Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Bob Rouse, former Midway Blue Jay, makes a splash in Toronto by inviting its baseball team to our town

Bob Rouse displays his Toronto Blue Jays gear. (Photo provided by Rouse)

By Aaron Gershon
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

A major league baseball team in Midway? Even for a shortened season? Midway resident and Toronto Blue Jays fan Bob Rouse tried to make it happen.

The Blue Jays are looking for a home for the 2020 season after the Canadian government ruled it would be unsafe for players to travel back and forth from the U.S. amid the covid-19 pandemic.

So, Rouse decided to reach out to the team to offer up Midway University's new Don Ball Stadium to host the team.

"I am an unabashed supporter of my home town," Rouse told the Messenger. "And while I didn't really expect an MLB team to roll into Midway, I wanted to seize on the chance to put us in the spotlight.”

Rouse's email to the Toronto Blue Jays; for a larger version, click on it.
In his email to the Blue Jays, Rouse listed several reasons why Midway would be a good fit for the club including the new field, no need for fans, and the town's "remarkably good restaurants” and the mascot of the old Midway High School, the Blue Jays. (He attended elementary school in the same building.)

Rouse told the Messenger that he forgot about another point he could have made in Midway's favor: Freedman's, the equine leather shop in Midway, is based in Toronto.

His email acknowledged drawbacks, such as the lack of a hotel "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 favor of you coming or against it.)"

Despite Midway not being a reasonable home for the Blue Jays, Rouse did get a call from Director of Fan Services Christine Robertson, and has been the subject of news stories in Toronto.

"I expected a cursory email and nothing more," Rouse told the Messenger. "The Jays asked if they could share my email with a reporter, but I really didn't think he'd pick it up. And then being live on CTV News was an even bigger surprise." He also got some U.S. coverage.

The Blue Jays are still looking for a temporary home; they hoped to play in Pittsburgh, but health officials there said no.

While they won't be coming to Midway, Rouse, a writer by trade, feels he accomplished his true goal: "Down deep, this is exactly what I was hoping for: spotlight on Midway."

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