For the first time since I became a fan, it’s June and the Toronto Blue Jays are playing like they’ll be seeing the tail-end of October. The division is so close that it’s still anyone’s game, and this Blue Jays fan is loving it.
This season, Sandra and I splurged on season tickets in the upper decks. Our seats are in the 7th row, far, far, far above home plate, and I love them. (I did learn, however, that real life still gets in the way of baseball, and I’ve missed a bunch of games already.)
Being a season ticket holder (STH) gets you these nosebleeds for about $7/seat per game, but it also gives you quite a few cool benefits. Pre-season, they invited all the STHs down to the
Rogers Centre Skydome for a reception with the GM, the owner, and the manager. It was a chance to ask questions about the team’s direction for the upcoming season, and I absolutely nerded out.
A few weeks ago, Sandra and I registered for one of the other special perks; the opportunity to attend batting practice on the frickin field.
We arrived at the ‘Dome at 4:30 and were walked through the empty seats down to a roped-off place near the Jays dugout. Most of the hour was spent watching the team launch bombs to the outfield, but occasionally, a player would come over to chat, sign an autograph, and take a photo or two.
So, I have some of the most unflattering photographs of myself, posing with some of my favorite players. Sigh. Above – Colby Rasmus. He’s our center fielder (and he just went 5/6 last night with a home run!). To the left? Edwin Encarnacion – our DH. And I met Kelly Johnson and Omar Vizquel, and talked to JP Arencibia again as well. (He’s so friendly!)
It was definitely a fun experience, especially to have a few minutes to chat with the guys and get a sense, however limited, of their personalities away from the camera.
As for how the Jays are going to do the rest of the season, nothing would surprise me at this point. We’ve got one of the worst performing bullpens in baseball, but really solid starting pitching, and a lot of power with the bats.
Some might say, “If not now, when?” A lot of fans are impatient to get back to meaningful fall baseball, and a shot at a pennant if not the World Series trophy. But from everything I can tell, the statement should really be, “If not now, soon.” This team has a lot going for it, and they’re just going to get better.
To those of you who are going to your local Stitch ‘n Pitch this season, think of me! Toronto’s not having one this year, because no organization or individual wants to take on the organizing of it. I thought about it for all of five minutes before I realized that would be overcommitting on a grand scale.
Want to learn more about baseball, from a knitter’s perspective? I wrote up this primer last year: Stitch ‘n Pitch: A Baseball Primer for Knitters.