“I don’t have Twitter. I don’t need any more anxiety in my life”: A Q&A with the Blue Jays’ all-star closer, Jordan Romano

“I don’t have Twitter. I don’t need any more anxiety in my life”: A Q&A with the Blue Jays’ all-star closer, Jordan Romano

Jordan Romano is one of baseball’s best closers. As the Blue Jays’ lone Torontonian, he’s also the team’s go-to guy for the city’s hotspots and attractions.

On July 17, it was announced that Romano would replace injured New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole at tomorrow’s MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles. It will be the hurler’s first invite to the midsummer classic.

We’ll get to your career with the Jays, but first I want to talk about your time as a Markham Mariner. What were you like as a child athlete?
Back then, I didn’t pitch much. I was a catcher; I played third base. I loved to hit, but when the guys started throwing a little harder, it didn’t go so well. Honestly, some of my fondest memories of playing baseball are from those years. It was just about pure fun. I still talk to a lot of my buddies from the team.

Did you know, as a kid, that you wanted to go pro?
That was always the dream, but it was really far away at that point. I was an okay player but by no means an all-star. It wasn’t until I was 17 or 18, when I started getting a little taller, throwing a little harder, that I was like, Hmm, maybe if I work really hard and a lot of things go right, this could happen. Still a big long shot. I got a scholarship from Oral ­Roberts University, in Oklahoma, and got drafted by the Blue Jays five years later.

I would ask about the highlight of your season, but I’m assuming it was when you broke Tom Henke’s record for most consecutive saves.
That was definitely a special moment, making history while playing for the team I grew up watching. But, for me, the highlight of this season was opening day. It had been a couple of years since we were able to play here because we were stuck in Tampa and Buffalo thanks to Covid. It was a sold-out crowd, we won and I ended up getting a save, so that was a pretty cool feeling.

And a long time coming after two years of the pandemic.
Especially because my family couldn’t come see me when the border was closed. My dad is a huge fan. We went to Jays games all the time when I was growing up, and he was there celebrating in ’92 and ’93. The dream was always to play for the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre. Playing in Buffalo was great—still the big leagues—but nothing like being here on home soil.

I think you’re the only Blue Jay for whom the GTA is actually home soil. Do the other guys ask you for recommendations on where to hang out?
For sure, they’ll ask me where to go eat, what they should do with the kids. My go-to restaurant is Jacob’s. They’ve got the best steak in the city. For spending time with family, there’s a lot of stuff to do down by the water. Walk along the shoreline, watch the ferries, get a BeaverTail.

When did you last eat a BeaverTail?
I actually walked by a stand today and really wanted one, but I couldn’t because we’ve got a game tonight. I think I last had one five or six years ago up in Collingwood.

Most pitchers want to be starters, but you’ve always coveted the closer spot. How come?
I was a starter in the minors, but I always wanted to be in the bullpen. That’s what I played in college. When you’re entering the game in the ninth inning, there’s so much riding on every pitch. You can give your team a good shot, but you can also blow the game. It’s definitely a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, but I’m starting to like that feeling now.

I saw on Instagram that you recently got engaged. Congrats!
Thanks. My fiancée, Samantha, is from Tampa. I met her down there when I was rehabbing after Tommy John elbow surgery. I’ve been with her for six years, so I was getting some pressure. I finally did it last February, right before spring training. I took her down to Clearwater Beach, got a photographer set up and asked her. It was great. Our new Doberman puppy, Otto, was there with us.

I recently started following Otto on Instagram. Are you the human behind his account?
No, that’s all Samantha. I don’t have Instagram or Twitter or any of that. I don’t need any more anxiety in my life.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.