TORONTO - In the early years of the Blue Jays, when baseball seemed so new, so exciting, what caught me, pulled me in, kept me there, were the stories about the stars who came to Toronto.
One week it was Reggie Jackson, the next Earl Weaver, the week after, George Brett.
It didnít matter much in the early years that the Blue Jays themselves werenít any good. We were getting to know the best in baseball, reading about them from Trent Frayne or Milt Dunnell. Being in the stands at wonky Exhibition Stadium felt like being in the presence of greatness.
So here it is, 36 summers later, and the Blue Jays of today are more disappointing than any of those early inept teams, and the attraction on a Monday night at Rogers Centre is not the last-place club but the giant rookie who has changed the season for the suddenly red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers, playing just their seventh game in Toronto.
The story of the kid from Cuba, who has amazed and confused baseball, his opponents and his teammates, is reminiscent of days gone by in Toronto. It is the kind of thing Frayne would have written about, bringing life to a name we know, a player and a person we donít.