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Jays fans hope off-season changes make them a contender

Pitcher R.A. Dickey (left) shakes hands with Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos before a news conference in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2013 as the Jays introduce the newest addition to their roster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Toronto sports fans have high hopes for the Jays this summer to deliver the first major North American sports championship in 20 years.

Recent trades have brought all-star ball players north of the border, with the likes of pitcher R.A. Dickey to fuel the optimism for the Jays this season.

President of the Jays Paul Beeston, called the Jays a changed teams with all-stars, speed and a deep pitching staff.

A faint “Go Jays Go” chant has been heard throughout the Air Canada Centre at recent Maple Leafs hockey games and Beeston said fan excitement can already be measured.

“Ticket sales are dramatically up, but it still comes down to winning” Beeston said.

“It gets back to winning because fans have shown their support.”

Beeston expects fan excitement to boost game attendance to three-million this year, a number the team hasn’t seen since the early 90′s.

Last season, Jays attendance was 2.1-million.

General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said the team’s revamped lineup is about building a solid multi-year contender, not just a beefed up team to sneak into the post-season and then rebuild.

“We’re not going to fly under the radar so why are we going to pretend we’re going to fly under the radar. People are talking, so let’s walk the talk,” commented Beeston.