TORONTO - Baseball buzz in back in Toronto
Single-game tickets for the Blue Jays' April 2 home-opener against the Cleveland Indians sold out in less than an hour Friday.
"That's great," Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan said at spring training in Dunedin, Fla. "I'd like to see the attendance get back up to the way it used to be. Hopefully this team will be the team that gets it back like that."
The Jays used to pack the Rogers Centre, then known as SkyDome, in the early '90s when they won back-to-back World Series titles.
The current edition of the team is generating almost as much excitement as those World Series winners after several star players were brought in during the off-season.
Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, one of the new faces on the team, said it's now up to him and his teammates to perform on the field.
"And it furthermore gives us a real sense of responsibility to make good on that energy," he said. "And that's something we want to do collectively as a team. It's fun to be involved with an organization who has this much excitement around it."
Returning pitcher Brandon Morrow agreed.
"I know there's a lot of excitement going on in Toronto since the trades and everything," said Toronto pitcher Brandon Morrow. "Optimism is at an all-time high and rightly so. (GM Alex Anthopoulos) has put together a great squad and it's our job to come together and play as a team."
Toronto will begin the 2013 campaign by playing its first six games at Rogers Centre.
After completing a three-game series with Cleveland, the Jays will host the Boston Red Sox for a three-game series. There are still tickets left for the remaining Cleveland games and the Boston series.
"I think it's great that they sold out opening day," said Morrow. "I'd like them to sell out the next date after that too."
Manager John Gibbons says he is looking forward to returning to a city with baseball buzz.
"Opening day is always good, it was always the following day that was your true gauge," he said. "Lots is expected of us. We feel good about that, but we haven't won any games yet so we've still got to play good baseball and prove something on the field because there's still a lot of good teams out there in the league, that's for sure."
The Blue Jays will then visit the Detroit Tigers for three games, starting April 9, before starting a three-game series in Kansas City on April 12.
— With files from Neil Davidson in Dunedin, Fla.