Drunk Jays Fans

Drunk Jays Fans

Until recently, I thought all drunk jays fans were the same. It wasn't until I read the funniest sports blog in the city that I could tell the difference.

For over a season and a half of ups and downs but generally mediocre baseball, Drunk Jays Fans writers, Andrew Stoeten, Dustin Parkes and Justin Bergkamp, have maintained a steady flow of posts each week after heart-breaking week following the Toronto Blue Jays. Irreverent and intelligent, Drunk Jays Fans doesn't shy away from comment or criticism on everything from baseball broadcasters and writers to players and fans. The site's combination of laugh out loud crudeness and impassioned observations make it both entertaining and insightful.

Drunk Jays Fans

The Drunk Jays Fans' writers having a drink at the Village Idiot.

The site definitely has a niche market, as readers must possess decent knowledge of baseball and the Blue Jays, have a high tolerance for swearing, and should have a basic grasp of sports media personalities in the Toronto area. If you posses these basic criteria, you'll likely agree - blogs this good are rare.

Here is a sample from one of yesterday's posts by Andrew Stoeten:

For starters, it's somewhat absurd to say that Ricciardi doesn't have a plan. I think when it's argued that he doesn't have a plan, it's meant that he doesn't have a grand, cohesive, multi-layered plan for domination of major league baseball, from which you must not deviate-- which is a pretty fucking stupid concept for anyone living in the real world, but let's ignore that for a second. The guy obviously has "plans" of one kind or the other. Keeping Adam Lind in Syracuse all year was a "plan"-- maybe even part of a bigger plan. But hey, what's this? When other plans started falling through-- like Frank Thomas, Shannon Stewart, Brad Wilkerson and Kevin Mench not being complete bags of shit-- why the fuck didn't Ricciardi get Lind up ASAP? Oh yeah, because he had a plan! That he stuck to! Like a fucking clown!

Earlier this year Drunk Jays Fans were approached by The Score to do an hour-long podcast once a week. The podcast is recorded in The Score studios (photos below) and can be streamed or downloaded from The Score's mlb frontpage. The podcasts are filled with as many f-bombs and cock jokes as any of the Drunk Jays Fans posts, and filled with guests from all avenues of baseball, from The Fan's Mike Wilner to former Blue Jay closer Duane Ward.

I interviewed the writers of Drunk Jays Fans last week via e-mail:

Did you become Jays fans because you were drunk, or did you get drunk because you were a Jays fan? What's your beverage of choice?

DP: I was five years old when I first started watching baseball. In fact, the very first game I ever went to was in 1985 when the Blue Jays won their first pennant. The only thing I can remember though is the crowds of people running onto the field after the Jays won. Considering my lack of memory, I may very well have been black-out drunk. I was really into the hard stuff when I was younger: paint thinner, rubbing alcohol, etc. I've cooled my jets as I've grown older. Lately I've been enjoying rye and waters.

JB: I became a Blue Jays fan because I was hungover. Three hours of a sport that's more pastoral than extreme is very comforting when you're unable to lift your head from the couch. I like beer, but my favourite beverage of all time is water. As far as alcohol consumption during games, regardless of the outcome, I prefer to watch Jays games sober or hungover.

AS: I've been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember, but for a long time when I was very young, I had a hard time following the crowd when it came to the Jays. For whatever reason, my baseball heroes were guys like Will Clark, Dale Murphy, and Ken Griffey Jr., but I got caught up in the teams of the glory years, and the obviousness of where my passions lie kind of took care of itself. My level of drinking has much more to do with what's happening in my wallet than what's happening on the field. I'm generally into beer, and tallboys of Bavaria are by far the best thing going right now.

How did the blog get started?

JB: I met Parkes and Stoeten in the summer of 2004. Parkes was subletting a room in a house my buddy was staying at. I found out they were Dutch as well, and the friendship was solidified over hundreds of pints during Euro Cup matches in which Parkes prevented me from getting my ass kicked and Stoeten advised me not to knock over newspaper stands at 3 in the afternoon. They also had a house party one time where they threw bricks off the balcony into a pile of bricks that had been lit on fire. I found that pretty endearing. As for the blog, one day Stoeten put something up and they were nice enough to ask me to contribute.

AS: Parkes and I and a circle of our friends would always chat via email throughout the day while we were at work, and a lot of them didn't give a shit about baseball. Those people are now dead to me, but they really helped get the blog off the ground by insisting that Parkes and I take our baseball chatter out of the daily chain of emails. We'd also be constantly make fun of the hacks covering baseball in this town (who we now find ourselves grovelling at to be guests on our podcast), and eventually decided that we could do it better. I don't think I'd read a blog in my life when we started.

I'm assuming you all kept your day job (no offense meant), what do you do when you're not posting?

DP: I work as a freelance PR consultant which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it gives you time during work hours to write a post or two with no one looking over your shoulder, but it's a curse because you can end up blogging and then realize at 5:00 p.m. that you've spent an entire day in front of your computer without a single billable hour to show for it.

AS: Oh, Dustin is very fastidious when it comes to proper billing. I'm sure that's not at all a giant load.

JB: I work an office job, which is more soul sucking than Ron Black calling a baseball milestone (heyo!). I try to write all of my posts at work though in an effort to pretend that I actually get paid to do DJF. It actually takes priority over any assignments I have at work.

AS: Dude, for the last fucking time, it's ROD!

Have you been surprised by the success of the blog?

JB: I am fucking amazed that anybody reads and likes this thing. I think I'm the only person who thinks that we're really offensive and should be banned from the internet.

AS: The more I get to know what else is out there, the less surprised I am that people actually get a kick out of reading us, but originally it was pretty shocking to think people were actually into this crap. We're probably ten times more popular now than we were a year ago-- which is a bit strange, because we'd kind of made a shtick of relentlessly dumping on people who are now actually reading us, and could probably have us killed if they really wanted.

If you could pick any roll on the Blue Jays to fill for a year, from batboy to GM, second baseman to broadcaster, what would it be?

DP: I would love to be J.P. Ricciardi's conscience. You'd have nothing to do all day and very little responsibility.

JB: Shit, I don't know. Probably a job where I could travel with the team, watch all the games, get the per diem, free hotels, food and groupies but not really have to do anything at all. Oh, and get paid a fuckload for it.

AS: There's still time for me to learn a knuckleball.

Drunk Jays Fans at The Score
At The Score studio recording the podcast. One of them just may be suffering from a hangover...
I see Mike Wilner reads the blog and has responded to posts. I know you're big fans of Wilner, so that's one thing, but have you ever had a response from someone you've torn apart on the blog?

JB: Mike Toth replied to Parkes' bashing of him within minutes with a very cordial reply that he wanted posted on the site. And Ryan Greer supposedly wants to be on our podcast. That's after me adding a speech balloon to his picture that says he likes cock. Most recently, Richard Griffin responded to an e-mail claiming that he'd like to go for a beer with us sometime. Um, while flattered, we're approaching this one with caution as it could be a trap by him to beat the living shit out of us.

AS: My favourite was way before we thought anybody was reading us, and Parkes wrote a post titled "Brad Penny is a Greaseball". Some woman with the last name Penny-- not sure who, specifically-- very quickly jumped down our throats in his defense. Oh, and Jerry Howarth was one of the first people we'd heard was reading us-- not long after I'd had a couple posts suggesting that he was secretly a dirty, dirty old man.

How did you get hooked up with The Score to do the podcasts? Have they ever received complaints about the language or content?

DP: I think we're pretty good at writing and maintaining the content on the blog, but we're absolute shit at promoting ourselves and organizing advertisers and doing other things that would actually make us money or get us noticed. We were lucky enough to have The Score approach us with an opportunity to work with them and we jumped at the chance. Basically they told us we could up their cool quotient and we told them they could lend us their studio.

As for the language and content, they've given us free reign on the podcasts. Not to suck their cocks too much, but I think The Score, or at least the online portion of the network sees that covering sports is becoming less and less about a guy in a suit relaying a game summary, and more about having an audience interact with stories and opinions. What's refreshing about The Score is that their website pulls this off without being condescending to its readers like the other sports networks which make you feel as though you should be grateful that Mike Toth or Jamie Campbell are willing to share their "personal insight" through the bullshit meanderings found on their blogs.

JB: The Score has been great. And Joe Ross, our producer, is a really good guy. The pay is also phenomenal.

What's your take on the team at this point in the season, are the Jays simply a below .500 team?

JB: My impression changes day to day. As much as we make fun of fairweather fans, I'm no better. After last night's victory I'm thinking "playoffs!" If they lose tonight, I'll probably kill myself.

A lot of people don't really get the thrill of baseball... in all honesty, a lot of people think it's the most boring sport in the world... what would you say to these people? In other words, why do you enjoy baseball so much?

DP: To people who find baseball boring, I say "fuck off" and "enjoy your Leafs."

JB: As Louis Armstrong replied to a reporter asking him what jazz is: "If you have to ask, then you'll never know ... you stupid fucking cracker." That quote might not be exactly right, but I think it's a fitting analogy for people who don't get baseball.

AS: Oh, so I get to be the loser who gives the serious answer? Fine. Well... for me it's because the game is so full of nuance. The way fielders shade to one side or the other, the way pitches move and the different grips work-- there are all kinds of little variables at play all the time. And I think the people who find it boring are probably only seeing it on the simplest level. It may not have the immediate, visceral pull of a spectacle like a high-level soccer match, but it's compelling once you get to know it.

Drunk Jays Fans at The Score

At The Score studio recording podcast 9.

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