Saturday, April 2, 2011

Opening Weekend

There is only one thing that I can think of that Toronto definitely has that certainly no other Canadian city has: a Major League Baseball team.

Jays up to bat - Weekend Opener vs. the Twins
Other cities in Canada have tried.  Montreal had the Expos for many many years before finally having to sell them off to Washington, but Toronto has been able to hang on to their ball team despite the fact that baseball barely ranks among the sports that Canadians are interested in watching, and sometimes the SkyDome is tragically underpopulated mid-season.  As a way of recognizing, I suppose, that they're the only Canadian team in the league, they wear red maple leaves on their sleeves.  I find that touching.

Aaron Hill up to bat, with his Canada showing

And oh, the Home Opening Weekend!  The harbinger of Spring!  The real sign that drinking outdoors has returned to our fair country, that we should put on sunscreen, and that mittens are no longer required wardrobe!  Few things are as good for the spirit after the ravages of Winter (and March most especially).

Having grown up in Ontario, within a somewhat reasonable distance of Toronto, I was able to enjoy a handful of live baseball games growing up.  Ball games, and playing baseball myself, are strongly associated in my memory with deep summer sunlight and dusty afternoons.  My dad and my sister are both Jays fans, and I remember early on our dad teaching us how to play baseball.  As a result, neither of us "throw like a girl" (in fact, Emma has a mean arm and could easily whip a ball to second base from her position behind home plate).  Nowadays, Em's become a regular attendee of Jays games, and so naturally she and Matt came down to attend the Home Opener last night.  The Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 13-3.  


Today, I went to the second game of the series, and the Jays won 6-1.  Not as spectacular as last nights' game, but still a satisfying game to watch.  We were up in the 500's, but at $20 a ticket I have a hard time arguing with the lack of foul-ball action.  And, heartwarmingly, the place was pretty packed!  I could barely believe that last night they'd had 20 000 more people in there watching.

Even though it's a windy night and only 6°C outside, I wanted to put the barbeque on and relax with a beer on the roof.  I am restraining myself, but the ball game has put me in the mood for summer.  I can already tell that living within spontaneous-game-watching distance of the SkyDome is going to be a big win for me, and for my enjoyment of Toronto.

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