I have watched live hockey games in Ottawa, I attended a few Olympic events and enjoyed many concerts but I had never been to a baseball game.

Until last weekend, to me, baseball was a never-ending zero-action game played by a bunch of superstitious but neatly dressed players, spitting, running around and occasionally hitting or catching a tiny ball. The (lack of) action was commented by experts who used cryptic terms such as “bottom of the ninth,” “what an inning!” and “two balls one strike.”

“Why do you like baseball?” I asked Feng many times.

“Because it’s all about strategy! See, when this player blah blah blah blah…”

Well, Feng doesn’t really say “blah blah blah” but that’s what I hear about two minutes of him dissecting the merits of MLB.

I still agreed to go see a game because 1) we were heading to Toronto for a short road trip and it was something fun to do 2) I was curious to see a live game.

So we drove to Toronto with tickets to see the Blue Jays vs. the Oakland Athletics. At 1 p.m., we joined the crowd of blue-clad fans walking down Yonge Street toward the Rogers Centre, home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. It was a sunny day, the roof was open and the atmosphere outside the stadium was festive. Pretty much everyone was entering the stadium with a hot dog in hand (except us because we had dim sum in Chinatown instead) without rushing. Apparently, in baseball, it doesn’t really matter when the game starts or what’s going on. Unlike at a hockey game where everyone sits tight during each of the three twenty-minute periods, fans wandered around the stadium during the entire game.

Mark immediately loved baseball. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing (yay, something caught his interest!) or a bad thing (crap, I’m going to have to drive him to practise, ain’t I?) but watching him studying the game was fun. Plus—sorry, mommy moment here—he clapped his hands for the first time. I mean, technically he could clap his hands before, but he had never done it for cheering. Well, he cheered every two seconds during the game.

As a young fan, Mark had the chance to throw a ball in the “kid’s zone” and he won some memorabilia. Well, it’s unlikely we will use the Blue Jays hologram placemat at the dinner table but still, it was nice. I did not buy the “I love BJ” tee though, because… well, I don’t even know where to start here.

I wish I could say I had a revelation and I suddenly completely understood the game but I did not. I can name a few players, sure. But I was mostly busy taking pictures, enjoying the amazing view of the CN Tower and soaking up the atmosphere—after all, maybe that’s what baseball is all about. Sit down, relax and cheer once in a while.

Going to the Game
Going to the Game
Blue Jays Way
Blue Jays Way
Around the Rogers Centre
Around the Rogers Centre
Discovering the Stadium
Discovering the Stadium
Cheering
Cheering
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
he Can Apparently Understand It Better Than Me
he Can Apparently Understand It Better Than Me
Tattoo For Mark
Tattoo For Mark
Going to Our Seats
Going to Our Seats
CN Tower from the Rogers Centre
CN Tower from the Rogers Centre
Young Player
Young Player
Mark Throwing a Ball
Mark Throwing a Ball
Tees and Jerseys
Tees and Jerseys
Flag for Mark
Flag for Mark
Blue Jays
Blue Jays
Upper Level Seats
Upper Level Seats
Checking Out The View
Checking Out The View
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Walking Around the Rogers Centre
Walking Around the Rogers Centre
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
The Seats
The Seats
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Memorabilia
Memorabilia
Rogers Centre
Rogers Centre
Watching the Game
Watching the Game
Hot Dogs and Taxi Outside
Hot Dogs and Taxi Outside
 

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13 Comments

  1. Gail at Large June 4, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I lived beside the stadium for a year, which would’ve been most convenient if I were a baseball fan. I could see Gates 10-11 from the living room, and the top floors have a view into the stadium when the roof is open. My friend who owned the condo I lived in bought the place because he’s a baseball fanatic, but his job took him out of town constantly and he never really got to take advantage of the location.

    Ironically I didn’t see my first Blue Jays game until my friend invited me to join her in the Scotiabank corporate box just one week after I moved to another neighbourhood. I don’t think I would’ve bothered to see a baseball game except I was curious to see what what the corporation section was like (it’s very fancy, like Air Canada Centre’s but the layout is more open because Rogers Centre is much bigger).

    2007: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gailontheweb/759911999
    2007: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gailontheweb/749940279
    2008: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gailontheweb/2643705004

    The date was 07.07.07 and there was this overly dramatic proposal broadcast on the big screens, but I suspect it was all a stage publicity stunt — it was just way too perfect.

    Actually, what I found way more interesting was the following year while taking some Japanese people around Toronto. Japanese people love baseball, so I arranged for them to take a tour of Rogers Centre after going up the CN Tower. The stadium field was getting converted from baseball to gridiron (CFL football), and they show the media boxes and various sections like the adjoining hotel. I completely geeked out on the roof engineering, stats, and logistics behind the conversions. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, the Rogers Centre suddenly becomes more fascinating.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gailontheweb/2642903553

    Reply
    1. Zhu June 4, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Thank you for the pictures! I kind of remembered you had some cool shots but you had so many pictures, I couldn’t find them 😉

      Do you know who else loves baseball? People in Nicaragua. I took this surprising shot in Omotepe (as remote as it gets!):

      Reply
      1. Gail at Large June 6, 2014 at 7:05 am

        Yes, I have Too-Many-Pictures-Syndrome (33,000+) but not so much Organizational Syndrome. I wasn’t always tagging them in the past so many get buried in the archives.

        Cubans are baseball-mad, too, a number of them defected through sport. When I was in Cuba I watched them play, but didn’t take any pictures for some reason.

        Aren’t Puerto Ricans also major baseball players? I didn’t know baseball fever was also in Nicaragua.

        Reply
        1. Zhu June 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

          I think in Nicaragua the people were introduced to baseball by the US troops when they were there. Other Central America countries are more into soccer.

          Reply
  2. Martin Penwald June 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Like americain football, I am unable to process and understand the rules of baseball. I don’t even understand the scores. And overall, I don’t want to understand that.
    Advantage of baseball over hockey : equipment is less costly.
    But in fact, there is a lot of sport that are really boring to watch. Baseball, football (both european and american), Nascar, F1 …
    Eventually, basketball is nice, because it always move, and contrary to hockey, the ball is easy to follow.

    Reply
    1. Zhu June 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      I laughed at the “I don’t even understand the score”… this is exactly how I feel!

      I like hockey because the game is quick and there is action. And fights. Basketball is one of the only sports Feng doesn’t watch so I’m not too familiar with it.

      Reply
  3. Holly Nelson June 4, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    To me, baseball is American cricket. It isn’t as dull as cricket, but still…pretty dull. I would probably go though, just to tick it off the list! Oh Mark, getting into baseball! I feel your pain on that one!

    Reply
  4. petite yaye June 5, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Tes photos sont très belles, j’adore les ambiences de stade.. C’est la saison du sport on dirait… michoco applaudit chaque point de rolland-garros et a même participé à la ola ! Ce qui est cool c’est que dans un stade avec un bébé dragon tu peux circuler, monter sur les barrières, parler, ça ne dérange pas (trop) les autres !

    Reply
    1. Zhu June 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Ici, l’ambiance est assez bonne enfant dans les match de hockey et de baseball. Même si les fans prennent ça sérieusement, pas de hooligans ou de cordons de CRS comme dans les matchs de foot en Europe. Ouf!

      Le sénégal commence-t-il à vibrer pour la Coupe du monde?

      Reply
      1. Martin Penwald June 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm

        Quand même, il y a des imbéciles partout, et bien que l’on n’observe pas les débordements des débiles du foot, il y a des histoires consternantes. Il y a environ 2 ans, un Calgarien s’est fait passé à tabac à Vancouver parce qu’il portait un chandail aux couleurs de l’équipe de hockey de Calgary.
        Le sport ramollit le cerveau partout dans le monde.

        Reply
        1. Zhu June 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm

          Oh merde, j’avais zappé cette histoire… c’est vrai qu’il y a des débordements, mais moins qu’en Europe je trouve ou certaines tribunes de foot sont tristement célèbres.

          Reply
  5. Christiane June 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Aww that’s so sweet ! I like baseball (though sometimes i get lost). Although i am officially a PR, i am still an Orioles fan 🙂 LMAO you should let Mark wear the “I love BJ” tee and see how many comments you get lol

    Reply
    1. Zhu June 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      I still can’t believe no one was batting an eye to the “I love BJ” tees! 😆

      Reply

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