Jose Berrios expects butterflies ahead of start in Toronto Blue Jays home opener
TORONTO — Jose Berrios knows he’ll have goosebumps as he warms up ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays home opener.
Berrios will be Toronto’s starting pitcher in its season debut at Rogers Centre against the Texas Rangers on Friday night. It will be his first home opener in Toronto since he was traded to the Blue Jays from the Minnesota Twins last July.
Speaking to media a day before the home opener, Berrios said that he’s trying not to think about pitching in front of a sold-out crowd just yet.
“But maybe it will be like when I made my debut or when I played in the World Baseball Classic, something like that,” said Berrios. “I’ll have that feeling like when you feel like butterflies inside, but that’s why we work, that’s why we play.”
The Blue Jays have not had a home opener in Toronto since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Toronto played out of Dunedin, Fla., and Buffalo, N.Y., for all of 2020 and most of 2021. When they were permitted to play at Rogers Centre last season, it was at reduced capacity as part of Ontario’s safety protocols.
“Honestly, that’s why we work, you know? We want to be in that situation, that scenario, where we have that big crowd cheering for us,” said Berrios. “That motivates us to go out and give 100 per cent every day.”
Berrios will wear custom-made cleats when he pitches on Friday. The flashy red, white, and blue shoes feature the letters VSD — the initials of his childrens’ first names — on the toes of his right foot. It also has a Blue Jays logo on the toes of his left foot, Toronto’s skyline around the heels, as well as his jersey number.
“I wanted to make it special for a special night,” said Berrios as his son Diego played on the Rogers Centre turf behind him, spelling out the letter D in baseballs.
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