I was able to get to three of the 7 games, of the two series that constituted opening week. Unfortunately I didn’t get to witness any wins yet in 2013. What went so horribly wrong?…They were not supposed to lose a game all year….right?
This team is being overhyped like crazy by Rogers, since the mega-trade. Rogers owns every type of media and the team. If you live in Toronto, you know that since the fall, the Blue Jays are everywhere, print, radio, TV, billboards, internet. You cant get away from it, and really, after AA assembled the lineup he did, why would you want to? The Buzz in this city is awesome for a baseball fan. Season ticket sales soared (the Jays made it very attractive to us ). It is like 1993 all over again except I am 35 now and can buy my own tickets, and write this blog on this internet thing we have these days.
Robs what went wrong list:
Opening Night vs Indians L
1. Over hype as stated above.
2. J.P Arencibia’s struggles catching R.A.Dickey resulting in multiple passed balls.
3. Big-Bat production problems.
4. Stranded runners on base.
Second Night L
1. Too little too late in the runs dept.
2. Stranded runners on base.
3. Infield issues
Third Night W!
1. 2 for 7 RISP
2. Thats about it as the Big Bats proved they where here. A nail biter still, it was nice to see the first win.
Game 1 L
1. Three Errors by 2B
Game 2 W
1. Happ pitched great. The only guy no one thought would even be here, played great.
2. Jays only made one error
Game 3 L
1. Giving up 7 HRs and getting beat 13-0. Pretty much nothing more to say.
-J.P, had to start Opening Night. Blanco caught R.A. in NY and is R.A’s catcher of choice, but opening night after an off season like J.P.had ( about a 12354323. AVG ), and the fact that he is the starter means; You play your starter on Opening night.
- Brett Lawrie is out and needs to be back at 3rd base. He hits like a champ, and is great in the field.
- Jose Bautista was out for 3 games
- The infield errors have to stop.
- Worst in the league and stranded runners.
- Our starting four need to be better and find their stuff. We all know they have it.
-J.A. Happ is pitching great and looks like a champ.
-Bret Cecil has been pitching great in the Bullpen and for the most part the bull pen looks good.
-Jose Reyes is playing great and super fun to watch.
-Eventually they will find their chemistry and settle into their new digs, and all will be right again.
The day is finally here! Time to head down to the ballpark and see the Show. The Home Opener is not only the kickoff to the Jays season but a Toronto social calendar event. Every year the Home Opener sells out and the outfield seats in the 500s are full. The next day, the attendance usually drops by 30,000. This year, I think it will be different, but more on that later.
I was super excited to get to the Rogers Centre to see the new changes. For the first time ever, fans are able to walk entirely around the 200 level. The windows, that were Windows restaurant are long gone, and the area is now a common use patio for all. Last night though, it was sectioned off for a Rogers Event. Go figure. You can see the new section in the photo above.
It was nice to see fans in all blue as I made my way to my seats. Upon approaching my section, I was pleased to find washrooms, food, beer, and a shop just outside my entrance. This season is gonna be sweet.
Sitting in my seats for the first time was awesome. I have sat in a ton of 500 seats over the years, but the fact that these are mine all season is fantastic. They are right where I like to be, between the pitcher and first base. I can see all the action.
The opening night celebrations started off with a tribute to legendary Jays commentator Tom Cheek, followed by R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle’s Golden Glove awards. Then came a Jayscare foundation recognition ceremony. The anthems followed. The massive Canadian flag was a nice treat to see. The first pitch was thrown by a long time season ticket holder and fellow Torontonian Geddy Lee, the lead singer of Rush.
The player introductions were awesome and hearing the Star Wars Imperial March theme while Dickey warmed up set quite the tone.
With R.A. now on the mound, the players in the field, and forty-nine thousand fans waving our blue and white pom poms, it’s go time!
It didn’t take long to see that everyone seemed a little jittery. With the kind of expectations set upon this team, it’s almost impossible not to expect some blunders. R.A.’s Knuckleball was moving around a lot, and you can see that J.P. was having a hard time getting it into his glove. Still, they made it out of the mid first without giving up a run.
Jose Reyes first appearance was a walk. Cabrera lined into a double play, and Bautista singled off a ground ball to left field. Encarnacion got hit by a pitch and Lind struck out swinging….ugh.
In the second the Tribe had 2 runs on passed balls over Arencibia vs the Jays 0. In the third with the bases loaded Lind grounded into a double play, but Cabrera scored from third. Fourth inning the Tribe smacked a 2 run HR that looked like it was going to be a fly ball…..but it wasn’t. The rest of the night was a non event. Arencibia doubled late in the bottom of the ninth, but Rasmus stuck out leaving him stranded and the Jays with their first loss of the season.
It was not the outcome Jays fans wanted to see, or expected. The hitting was not there, the passed balls were too common, making up for fifty percent of the scoring total, and Dickey’s knuckleball was dancing a little too much. Let’s all remind ourselves that this is game 1 of 162. Mistakes are going to happen, nerves and first time kinks need to be ironed out that can’t be addressed in Spring training. Only real game time will sort these issues out. Let’s hope last night was just one of those nights.
Tonight, the media pressure is off, a more traditional pitcher takes the mound, and all should settle in nicely.
On a final positive note, I thought Bullpen looked solid. Both Cecil and Santos looked great. All in all it was awesome to see the Jays back in business and baseball back in season. Here’s to Morrow and Tomorrow.
The tweet went out this week followed by a pic, that the windows of Windows are being removed at Rogers Centre. Why? Because the 90′s are long gone….
A new opened up concourse in the centre field part of the 200 level will be there instead of the closed down Windows restaurant / Hard Rock Cafe that sat empty all last year. Paul Beeston was on Prime Time Sports today confirming that it will be a multi use open area for ALL fans to enjoy, be it 500 guys like myself or field level In The Action Seat fans.
I really like what PB’s is doing. He seems to get what fans want. I was so happy to here him say this today. I LOVE this idea. In fact, I have been saying that this is what they should do for a long time.
The Dome is not going anywhere anytime soon. Rogers purchased it for 4% of its building cost twenty years earlier ( little bit of a steal I’d say ). So why not try and upgrade it. It did not happen overnight but the Rogers Centre of now is a lot different to the Skydome of my youth. After hearing PB speak about personally to all the fans at the State Of the Franchise, and kept talking about it on the PTS today. It’s nice knowing that they are trying hard to make it relevant for todays MLB stadium experience.
I am super critical of the Dome if you read my previous posts. I have been guilty of arguing that if Minneapolis has an outdoor park then Toronto can handle it too. At the same time, I like wearing my Jays jersey sans coat and toque for the home opener. I have learned that a lot of players like the Dome. The more I think about it, the more I think that with the right planning and designs, the Rogers Centre would be the ideal place to reno. The Argo’s will be out of it soon enough. I say that because deep down both MLB and CFL fans know it’s best.
It still may be a while before we get real grass in it, but for now, I welcome the latest plan to bring more of the stadium to the people. All the newer parks have an area like this. Now us Jays fans have one to.
As much as I rip on the place form time to time. Its where I spent many of nights as a teenager watching games, dreamed of hitting homers out of, told people about it back in the day, watched my team win 2 World Series, and bought my first season tickets for my MLB team. So long Windows, the view will be ever clearer now.
There here! There here!
I was away at work when my wife texts my a pic of a UPS package, the sender address containing Bluejay Way in the title. “Should I open it?” She says texts. Yes, I reply. As she starts the stream pics I get more excited to see the next.
A nice shiny box with simple logo and 2013 Season Tickets embossed on it. Score!
Opening the cover revealed what looks to be a big massive full colour special opening night ticket made of plastic and my Jays STH’r card. This massive ticket is awesome. This will be framed for sure. At first I didn’t think it was real. Hope there’s one more in there.
Money shot! I have been really curios as to see the graphic layout of the tickets this year. Last years looked great. I always try and get a hard season ticket to any game I go to. It’s my favourite souvenir and something that you can’t just buy after the fact. My goal in my Mancave is a framed set to every MLB park. I’m up to 6 so far. One day ill spring for an unused 1977 Jays opener ticket via eBay.
The tickets are horizontal this year vs last years vertical. With fan shots and player pics on them. They look great. I was concerned as last years were very nice, it might be hard to top.
Two lanyards for the opening night ticket, schedules and slips for tickets you get rid of, paperwork telling you about different events and STH’rs policies.
Way to make a guy jealous. Ill have to wait till I get home to see for myself. Lets just say I’m stoked and I feel like a kid at Xmas morning.
So here’s what comes in the awesome box in one pic all layer out. This was once I got home. I am so pumped! Now the task of managing ST’s.
The Jays Spring training facilities in Dunedin FLA is 2:40 hrs away from where we stay in Florida. After a quick look at the Spring a training map it was clear to me that the only team near me was the Nationals. The Nats train in Viera FLA about 25 min from where I stay. I suppose it was fitting as I go to Nats games when I’m in DC, and they are the old Expos. I guess there starting to be my NL team of choice, yet I’ve always liked the a Giants and Mets.
The match up was against the Miami Marlins, the them that the Blue Jays cleaned out in the mammoth multiplayer trade over the off season.
I wanted a good seat for my first ST experience but after looking at the team site all the decent seats were gone. Stubhub time. I found a single field level box seat for $16, hit print, off I went.
Having been to Space coast stadium earlier that week, I knew the lay of the land. I joined the heard of cars to be parked in file on a massive grass filed. It was very well organized.
I made my way up to the gate and had my print out ticket scanned. once you enter you arrive right at the top of home field. My seats were in between the third base dugout and home plate.
I could not get over the lax personal vibe. Everything is so close. If you chirped a player, they’d here it. You could ask for an autographs, and get them. It’s like watching little league in you neighbourhood park but with big leaguers.
In the 4th inning I experienced something that I only experienced once back in 1987 at my first MLB game at Exhibition park, a rain delay. Time for food. I had a 1/2lb burger that was quite good. After an hour or so it was back to baseball. Most of the starters didn’t come back in the game. The game ended in a tie in the 10th. I had made my way over to the Nats dugout where I caught my frost baseball!
Defiantly a great way to spend a Saturday. I saw Zimmerman and Harper play, and some new young talent.
While on vacation in Florida, I keep looking at my iPad to keep up on the Jays latest talks. I’m on the opposite coast of that the Jays are on. I’m about 3hrs away from Dunedin. Glancing at the Grapefruit League map I was surprised to see how close to the Washington Nationals practice facility and Space Coast stadium. I was about 20 min drive on the border in Viera.
Having never been to any Spring Training before, I really had no expectations one what to see or expect. After all this was just a shot in the dark go see kind of thing.
I came upon the complex and drove into the first Nats logo driveway I saw. A girl who seemed to be affiliated with the team informed me that I could park my car and feel free to wander around. I asked about the team members doing drills and hitting in the cages. She said they were the AAA players as the National take BP and practice in the morning.
After watching the guys hit for a bit I ventured over to the main complex, Space Coast Stadium. There is also a team shop and nice walkways. There was a gate open so I popped my head to see if I can see the field. Jackpot! The gate that was open was right behind home plate allowing me a great view. What a nice park. About 8100 seats. There was a photo shoot going on in the outfield. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome so I snapped a few pics and left. A grounds keeper said the gate should have been locked, but was nice and didn’t seem to mind. If this was at some MLB parks or other sports I would have been chased out.
There was a BP on another field. These were the Wounded Warriors servicemen who are having a game coming up. These guys are really something and should be honoured. Until someone told me, I thought they were AAA players working on other drills.
I would have loved to stay a while, but I had to be somewhere. Seeing all the baseball going on really got me pumped for the season. I can’t wait to head over to Lakeland and see the Jays play the Tigers on Sat!
The first taste of being a season ticket holder came in the form of a letter with two attached tickets to the 2013 Bluejays State of the Franchise. It was held at the Rogers Centre. The doors opened at 5:30pm. With all the buzz being generated over the off season, the number of season ticket holders has risen, and with that the turn out at last nights event was the largest ever.
Not knowing what to expect, a friend and I showed up at 5:30pm. As we walked in the Gate 9 doors, we were greeted by Jays staff and handed a program of the nights events. As we entered the 100 level concourse, there were hostesses serving complementary beer, wine, and other refreshments. All the main food concessions in the concourse were open and serving everything from Asian flair to hotdogs, complementary as well.
The Jays shop was open and offering 40% off everything. The small shop and main shop filled up fast once the word got out about the discount. When I went in the main shop there were six people in the store main store. By the time I left I was 20 in line to cash out and the rest of the store was 80% full. You would think there was a game going on. It was really nice chatting with other season ticket holders in line and hearing there stories. Defiantly a very cool vibe going on.
After the spendings it was on our way to the fancy seats to start the evening. There were four chairs set up on top of the Jays dugout. We sat in the 100 level seats along the third base line with the Jays dugout as center stage. The field was set up in baseball configuration and then lights were dimmed with the ” Jumbotron” lit up as the attention piece. It will always be called that in my mind.
The MGMT team was introduced to applause coming from a packed two sections of the 100 seats. Manager John Gibbons, GM Alex Anthopolos, President Paul Beeston, and TV/Radio host Buck Martinez took to their seats atop the Jays Dugout.
I missed the first few minutes of the introductions and formalities. Five minutes in, I was sitting off to the right of the four, one row back. Paul and John were about to get right into a video following some of the Jays winter tour highlights, but not before telling us they had a surprise for us. They introduced former World Series pitcher and Blue Jay, Jack Morris, as the newest voice of the Jays broadcasting team. I like what happened last time Jack came to Toronto!
The video showed us highlights of the Jays winter tour throughout Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Edmonton. You could really see how this is Canada’s team. Watching Colbey Rasmus drive a tank at -33C was humouring.
Then it was Q&A time.. In order to speed up the Q&A part of the evening, all questions were submitted prior via email. There was a good mix of questions by long time season tix holders and a lot from new ones like myself. I did not submit a question. Being so new to this I thought I’d see if any questions I had, were had by other people. Turns out, there were. Here’s a few of the questions. I’m giving you the summed up answers and who answered them. Nothing to long and nothing verbatim.
What’s the rotation?
1. R.A. Dickey
Who’s starting Opening night?
Will we get real Grass?
They are trying. Argos being a shared tenant of the Rogers Centre makes it more challenging. Also, where do you store it?
Will Season ticket prices rise?
Trying not to for the next 2-3 years but we will see.
Who’s playing 2nd?
Won’t know till Spring Training. Going to be a battle. Either Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio
What about depth in our farm system and prospect development, since we traded a lot away?
Most 25 man roster players are on multi year contracts giving 3-5 years for development.
Who is our closer?
Casey Jansen for now, Santos maybe once he’s up to speed.
There were other questions as I don’t remember all of them, but these where the ones multiple season ticket holders asked. The STH who’s questions were read got to come up to the dugout and pose with the four for a photo op.
After the Q&A the food and refreshments were re stocked, and began a meet and great with other owners. Here was the best part. I thought that the MGMT team would leave. NOPE! Every one of them stayed and chatted with the STHr’s the rest of the event. Photos, signings, chatting, and more questions, all the top brass stayed and mingled, even Jack Morris. I got to meet every one of them. I had bought my daughter her first jays jersey and had it crested ( 40% off remember ). I thought it would be cool to get a pic of each of them holding the Jersey, and making a 4 frame pic. Not only did everyone of them gladly pose, they ask me questions, and thanked me for being here. Meeting other fans and STH was a great pleasure. I was quite impressed with the Jays organization. Not every Major League big city sports team will do that.
In closing, it was an awesome night. The food was great, the beer was cold, and my questions were answered. It exceeded my expectations and got me even more pumped to be a Jays fan in 2013. Shaking hands with the new Manager and the MGMT staff was just awesome.
Enjoy some pics I took from the night.
In the spring of 2011 I changed equipment at work. The last three years, the plane I flew had taken me to such MLB cities as Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland quite regularly. The plane I fly since then takes me to way more MLB cities. One of the first places was Minneapolis, where I got to take in a Twins game, at the new Target Field that was not even two seasons old yet.
I’m at the mercy of public transportation when I’m on the road, so to find out that the last stop on the Hiawatha Light Rail Line was Target Field was great news. I had started my rail ride at the Mall of America, the other end of the line based on direction of travel. They have a baseball event special that’s $4.00 return. The trip takes about 40min, and that’s the entire line.
Halfway along the rail trip the cars began to get packed with Twins fans. By the time we arrived at Target Field, it was a sardine can. What’s really cool is that the Target Field stop is Target Field. The train pulls into the outfield concourse and you are on the property.
I didn’t have a ticket, and didn’t see any scalpers, since I was on the property. Off to the box office I went to try my luck. The divisional Chicago White Sox were in town and the Twins were way out of any playoff contention so I’d assume there would be a lot of seats left. After the ticket official scanned the seats there were only a few field level seats left. I grabbed one for a whopping $60!
I always assume I may never be back to any park when I’m there for work, as destinations changes without notice. That said I normally by a field level ticket. I wish I would have studied the park layout before I showed up. I ended up with a ticket behind home plate, but three rows from the last row. In retrospect I could have bought a $20 outfield ticket and stood 15ft from my $60 seat. Oh well, my fault. As it turns out, being a really nice new stadium has season tickets for the Twins sold out. There is even a waiting list.
I entered the stadium through the field level outfield and headed up to the upper decks for my usual run around. Target has a really cool mezzanine level. It’s not club level, though there’s one of them too. Nationals Ballpark in Washington has the same sort of thing going on and I love them. Along first base line in the middle of the dugout on there mezzanine decks is where I’d want my season tickets.
The outfield is great. Some high unique seats in Center filed in contrast there are large patios with shallow bleacher seats. The park itself is very big. This is not PNC or Fenway. It felt like Yankee Stadium. Still even for its size, the fact that its a true ballpark makes it far more cozy than the Concrete monstrosity Rogers Center in Toronto or Old athlete rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. The upper outfield also has a Budweiser restaurant / patio overlooking left field.
As the game began I took my seat. Since I was so far back, the over hang of the second level blocked my view of the score board, something I never considered. After a few mediocre innings I decided to grab some food. Lots of good Brats and Dogs to be had. The Food Network even sponsors a certain kind of sausage.
Around the top of the 7th I decided to head out for another stroll around the park. It was very busy and the outfield, as usual seemed to be the most fun part of the park. After the the top of the 9th I decided to leave and beat the rush to the train. Good idea. The lineups are long and the number of people exceeds the trains.
All in all I ally enjoyed Target Field putting up in my top 5 parks so far.
As the start of the 2013 Season approaches, I find my self getting more excited each day. As a Jays fan, this is by far the best on paper lineup we have seen since 92. I can wait to sit in my seats on Opening Night, and take it all in. Thinking about those seats had had me thinking about all the seats I have sat in at various ballparks around the league. Of all the new retro parks ( read proper baseball park ), I have to give it to Pittsburgh and the Pirates. Say what you want about the team, they did it RIGHT.
A few summers ago I was on an overnight in Pittsburgh and the Astros were in town. Its not hard to guess where I’d be. I didn’t have any expectations as to what I was about to experience, I just wanted to check out a team I have never seen play before. I got there 2 hours before the park opened and took in the restaurants around the stadium. $40 got me a dugout box seat four rows off the field. Cheapest good seat I’ve ever had. Five minutes before the gates opened I was at the front of the line waiting.
As I entered I did my typical run from foul pole to foul pole and a llap around the field level. The staff was friendly and no one stopped me from going anywhere. They were actually happy that I was enjoying the park.
I could not get over how small it was. It’s like a new symmetrical Fenway. The Pirates know the team does not draw 48’000 people, so why build something that big. Instead they made it very small and cozy. On top of that they plunked it smack on downtown on along the river. The out field points at downtown giving fans a killer view of their city. There is not a bad seat in the place.
The Skydome opened in 1989 and was the talk of the talk in baseball and Toronto that year. With its first of a kind retractable roof, hotel, size, mass chain restaurants, and insane security, it was something… just not a great ballpark. Yes, with 49’000 people going crazy its fun, but you were still so far way from the action due to its circular size. It was the last of the multi purpose arena stadiums in baseball. 1962-1992 was a BAD time for baseball stadiums. Most of them were the exact same concrete donut. Baltimore got it right when they decided to make their new park like the ball parks of old. I have not been yet, but never heard a bad word about Camden Yards.
Could you imagine if Toronto had a real ballpark? With the lake behind home plate and the city in the outfield view. If it was outside, If it was smaller and 30’000 people make the place look more than half full, if it had a terrace in the outfield and patios, If you can freely walk all over the park, ahh to dream.
Players hate turf, fans hate looking at it. I’d happily grab a coat on cold spring nights, rather than the Dome. Minneapolis is colder than Toronto and more North. Target Field sells out daily and is another great Ballpark that I will do a write up on.
Here is some PNC Pics.
1st row upper deck.
This is where the “all you can eat seats” are. not bad for $39.
Center Field seats
Field Level concourse
For a guy who was on the fence this year about getting season tickets, the call to the Blue Jays was made from me the day after the 12 player deal with Miami was done. I wanted to do it last year, but our daughter was born and there was no way I’d be able to make many games. Turns out with all the injuries, 2012 was a good year not to commit.
I was seriously thinking about it since the last day of the 2012 season, but was on the fence still. I wanted to see if Alex Anthopoulos would make any moves. I have been getting tiered of the whole prospect issue. It’s been 20 years since the Jays won the World Series, and entered the post season. I wanted to see players that are established and proven, here, NOW. I remember when the Jays stacked the team with big names back in the early 90′s. As I recall, it worked out ok. I was in Grade 8 for the first WS and a Freshman in high school for the second. It was an amazing time to be a baseball loving kid, living in Toronto. When AA made the 12 player deal with Miami last month, it made me feel like the team seriously cared again. Things started buzzing and that when I decided to lay my money down. I really felt great that now, on paper, all healthy, we have a real chance at contending for the post season.
I was really surprised when I found out that the Jays were considering R.A. Dickey. I followed him with the Mets last year and really began to like his style and story. Today, news that R.A. agreed to a contract is fantastic. I am going to love being able to see him play 35 min from my house, in the starting rotation. I am so happy to see AA and the Jays aggressively adding to this roster. With the addition or R.A.Dickey, I am even happier to see that my commitment to the team is being matched with a commitment to their fans.
Looking forward to the 2013 Season.