Toronto Blue Jays Should Be Thankful to Play in AL East

Mark RoseCorrespondent IApril 23, 2010

TORONTO - APRIL 21: Shaun Marcum #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays  gets ready to throw against the Kansas City Royals during an MLB game at the Rogers Centre April 21, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays began their 2010 season on a high note, starting 5-1 before coming back to the Rogers Centre for their home opener against the White Sox.

While Toronto ultimately lost that game, the Rogers Centre was at least buzzing with an announced sellout crowd of 46,321. 

What a difference a day made.

Just one night later, a then-record low 12,167 saw Ricky Romero take a no-hit bid into the eighth inning to help the Jays even up the series. It was a stunning sight and, from a lifelong Jays fan's perspective, straight-up depressing.

The crowds continued to diminish throughout the team's 10-game home stand. To a point, I guess you can say the Kansas City Royals are partly to blame for that.

For years, fans have been wondering what it would be like if the Blue Jays were in a different division, where they could avoid the powerhouse Yankees and Red Sox. Many Jays fans hawk the tired excuse that if the team were in the AL Central, they'd have a greater chance for on-field success, to which I quip back that if a fourth grader were in kindergarten, he'd have straight A's.

Fact of the matter is, looking from an attendance standpoint, the Blue Jays and their faithful should be thanking their lucky stars they play in the same division as those two aforementioned powerhouses.

Aside from a possible Roy Halladay homecoming in late June, the 15 combined times the Yankees and Red Sox visit the Rogers Centre will be the only times the stadium won't look like a cavernous concrete abomination. Like it or not, a good chunk of those fans will be root, root, rooting for the away team.

Obviously, with greater attendance comes greater revenue, and almost just as importantly, the Jays organization won't be the brunt of jokes for at least a couple dozen games this season. Nothing looks worse than 10,000 fans scattered throughout a 45,000-seat stadium.

So while devoted Blue Jays fans will boo the Beantowners and Bronx Bombers when they are in town, you can bet the club's accounting staff will be all smiles.