The Blue Jays are ditching their popular home-run jacket

Mar 2 2023, 10:28 pm

The Toronto Blue Jays are ditching their jacket.

After failing to make it past the AL Wild Card series in the 2022 MLB Playoffs, the Blue Jays won’t be wearing their famous home run jacket for the 2023 season.

The Toronto Sun first reported the jacket’s retirement, with the decision led by the veteran players on the team, as they look to aim higher than simply celebrating big swings through the regular season.

“It’s time to go from a talented, fun team to a talented, fun team that’s going to scrap and claw and find ways to win games,” manager John Schneider said. “I love having fun. You’ve got to have fun. It’s a long season, and it’s a game. As long as you’re prepared and attentive, then winning becomes fun. The most fun to have in baseball is winning.”

The playoff collapse and loss stung the Jays last season and has had a noticeable impact on how Schneider leads the group through spring training. With his interim manager tag removed, he’s instilling a mature mentality into the group as the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alek Manoah, and Bo Bichette become league veterans.

“You can’t force it on young guys who are still figuring out their careers or figuring out what winning is,” Schneider said.

“I think we’re at the point where it’s easy to see what the next step is: These guys are talented, these guys are good. They’ve dealt with success, they’ve dealt with failure. Now let’s deal with how we are going to win.”

The original jacket, unveiled in the summer of 2021, was the idea of the club’s bilingual player interpreter, Hector Lebron, to represent the team’s multicultural backgrounds and fanbase.

It featured the likes of Canada, the USA, Puerto Rico, China, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, Columbia, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Panama. Emblazoned across the back was the phrase “La Gente Del Barrio,” which means “people of the neighbourhood.

“This whole thing is for the city, it is for the country,” Lebron told Daily Hive in 2022. “We are all the Barrio.”

Through the two seasons with the blazer, Jays players have worn the jacket at least 462 times, as the club led MLB in home runs in 2021 and was seventh in 2022.

The Blue Jays are well underway in spring training and begin their MLB season on March 30 with a visit to the St. Louis Cardinals before their home opener at the renovated Rogers Centre on April 11 against the Detroit Tigers.

Ben SteinerBen Steiner

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