The Toronto Blue Jays are heading back to the MLB postseason, as tickets for home playoff games remain available.
Sports fans’ interest and excitement are typically at peak levels in the final stretch of regular season games that lead to the playoffs. But fan interest in attending Blue Jays playoff games this season has declined from previous seasons.
Rather than feed the usual frenzy to scoop up game tickets before they sell out, some Jays fans are taking a wait-and-see approach to assess their team’s performance at the wildcard series in Minneapolis.
“Maybe given how up and down this season has been and the way fans feel like the season is over or they’re back in form,” said Maddie Cholette, a Blue Jays superfan and season ticket holder.
She said the lack of urgency to buy playoff tickets was “pretty surprising.”
Postseason tickets were made available at 10 A.M. EST on Sept. 28 through Ticketmaster for the two potential divisional series games on Oct. 10 and 11.
Several days and confirmation of a postseason berth later, tickets for these games still remain available.
‘No idea what they are going to do’
It has been a bumpy ride this year for Blue Jays fans. Due to the team’s inconsistent performances throughout the regular season, some fans are feeling uncertain of the Jays’ chances for success in the postseason.
Per Fangraphs, a baseball analytics website, the Toronto Blue Jays had just a 33.6 per cent chance to clinch the postseason after losing four straight games to the Texas Rangers on Sept. 14. The team proceeded to win five straight games, skyrocketing their probability to 83.9 per cent.
“Either they could get swept in the wildcard round or somehow find themselves in Game 7 of the World Series,” Cholette said. “We [fans] literally have no idea what they are going to do. I don’t even know what to expect.”
The offense from the Blue Jays this season has trended down from last year. In 2022, the team ranked fourth in the MLB in runs scored (775). This year, the Blue Jays were tied for 14th, scoring 29 less runs from the prior season.
On Sept. 26, the Blue Jays were shut out by the Yankees, losing 2-0, in front of a home crowd of 40,545 fans at the Rogers Centre. The team’s lack of offense kept many fans in attendance silent through the entire game.
This led Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Belt to send a message for fans attending the next game.
“We need the fans to be loud. These are important games for us,” says Belt, per TV Broadcaster Hazel Mae on X.
On Sept. 27, fans in attendance at the Rogers Centre booed the Jays after the team was blanked in back-to-back games, losing 6-0 to the Yankees.
“This team hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence for fans to believe they’re going to go out and win a wildcard round or come home in a great situation,” says Zach Worden, Associate Editor at Sportsnet and podcast host for the Bird’s Eye View Podcast.
The last postseason game at the Rogers Centre was played last year on Oct. 8, where the opposing Seattle Mariners surged back from an 8-1 deficit to win 10-9, eliminating the Blue Jays in heart-breaking fashion.
Are pitching and defense enough?
The Blue Jays have among the best pitching staff in the American League this season, ranking second among AL teams with a 3.79 Earned Run Average, which measures the number of earned runs a pitcher allows per nine innings.
Fans contemplating on purchasing playoff tickets aren’t likely to witness another pitching meltdown, Worden said.
“They have been better in September. The pitching has been really good. People say pitching and defense wins championships.”
The Blue Jays are set to play the Minnesota Twins in a best two-of-three wildcard series at Target Field in Minneapolis. Game 1 is scheduled for Oct. 3, with Game 2 the following day. Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Thursday.
Playoff games will be played at the Rogers Centre on Oct. 10 if they advance past the Twins in the wildcard round, with a possible game on Oct. 11.