(LEX 18) — A Kentucky man and Toronto Blue Jays fan thought of a creative way to get the team to the Bluegrass: write a lengthy email and pitch his hometown of Midway, Kentucky, as a temporary home for the team.
Bob Rouse says he has a Blue Jays fan since 1977. When he saw the news over the weekend that the Canadian government rejected the club's plan to play their home games in Toronto this summer, Sportsnet reports that he made his pitch in an email, listing the following "solid reasons" to bring the Blue Jays to Midway:
"1. We are a tiny town, so 'playing without fans' shouldn't be an issue.
2. Midway College has a brand-spanking new baseball field that was set to open this spring — interrupted by COVID, of course, so it has never been played on.
3. I am friends with both the mayor and the college president, so I'm your man in Midway.
4. Despite our small population, the mayor and the college president are not the same person.
5. We have remarkably good restaurants.
6. The aforementioned Midway Blue Jays won the state basketball championship in 1937, so, you know, winning comes natural around here.
7. My wife makes great blondies (like brownies, except lighter in color). If I asked, she would make a big batch for the team (and execs, I guess)."
He even informed the team of "a few drawbacks" to his plan:
"1. We don't have a hotel, so the team would have to stay at a neighboring town. (We're midway between Lexington and Frankfort.)
2. The team could stay in the college's dorms, but students are returning before the end of the MLB season, so that could be awkward.
3. While the baseball field is new, as I mentioned, I can't say if it would meet MLB specs.
4. I'm not sure if the college's clubhouse facilities would meet players' expectations. Honestly, there probably isn't a clubhouse per se."
"So yeah, Midway has a few strikes against it as the temporary home of a professional baseball team," Rouse added. "But as a true-blue fan, I would be rude not to offer to help the team in this challenging time. (I should add that I own three different Blue Jays ball caps — not sure if that's a point in favour of you coming or against it.)"
He thought that would be the end of it, but he ended up getting a phone call from Christine Robertson, the team's Director of Fan Services.
"I'm a small-town boy, so hearing from the front-office of a major-league baseball team is just — of course there was never any intention of really taking me up, but I think she got a smile from my invitation and I was certainly touched by her personal outreach," Rouse told Sportsnet. "That's just really good customer relations and fan services. I'm grateful for that."
Rouse even spoke about the experience in an interview with CTV News on Wednesday:
While Midway does not seem like a possibility, he reportedly felt obligated to give Grayson Vandegrift, the town mayor, a heads up to be ready "just in case."
"He's so excited about it," Rouse told Sportsnet. "He said, 'I had not been a Blue Jays fan until now. Now, I'm all about it. Maybe we should be sister cities.' Mayors think in those terms."