Retro Blue Jays – Jeff Juden ruins Canada Day (in an awesome kind of way)

Posted by rskhtv.

Tomorrow is our nation’s birthday, which means RED will be the dominant colour at the BLUE Jays game.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending five Canada Day games; six after tomorrow. Out of all these matches, one truly stands out:

July 1, 1997
Expos 2
Blue Jays 1

Sadly, this would be the only time Canada’s teams would meet on Canada Day. It was hot and Skydome was packed. When the match concluded and the post-game fireworks began, I had one thought: Who the hell is Jeff Juden and how dare he out-pitches the Rocket?!

I was obsessed with Roger Clemens during his two seasons with the Jays; similar to my fascination with Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey. And remember, this was well before his alleged steroid use was brought to the surface. So I was understandably excited to watch Rocket Roger for the first time live on that faithful day.

But Mr. Juden upstaged Clemens and his performance 19 years ago is still remembered.

Here’s Rob Sinclair’s report on the match.

Here’s what I also remember about the match:

– It started at 2pm. The original start time was 1pm, but was pushed back so the Jays could honour military personnel and first responders with an hour-long ceremony.

– BJ Birdy and Youppi were working together. The two mascots came into my section (500s LF) and led a Canada Day-themed cheer.

– Joe Carter struck out four times and fans were pissed.

– The final out was a deep fly ball that was caught on the warning track.

– The previous match on June 30/97 marked the first time the teams played a regular season contest. The pitching match up was Pat Hentgen vs. Pedro Martinez. The next day during a pre-game ceremony, Cito Gaston and Felipe Alou presented both starters’ uniforms to a representative from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

– It was a sell out, which had become a rarity for the Jays. It also felt like a 50/50 split between Blue Jay and Expo fans.

ER

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