One of my baseball pet peeves is hearing people continue to bellyache about the 1994 strike almost two decades later. The complaints always strike me as empty and lame, because if those fans still haven't gotten over the work stoppage, it's likely they never really liked baseball in the first place and would've found another excuse to moan had the strike never happened. They're seriously past the point of being able to be legitimately upset*.
*Except for Expos fans, of course. They're allowed to be as mad as they want.
According to Lyle Overbay(notes), then, Toronto wouldn't be my kind of place. As he prepares to make his return to Rogers Centre on Tuesday night, the ex-Blue Jay who now plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates believes the strike is still to blame for the team's poor attendance.
"Ever since the strike, it's been bad," Overbay said. "Those kids who boycotted it back then, now they have kids and they're still boycotting it."
Attendance bounced back in other major league towns after the strike. Why not Toronto?
"I'm assuming just because of their values," Overbay said. "I don't know. They're not as forgiving as Americans, I guess. It's personal for them, and they're sticking to it."
Of course, just because Overbay says this does not make it so. I find it a little hard to believe that the Toronto Blue Jays' complete lack of division titles (or playoff appearances) since 1993 hasn't played a much bigger role in making a packed-to-the-gills Skydome watching Cito's crew nothing but a hazy memory.
But the Blue Jays fans know better than me, so I'd like them to answer the follow question: Does the 1994 strike really still resonate louder north of the border than it does in other baseball 'burghs?