• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Rouse not blue over Blue Jays’ strikeout

Despite the best efforts of Midway native Bob Rouse, Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays will not be playing their home games this abbreviated season at Midway University’s new baseball field. On July 20, Rouse emailed the Blue Jays front office to say he’d learned the team would not be able to play at the the Rogers Centre (formerly known as SkyDome) “because of, well …. 2020.” Rouse noted that the name of Midway High School’s athletic squads was the Blue Jays, which was why he became a fan of the baseball team when it was formed in 1977 – 13 years after the school closed. Among his arguments for moving the Blue Jays to the Bluegrass: “We are a tiny town, so ‘playing without fans’ shouldn’t be an issue.” “Midway (University) 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.” “I am friends with both the mayor and the college president, so I’m your man in Midway.” “Despite our small population, the mayor and the college president are not the same person.” “The aforementioned Midway Blue Jays won the state basketball championship in 1937, so, you know, winning comes natural around here.” Rouse acknowledged a few drawbacks to his plan, like the lack of a hotel in town (though he noted that Midway is midway between Lexington and Frankfort) and admitted that neither the baseball field nor clubhouse would likely meet players’ expectations. “Honestly, there probably isn’t a clubhouse per se,” Rouse wrote. The letter was signed, “Your fan in Midway, Bob.” Rouse said his tongue-in-cheek offer was politely rejected, and the Blue Jays decided days later to play its “home” games in Buffalo, N.Y. on their AAA minor league affiliate’s field. Rouse’s time at bat was not done, though. The team’s director of fan services had asked to share his email with Sportsnet, which Rouse, a blogger, referred to as “Canada’s ESPN, I guess.” The resulting story was picked up by other Canadian and local news outlets, and Rouse was interviewed live on the Canadian Television Network and by a Toronto-area radio station. In his blog about his quest and resulting developments, Rouse wrote, “I didn’t succeed in bringing the Blue Jays to Midway, but I did shine a much-deserved spotlight on my hometown. If only a fraction of them remember that we have outstanding restaurants to dine in, and marvelous distilleries and horse farms to tour, then my late-July folly will produce visitors to Midway and Woodford County. … “And when that happens, Midway will have won the battle for the Blue Jays … in a game-ending home run.”

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