The Toronto Blue Jays fanbase is all too familiar with the plights of Seattle Mariners fans. Both franchises came in as expansion teams in 1977, and while their fortunes rarely crossed paths, both have become accustomed to the season ending early.
In 2015, the Blue Jays slayed the demon that was their 22-year playoff drought. And this season, the Mariners squashed their 21-year playoff drought and they’re back in the postseason for the first time since 2001.
After those niceties, it’s all business now between these two Wild Card teams. One fan who’s familiar with fending off Canadians is ecstatic to see his team square off against those pesky Blue Jays.
God, the Mariners gotta win that series with Toronto as a matter of my personal safety.
— Daniel Carroll (@tworsandtwols) October 5, 2022
Daniel Carroll is a long-time Mariners fan you may have noticed holding his creative signs poking fun at the thousands of Blue Jays fans who filter into T Mobile Park for their yearly west coast swing.
Last Saturday, the Mariners officially clinched a playoff spot thanks to a dramatic walk-off home run by Cal Raleigh. Perched in his seat for that momentous occasion, Carroll soaked it all in.
“Raleigh’s homer was like a bolt of lightning and it was just a shocking end to the drought,” Carroll told Daily Hive. “We were screaming and laughing and jumping up and down after it went over the fence. It was great.”
Lemme tell ya, I don’t video very many pitches during a game, but I had a feeling. pic.twitter.com/Pq5hsRFPef
— Daniel Carroll (@tworsandtwols) October 1, 2022
“It wasn’t until later, when I watched my video back, that I almost started crying. In the video, you can hear me screaming, ‘They did it!’ but I notice that I only screamed that once Raleigh touched the plate and the game was officially over.”
Unfortunately for Carroll and Mariners fans, they may not get to witness playoff games in their home ballpark this year. The Blue Jays host the Wild Card series, and the only way for M’s fans to see their team at home is by defeating the Blue Jays and advancing.
“It’s a bummer that they have to travel to Toronto for that first postseason series since 2001, but I’ll tell you this; if they win the series and we get that home Game 3 of the ALDS against Houston, that’ll be a really nice payoff,” Carroll said.
He’s typically armed with an armful of signs anytime the Blue Jays descend upon Seattle, but with the playoff series taking place in Toronto, Carroll is taking a different approach with his signs this time around.
I talked to a few from Alberta, and I let ‘em know. pic.twitter.com/zdbNYVt7E1
— Daniel Carroll (@tworsandtwols) July 20, 2022
“When Blue Jays fans come out of Canada to support their team in Seattle, I’m not really taking on Toronto with my signs exactly, I’m taking on the whole country,” Carroll said. “I had one this year, ‘Alberta is just Canadian Texas,’ which is relevant for that series, but now if I’m going to take shots, I’ve got to get a bit more Toronto-focused.”
In the past, he’s poked fun at Canadian landmarks, beloved TV legends like Mr. Dressup, Canada’s lack of Stanley Cup-winning teams, even the fact that Seattle is technically further north than Toronto.
This year he’s working on some new ideas focused on the spelling of Yonge Street and Toronto’s unofficial mascot, the raccoon. But earlier this season he politely asked Blue Jays fans to bring their winged mascot home back north of the border.
Went to the art supply store and they had many more markers and better selection than the two I went to last week. Of course.
I do still have plenty of ideas in my drafts, though, so I’ll be back next year and I’ll see you then, Canada. pic.twitter.com/LCuPknHEPu
— Daniel Carroll (@tworsandtwols) July 10, 2022
Carroll’s unsure how to handicap his hometown Mariners heading into this series since both squads are closely matched in the pitching department. He said the hallmark of the M’s this year is their bullpen, and their 3.34 reliever ERA was the fourth best in the American League this year.
“I don’t know that there’s anything really superlative about the Mariners, but they’ve had very good depth and manager Scott Servais has done a great job with them, so maybe quick hooks can help them avoid the big inning and they can hit a mistake or two over the fence to take the series,” Carroll said.
Along with some fellow diehard Mariners fans, Carroll and company created a cheering section at T Mobile Park called “The Maple Grove”, dedicated to Canadian native and former Mariners ace, James Paxton.
Their section would cheer “eh eh eh” whenever Paxton had two strikes on a batter, and the general comaraderie and goofiness from the Maple Grove section embodied what baseball togetherness is all about.
Even after the Mariners traded Paxton to the Yankees in 2019, the group donated some of their “eh” signs to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“The best part about sports is the community that surrounds it and I’ve been very fortunate to be able to help build and maintain such a positive community around being a Mariners fan,” Carroll said.
“We’re weirdos, for sure, but we all meet up whenever we’re at games and we do an annual ‘Thanksgroving’ sometime between Canadian Thanksgiving and the US version. Win or lose, I’ll definitely be with my community as we celebrate the season. We’re in for the first time since 2001. It’s all house money now.”