2015 Hero: The Toronto Blue Jays
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2015 Hero: The Toronto Blue Jays

Nominated for: a magical season that made us all believe.

Torontoist is reflecting on 2015 by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until midnight on January 7. At noon on January 8, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

Heroes  Toronto Blue Jays  Evan Munday

It’s not much of a challenge to defend our boys in blue as Toronto’s 2015 runaway heroes. For a city that has seen its fair share of losing sports teams over the past few decades, the Blue Jays injected a far-reaching surge of hope, confidence and hometown (and national) pride. The bandwagon was packed to the brim, and by the time October rolled around, you were smiling at ballcapped strangers on the subway, sharing the idea that we might just take it all.

A baseball season is made up of emotional moments, and this year offered us too many to count. Josh Donaldson flung himself into the crowd to improbably catch a second row fly ball. R.A. Dickey pitched a win against the Mets mere days after his father died. Ace pitcher David Price recruited his very own scooter gang, and bought everyone matching bathrobes. Slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit three home runs in a single game, and fans tossed their caps on the field to celebrate his hat trick. The defensive-minded Kevin Pillar evolved into a superhero before our very eyes.

Marcus Stroman was resurrected, and took down the rival Yankees in the rain. Cliff Pennington became the first position player to pitch in the playoffs, and there was nothing to do but laugh. We somehow managed to have an American League MVP with an oft-discussed and much admired head of hair. There were Gatorade dumps and champagne showers, with the team dancing, downing beer, and taking gratuitous selfies in the clubhouse. And who could forget a single seventh inning Bautista bat flip that set our eager hearts aflame.

It’s not hyperbole to say that this season was by far the best I’ve ever experienced as a baseball fan, and that’s including 1992 and 1993. We may not have ended up with rings, but I managed to feel every sports feeling imaginable—joy, misery, frustration, elation, and above all else, appreciation.

It may be just a game, but this year it was one that made us feel like we were all in it together, relentless optimists and insufferable curmudgeons alike, and it’s hard not to award those kinds of heroics.