I went to an afternoon baseball game yesterday in Toronto. Here are some random thoughts about the experience.
Driving anywhere near Toronto and the outlying cities and major highways nearby is about as close to Hell as I can imagine.
$15 is a good deal for parking in Toronto. I wish I could get hundreds/thousands of dollars a day for an oversized driveway.
The Toronto Blue Jays are my team. They were touted as possible World Series contenders this year( as they have many times over the past 25 years), but they are languishing about 5 games under .500 now. It seems they continue to leave runners on base. I’m not sure I know how to fix this. Perhaps a rotation of the batting order.
MLB now allows for Team Managers to issue a video replay challenge. The manager is allowed to challenge. If he gets it right and the play is overturned he can challenge again, but if he is wrong he has no more challenges. This might be good for the team, but it sucks for the fans. The game was moving along nicely, when Shuck was called out at 2nd base. Robin Ventura issued a challenge. It clearly showed on the giant screen that the 2nd base umpire was wrong, and that Shuck beat the tag. It was shown over and over about 20 times. roughly 10-15 minutes went by until the play was overturned. I personally hate video replays in any sport, but if they have to be there, how about a 1-2 minute timeline to keep the game moving along.
Ventura challenged again a similar play. Shuck again was called out at 2nd base. The screen was obstructed by the players so there was no way to overturn the play. Even though he lost this challenge he tried again to challenge for a 3rd time. The knowledgeable fans knew he was out of challenges and taunted him for not reading his rule book.
If I were the baseball commissioner I would limit the amount of time for new pitcher warm up throws, or not allow them at all. In any other sport the play does not stop for a substitution player to warm up. They are in the bullpen throwing during the game, so why is this needed? Also, I would limit the amount of throws the pitcher can make to first base. I know you want to keep a fast base stealer close to first, but base stealing is exciting, and throwing to first from the mound is boring and time consuming.
The music they now play at ball games is pretty awesome. They play a diverse set of tunes to appeal to all. Some of the tunes I heard yesterday were Shephard of Fire-Avenged Sevenfold, Live it Up-Airbourne, Rasputin–Boney M, Summertime-DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Come With Me-Puff Daddy, and numerous others.
Even though the fanbase is much smaller than during the championship days, the knowledge of the game, the excitement level and intensity are back. I was there in the late 80’s and early 90’s when the team was awesome, and the fans reached 53,000. During those years the fans were loud and supportive. After the 1994/95 baseball strike, the attendance numbers nosedived and have never recovered. I went to games in the late 90’s and into 2000’s and the negative vibe from the fans towards the team was felt in the stands. Also, the ushers and stadium employees seemed to want to control the fans, telling them not to yell, and settle down. It seems the positive vibes have come back, and the owners realize it is better to have loud, boisterous fans.
My hope was to leave early if it was a blow out so I could try and beat some of that awful traffic. This always means the game will go into extra innings, and sure enough it did.
Josh Donaldson has taken over for Joey Bats(Jose Bautista), and Edwin Encarnacion as the best hitter currently on the club. He smacked a 9th inning solo shot to send it into extra innings. The night before he hit a walk off homer served up by the same pitcher to end the game. This man needs to be in the All-Star Game.
The music from my rock radio stations in Southern Ontario has never been better. As I hopped in my car I had my local station 107.5 Dave FM on. I heard Max Webster, Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd-Sheep, and the “Metal Moment“ song Rainbow-Kill The King. I also emailed the program director and asked for Jesus Left Chicago-ZZ Top to bring the Blue Jays luck against the White Sox. He played the entire Waiting For The Bus/Jesus Left Chicago version. Just after that song I was getting out of the range of my local station, so I switched to 97.7 HTZ FM. These stations arguably rank in the top 2 or 3 stations in the province, or possibly the country. I suggest to give both of these stations a go online. You won`t be disappointed.
Even big league players can make easy mistakes. A routine fly ball was lost in the sun by right fielder Ezequiel Carrera, which allowed 2 runs to score.
The Bronx cheer is found in other places outside the Bronx. Carrerra heard it the next time he caught a routine flyball.
It is completely awesome to be in the crowd and hear a fan halfway across the stadium taunting the opposing team batter. The batter, Sanchez stepped to the plate. Of course, the Dirty Sanchez chants started. Sanchez squared up to bunt, and then the guy above the right field fence started. SANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNCHEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. This got hundreds of other taunts flowing from the crowd, including mine. Sanchez fouled a few bunts before deciding to swing and striking out. The crowd roar was great.
Apparently “The Wave“ is still a thing to some people. Some stood up, some raised their hands, but most realized it was 2015 and not 1995, and ignored it.