Over the course of the past couple years, I have found myself running into the same old guy who sits in the same old Toronto park wearing his worn out Blue Jays hat. He sits on the same old bench day-in-and-day-out in search of a glimpse of the famous neighbourhood albino squirrel.
He chews and spits sunflower seeds, sometimes laughs to himself, and talks to anyone who takes a seat next to him on the old park bench. I am one of his daily conversations, and he looks forward to talking with me and sharing some of his sunflower seeds. I usually decline the seeds because I’m in the middle of my coffee. We talk baseball. I have been talking Blue Jays with the old guy in the park for years.
Talking Blue Jays with the old guy in the park
Me: What do ya think of the early start?
The Old Guy In The Park: The season started? (He laughed) Aren’t they still playing hockey?
Me: Ah. Yeah, so?
The Old Guy In The Park: What are they 1 and 8?
Me: Ah, no, they’re 2 and 9?
The Old Guy In The Park: 2 and 9, hmm, it’s early …
Me: Yeah, but that’s a shitty start, it’s not good to dig a hole this early.
The Old Guy In The Park: How many games back are they from first?
Me: Umm, 5.5, I think.
The Old Guy In The Park: Hmm. Not bad. Listen, who cares about their record. All that matters is how many games back they are. They have an entire season to make up 5.5 games. 5.5 games, ha ... If I told you the Jays would be 5.5 games back from the AL East leader by all-star break, you'd probably be alright with that, no?
Me: Uh, yeah, I guess, I never looked at it that way.
The Old Guy In The Park: So if they make up two games a month, they’re in great shape.
Me: Ah, yeah, but they need to fuckin’ start winning now.
The Old Guy In The Park: It’s early. The Leafs are still playing, no? Talk to me in 40 games. See where the Jays are in the standings then.
Me: Ah, yeah, I get it … That's how I feel about it too.
The Old Guy In The Park: How are the Indians doing?
Me: Shit, ah, I think they’re last in their division …
The Old Guy In The Park: And Edwin?
(I pulled out my phone and Googled the shit out of that)
Me: Ah, hold on, let me check … 1 HR and hitting .200
The Old Guy In The Park: (laughed) I hope he breaks his fingers. Him and his hand problems.
Me: Geez …
The Old Guy In The Park: Listen kid, it’s early, I remember one year, and I can’t remember the year, maybe about ten years ago … The Yankees were sitting in the cellar and I think it was May.
Me: Okay …
The Old Guy In The Park: And well, I thought I’d heckle a Yankee fan at the game, why not? (He laughs again) I hate the Yankees, and they were playing like shit … I remember yelling, 'how does it feel to be in last?'And you wanna know something?
Me: What’s that?
The Old Guy In The Park: The Yankees ended up running away with the East that year, so, yeah, it’s early.
The Old Guy In The Park: Like I said, it’s early … All these people just want to make noise. Everything is fine. They’re only 5.5 games back. Who cares about their record! The only thing that matters is how many games behind they are …
Me: True. So Sanchez is on the 10-Day DL now.
The Old Guy In The Park: That damn blister. I knew that’s why he was tossing all those meatballs the other night.