(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, B.C.) - Leave it to the iconic Dolly Parton to provide me with this article's first and perhaps only quote as it was the legendary country musician who once said "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain," and as the staff back at Rogers Centre in Toronto begin the teardown of the clubhouse, the field and the countless elements that make up the experience of a Toronto Blue Jays game, you can still hear the whispers of awe from foul pole to foul pole.
This was a very big year for the 'future' of the Blue Jays as the transition is now well underway with seven former Vancouver Canadians making their Major League debuts with Toronto including Jon Berti, Jonathan Davis, Rowdy Tellez, Ryan Borucki, Jose Fernandez, Murphy Smith (drafted by A's - '09) and Justin Shafer. Each player getting 'the call' and surely a number of moments walking around a variety of Major League fields that made them shiver at the mere thought of making it to the game's highest level.
There were several more former Canadians that made their MLB debuts with the Blue Jays a season ago (2017) including Tim Mayza, Richard Urena, Ian Parmley, Carlos Ramirez, and Dwight Smith Jr. This was the beginning of the influx that we anticipated and now we are finally starting the see those seeds planted during our Championship runs from 2011 through 2013 paying off.
There is no doubt that the emergence of many of these players is due to the transition or 'rebuild' that the Blue Jays are now embarking on after a handful of years competing for a post-season spot. Toronto finished 35 games back of the American League East pennant winners from Boston and 24 games out of a Wild Card hence the need for a new game plan from Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro. That said, the writing was on the wall a few seasons ago and now we begin to see the emergence of a few players ready to make the last step and join the likes of Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Kevin Pillar.
The beauty of this transition comes in the fact that even with these debuts over the past few seasons, there is yet another wave or two still to come. Vladdy and Bo will be the headliners after being anointed as the best prospects yet to reach the Major Leagues, but add to that former Canadians T.J. Zeuch, Nate Pearson and Cavan Biggio not to mention Max Pentecost and a handful of others - and the future suddenly brightens considerably with just the home-grown talent much less what the Blue Jays can do on the open market. Not to mention that the Blue Jays will have a new manager and potentially coaching staff that could include John Schneider who managed the Canadians in 2011, 2014-15.
It will undoubtedly take time for this next generation to get their feet wet, and that's why this season despite the struggles in the wins and losses had many fans clammouring for this moment to arrive. It will be bumpy and likely a few more seasons of looking up at the rest of the American League East, but as Dolly mentioned, "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
The Vancouver Canadians wish to congratulate all those players who realized their dreams this summer and got the chance to button up the jersey of the Toronto Blue Jays.
List of Vancouver Canadians to reach the Major Leagues dating back to 2011 (since C's aligned with Blue Jays):
2011: Jon Berti, Andy Burns, Kevin Pillar, David Rollins, Taylor Cole, Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Justin Nicolino
2012: Ian Parmley, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith Jr., Carlos Ramirez, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna, Marcus Stroman
2013: Dawel Lugo, Matt Dermody
2014: Franklin Barreto, Jon Davis, Tim Locastro, Richard Urena, Ryan Borucki, Miguel Castro, Jose Fernandez, Jairo Labourt, Tim Mayza, Justin Shafer
Note: Sean Reid-Foley was assigned to Vancouver and travelled with the Canadians during the 2014 Post-Season, but never pitched.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.