Monday, April 8, 2013

A Bad Day at the Ballpark

With all the great bloggage in Blue Jays Land, I've been confining myself to writing about the minor league system, which offered much more joy than could be found anywhere within the vicinity of the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre today.

But, since I am a Jays fan, and living in Toronto for the time being, I'm availing myself of the opportunity to go see the big league team whenever I can.  Today, as a part of a wedding gift to a couple of my baseball loving friends (one of whom is a gigantic Red Sox fan*), we headed down to the Rogers Center to watch R.A. Dickey work his magic.

Unfortunately, the game was an utter disaster and offered some ugly glimpses of many, many things, aside from the on-field egg that every team lays on occasion.

Things I learned (on-field edition):

1) Dickey is prone to bad days.  It's going to happen.  He will be awesome on occasion, too.
2) Dave Bush hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2011 for a reason.  He gave up 4 HRs.  Is he going to end up going back to AAA?  He can opt to refuse the assignment, but I have a feeling that he's not sticking around after that performance today.
3) This team REALLY misses Brett Lawrie.  If only for his defense. And the fact that those metal cutouts that Charlie Sheen pitches to in Major League can hit better than DeRosa.
4) Without Bautista, Rasmus, Lawrie, and Lind, the lineup is pretty gosh darn thin.  I can understand the effort to get right-handed hitters into the lineup against a tough lefty like John Lester, but make sure those righties can hit.  No, spring training stats don't count anymore.
5) Carrying 8 relievers is stupid, especially when Lawrie and Bautista are hurt (Don't worry, Andy LaRoche should already be on the QEW from Buffalo - he's hit 3 HRs in the last 2 days ... and he can play 3B).
6) Brett Cecil is becoming a monster in his resurrection.  He finished the game, taking over for the shell-shocked Bush and got four outs (three by strikeout) and only giving up one walk.  So far this year, he's thrown 3 innings, given up one hit, two walks and has struck out eight batters.

Things I learned (off-field edition):

1) Toronto fans in the 500 level are mostly dumb people who think that buying a ticket gives them permission to get drunk on expensive beer and scream or talk really loudly (saying incredibly stupid things) and do other disruptive things like throw paper airplanes onto the field.
2) Toronto fans like to entertain themselves and others by disrupting a major league baseball game by running on the field.  At least one of the two was actually entertaining today.  He surprised the guards, made a very nice slide popup slide into second base, then sprinted for the center field fence, outrunning several security guards.  He actually managed to leap and grab the top of the fence, trying to pull himself up and over it before getting hauled down by security.  I think he was trying out for the team.  At least he can slide without injuring his hand, or getting hit in the head by a fielder.  The other guy who ran onto the field was tackled hard pretty quickly and just made an idiot of himself by resisting and actually having to be dragged off the field.
3) Toronto fans are too quick to boo their own players.  I saw an explanation on Twitter saying that they boo the moment, not the player.  It's still very discomforting to see how quickly the fans turn on these guys.  They're not TRYING to suck.  A caller on Jays Talk (click on the blue words to listen to the Jays Talk show) was trying to compare the right to boo with the right to complain when your internet or phone service doesn't work.  I'm sorry Mr. "The Customer is Always Right," but your phone service people aren't competing to get your calls through against other, equally talented phone service people trying to stop them!  Applaud the effort people, live with the result.  It's a long season.

If I wasn't there with friends, I probably would have not enjoyed the experience at all.  I do have to say that even in the 500 level around first base, I felt like the seats weren't so bad.  I miss the dome being open and being able to feel as if you're in an open air stadium.  With the roof closed, the place seems really dark and cavernous.  I just hope that the overall experience improves as the weather warms up (and so does the team).


* This friend, from Saskatchewan originally, didn't follow baseball until she moved to Boston where we met at music school there.  Incidentally, I actually lived across the street from Fenway Park for a year but was strong enough to resist the brain washing of the evil Red Sox Nation.

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