For $35…

by Ryan

…you can get this view of Manny Ramirez at Skydome. Well… the top half of the inning. The bottom half looks a little like this:

On Saturday morning I woke up at an unusually early time (9 am) to make the drive up to Toronto for game two of Red Sox vs. Blue Jays. It was… a time.

Some thoughts because it’s a Sunday night and I’ve watched baseball all day.

– Does anybody know why Blue Jays fans hate Manny Ramirez? I know I sat near him so of course he takes abuse from the fans but they all really, really hate him. The crowd booed him every at bat all series and chanted his name nonstop during the opener on Friday. The game I went to consisted of less chanting and more horrible attempts at making fun of him. (chanting Nancy, making fun of his throwing motion, and calling him a homosexual were the best tries)

My best guess is that he has the most home runs against the Jays than any other team (54), and that whole “watching home runs” thing. I’ve never really had a problem with that, but then again, he’s on my team. Still, it seems pretty inexplicable to rag on Manny when Lugo was a wreck all series. Then again, my section jeered him when balls were hit to center, so who knows what they were smoking.

– Speaking of that, walking the streets of Toronto is just asking for a contact high. The concessions at Skydome must make a fortune.

– I love the architecture of sports stadiums, so watching a game at Skydome (I know it has another name, but it’s Skydome) is quite frustrating. In theory, the building is brilliant. First working retractable dome, multiple uses, hotel on site, etc. However, it is insanely drab and boring both inside and out. Even the newer modifications like ribbon boards and outfiend scoreboards look out of place and tacked on. It still looks very… interesting, but it was built at an awkward time of stadium design.

Constructed after the classic stadiums with “chracter” like Fenway and Wrigley and before the newer “retro” ballparks like Jacobs or Camden, it lacks a certian slickness that most parks give off. It is an aging building that cost more than you can imagine to build, so getting it replaced is something that will not be happening anytime soon.


– That last row up there has to be the worst $9 seat in the history of $9 seats. (Not shown: fluorescent lights that have to block view of right field)


– Can we all agree that FieldTurf/Astroturf looks ugly in ballparks? Maybe that’s the problem with Skydome, those squares of “field” look stupid. Even the warning track is just carpet painted like dirt. At least Minnesota puts a swirl around the infield grass to make it look slightly interesting.

– Frank Thomas is freaking old. Think about this: David Ortiz scored from first on a double from Manny. The same play happens later in the game with Thomas on first and he barely makes it to third with arguably more time to do so. Why? He tripped over nothing making the turn to second. It was as if he was too big to properly transfer his weight and, like a semi, tipped over and blew out a tire. (Yes, I know he lit us up all weekend, but come on, the guy’s like 300.)

– If you didn’t know this, the Blue Jays sound off a goal horn when they hit home runs. If this confuses you, you’re not alone. Maybe it’s to let the Leafs fans know something good happened. Still, it would be like a shot clock going off at the Ralph when the Bills turned the ball over on downs. Strange.

– Overall, and this is no offense to the good people of Toronto, the Jays fans were pretty weak as baseball fans. It wasn’t that they were outright bad, but it was the little things that didn’t seem to happen there. Not getting behind a pitcher for the third strike, not knowing to get the heck out of the way when the game was in progress, doing the wave. I could go on and on.

One of the things that really bothered me was when Jacoby Ellsbury came into the game as a defensive replacement. They had no idea who he was. Now I know that not all baseball fans watch the World Series, but the kid is kind of a big deal. I’m sure there are better Jays fans then I found, but the majority seemed indifferent at best.

There really wasn’t anything wrong with the fans, it was just… weird. No one gave me much trouble for my Ortiz jersey, but I wasn’t that belligerent to begin with. I’ve been in opposing stadiums enough to understand that some things just aren’t worth saying. Still, there were people behind me that were more worried about the CFL then what was going on in front of us. They had an in depth discussion about the Argos and how much “they suck” and talked about the Grey Cup.

What they don’t understand is that to the majority of sports fans below the border, the CFL is nothing more than an amateur sports team. Rooting for a CFL team is the equivalent of being a Bisons fan or loving the Amerks. Sure, it may be a big deal to you, but in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty insignificant. Baseball, what was right in front of them, is the real deal. The Blue Jays have a chance to be very good this year and these are the types of people that will fill those stands.

It makes me wonder if it has always been that way in Toronto. It has always been a hockey first town, but to be frank the Blue Jays deserve better.

One more thing: Before and during the game they had advertisements for the “Bills in Toronto.” This made me think of two things, 1) I hope the old man dies, and 2) do they really need to advertise this still? Don’t people know about it, and if it really was necessary what does that say about the demand for tickets? The CFL guy behind me (who had a “Grey Cup 07” jersey on) tried to start a “NO NFL IN TORONTO” chant. It failed miserably, but it makes me wonder if he really isn’t not alone.

One thing I do know is that the Red Sox looked ready to go home. Personally, I can’t blame them.

Tuesday is going to be fun.

2 Comments

  1. dave in Rocha

    Ryan, I’m disappointed in you.

    “Rooting for a CFL team is the equivalent of being a Bisons fan or loving the Amerks. Sure, it may be a big deal to you, but in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty insignificant.”

    See, except that in Canada, the CFL ISN’T insignificant. It’s only insignificant to Americans. Would you say that the World Cup is insignificant just because us Americans don’t give a shit about it?

    Besides, that statement is the exact same thing that most mainstream American sports media says about the NHL, and it pisses us off when they say it, right?

  2. Ryan

    Dave,

    Yeah, looking back (like 10 hours) it does seem like a silly statement. I didn’t work on this as long as I wanted to and was going to save some thoughts about the Bills in Toronto for another post, but I really should clarify.

    It’s nothing against the CFL as much as it is against the guy in the “Grey Cup 07” jersey. I think he’s really, really shortsighted if he thinks the Bills won’t work in Toronto, let alone that people won’t come.

    The sports franchises that make real money are going to go to big cities and be successful regardless of prior interest in similar things. Think about what happened to the Bisons (hockey) when the Sabres came in. There was no question the minor league team would step aside. Now I know it’s a different situation with the Argos and Hamilton’s team, but I think if anything that fear is driving his resentment.

    It was obvious that he was biased because of a deep devotion to his CFL team, but I think he’s missing the reality of the situation because of his personal beliefs. That was the point I was trying to get at, and sadly I used the cliche argument I indeed do hate.

    Also, I’d make the argument that the World Cup is even more significant because it is on a global stage. Even as an American I love the World Cup.