Live Game Notes: 2008 Home Opener
Highlights of the home opener included the return of the baby blues, the addition of Roberto Alomar and a ~surprise member~ to the level of excellence, streakers and a Blue Jays win. Here is my detailed account.
Being the keener that I am, I got to the ballpark around 5:30 so that I would be able to tour the Jays’s store. Little did I know that the outside entrance to the store is closed prior to game time and limited to inside access. So I took the time to walk around the dome to see what was poppin’. While walking around the dome I spotted my favourite kind of baseball fan – the Old Man. This one was smoking a pipe and reading a baseball book before heading inside.
Lots of Boston Red Sox fans, or as the DJF refer to them as “Massholes” running around and the park was already pretty busy in anticipation of honouring Roberto Alomar.
At 6pm I rolled in to the game and it was pretty packed with those people who don’t know how to behave at a ballgame and Massholes (or are they one and the same?). The Roberto Alomar ceremony was pretty great. They showed the highlights of his career and the Jays World series wins and everyone in the park, save the Massholes (ok that is the last time I will use that word in this article), felt warm and fuzzy feelings inside. Nary a boo was spoke and Roberto Alomar was all teary-eyed at the loud ovation he received. This was nice to see. In a surprise move, Paul Beeston was also inducted into the level of excellence. A portrait was unveiled of him smoking a stogie in front of the World Series trophy. Love it, and it was nice to see the Jays fans showing Beeston plenty of love.
Moving on, the Jays brought back the baby blue uniforms to wear at all home games on Fridays (otherwise known as “Flashback Fridays”). This was a bittersweet moment for me, because I love the baby blues but I am also “that guy” who takes pride in wearing a baby blue Dave Stieb jersey like I am someone special. Now everyone has one and I have to find a new gimmick. They do look good on the players, as I present to you Exhibit A: Gregg Zaun.
Look how they fit him ~just right~ in all the right places. Okay, enough homo eroticism. Moving on to the game.
Shaun Marcum got the start for the Jays and looked unbelievably sharp until the 7th when JD Drew hit a 3 run shot off him. He was probably getting a little gassed at that point and JD hit a wallscraper into right field.
Brian Tallet also continued to impress me. I was saying to Early the other day how well he looked in mowing down the Yankees, building upon his impressive spring. Early thinks he will be this year’s Scott Downs from last year and I think he might be right.
As far as the facility goes, there seem to be a lot more flat screen tvs everywhere which is nice. At this point, anywhere other than the ramps between levels you will be able to have your eye on the game which is a nice touch.
The fans were a bit of an embarassment though and it is the one thing that detracts from the home opener. For 95% of the attendees at the home opener, this will be the only Jays game they go to this year and they obviously don’t know anything about baseball and give Toronto fans a bad name (which they deserve anyway). I remember one home opener there was a fridge magnet and brochure left on everyone’s chair. Near the end of the game, Manny Ramirez was being pelted with them in left field. This year’s version was the rally towel.
Although it looked nice to see them being waved during moments of jubilation, by the time the 9th innning came around it was obvious that it was everyone’s first time drinking. With 2 outs in the 9th 2 streakers took the field in a 3 run ballgame. The fans started cheering this, despite the fact it delayed the game and caused Jeremy Accardo who has pitched the last 2 nights in a row (I think, but I can’t be bothered to check) to waste more pitches to stay warm. Then, when the streakers were apprehended, the fans threw the towels all over the field causing the grounds crew to pick them up, delay the game even more, and cause Accardo to waste more pitches. A 3 run lead is never safe, especially in the American League vs. the defending World Series champions. If I saw the streakers climbing the wall onto the field in front of me I would try and tackle them myself instead of cheer them on, but thats just me (an ornery tbj fan until I die).
The post game scene was full of more drunken mayhem than I can ever remember. Jays fans accosting Red Sox Fans, wrestling in the streets, leading chants of obscenities, sexual harassment of women and general tomfoolery. Although entertaining, it is sad to say the passion from these fans lasts for one day only and at today’s game the seats will be filled by many old men with pipes and baseball books while Leaf fans focus there energies on following American teams in the NHL playoffs. But at least I know the old men know how to handle a beer like they have had one before.
Quote of the night: a drunken frat boy came up to me for a high five and remarked “Mark Eichorn, you gave good beers tonight.”
Oh yeah, Blue Jays win 6-3 fueled by a Frank Thomas double and Matt Stairs HR.