Prior to 1991, I didn't really watch a ton of baseball on tv. But for whatever reason, the '91 playoffs turned me into a fan and I hitched my wagon to Jack Morris and the Minnesota Twins who of course, won that World Series in epic fashion.
In 1992, Jack Morris went to Toronto. The Jays reloaded in other ways too and had the highest payroll in baseball that year. I saw the team as composed, thought they looked fun and decided formally to root for them. I was 13. The rest is history.
The Jays won back to back titles and I was a fan for life. One of my best friends was also born in Toronto, so I felt like at least in theory I had a claim to root for them even though I grew up in New Jersey. The Yankees weren't very good when I was a kid. The Mets I've always been indifferent about. Plus, I think you have to grow up with those fandoms. My family didn't have any die hard baseball fans in it when I was growing up, which made it easier to be a free agent. That came later, but by then I was too far gone. Plus, I've grown to hate the Yankees for what they represent relative to my own team's fortunes.
But the Jays are my team. The fact that they've spent 21 years outside of the post-season, after being arguably the best expansion franchise in the history of baseball from 1977-1993 makes me even more hardened in my fandom.
I've spent the bulk of my adult life in National League cities. I've been to probably 40 or 50 St. Louis Cardinals games because old Busch Stadium let military people with an active (or retiree) ID through the press gate and we could sit in any open seat during the regular season, so when I was in the Air Force my friends and I took advantage of that a lot.
When I moved to Denver, I'd go to Rockies games because well...no one else did. ;) I saw my first playoff game during the 2007 Rocktober when the team swept the Phillies en route to their first World Series and with the demise of the Montreal Expos, I'd say they're my National League team.
But the Jays were my first rooting interest. It feels weird, since I've only seen them live three times ever. (Once at Fenway, One at the Metrodome (hilarious) in which they won on my birthday and this past year in Cincinnati for the first since 2003.)
So that's how a guy from Jersey roots for the baseball team from Toronto. I don't think you can change your team once your team picks you. The Jays picked me and I'll be a fan until the end.