers making errors, or a guy not covering first base or someone not getting a bunt down, you want to make sure you’re prepared for that.”

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