Somehow, I knew this would be a good weekend when my dad and I walked into our hotel room and saw this:
Yeah. A suite (!) for two people for one night. Wowzers. Here’s another shot:
This was the view out the window:
We were in the hotel room (which was connected to the stadium) for about twenty minutes and then headed out for a tour of Rogers Centre. We had a very good tour guide who showed us this giant bat. It has all the names of the Jays who were part of the ’92/’93 World Series teams:
We also saw some turf and dirt from the older Skydome and the newer Rogers Centre (that I stood on. Ohhhh):
We then walked into an exclusive 200 Level seating area. This section was somehow fancy. I can’t remember how, though.
This was a (cheezy) panorama taken from those seats. It’s not great, but there are more panoramas later. Too bad these seats are exclusive. They’re foul ball heaven. I took a fancy-ish photo of the seats below:
From this section, I could see the workers:
And the machines that are used to lay the AstroTurf (like the logo above?)
In the picture above you can see the concrete that’s below the turf. Here’s the Red Sox bullpen before it’s got the walls around it:
The next stop on the tour was to the field level. Scroll up four pictures. See the area to the right of the dugout? That’s where we were when I got this photo:
And a picture of the Red Sox dugout was necessary:
I also got a better picture of those red seats above:
Those stools are simply where the TV camera operators sit.
I took this time to take some artsy-smartsy photos:
When we went up to the reporter’s room, I made another panorama:
Want to see something that’s not really that special but still cool to see for no reason whatsoever? This is where the reporters eat their $30 buffet:
Here are the ground rules for Rogers Centre:
Then we went up a floor to the TV broadcaster’s booth. The view was pretty much the same as the regular reporters:
There are some more pictures from the tour (like this one that says not to touch the camera that follows the path of the pitch)…
…but I don’t feel like uploading them all. Let’s get to the game. First I’m going to let you see this:
Yes. It was 10:21, we were at gate 11, and Obama is my screensaver for my iPod. And you can see my reflection in the lower left hand corner.
While we waited, we chatted with the guy behind us in line. He seemed like a regular, and he seemed much like the guy we talked to on this game.
Oh and it was about 60 degrees. And I got a Diet Coke (which tastes great in cold weather for some reason).
And before I got into the stadium, I ran my plan a bunch of times- and I’ll say what happened right now so I get get some of the misery over with. Actions are in ( )
1. Search for balls in the seats in the lower deck. (Batting practice was underway, and the roof was open. No balls in the seats):
2. Go to the upper deck and search for balls. (Once again, nothing):
3. Stay in left field for the Blue Jays remaining 10 minutes of batting practice. (I should have stayed in the upper deck. Nothing was hit there except for some homers hit right next to the foul pole, but at least 90% of the toss-ups were up there. Seriously. The Blue Jays weren’t hitting to save their lives.) Here’s the seats getting crowded closer to the foul pole. I kind of had to stay in left-center. Less people, less competition. I was also the only person you could here calling the players. Nothing.
4. Go to right field/upper deck for Red Sox bp. WAIT! There was no Red Sox BP. The Jays took about 20 minutes more, too. Why was there no Red Sox BP? I have no idea. They had all of four hits the night before. Wow. Look- this is saddening:
Luckily, some players started coming out. There were some pitchers:
(Love the pose of the guy looking up). This section was insanely crowded, but I felt lucky. I stayed a few rows back from the first row to make it look like I was one of the poor people who couldn’t get to the front. It didn’t pay off. The only real toss-up was 5 feet to my left, and there were some people in my way so I decided not to barrel them over. The other ball that went into the crowd was where I would have been standing if I was in the front row- a passed ball from Jonathan Papelbon. Arg.
A ball got by Papelpon later and rolled onto the warning track. I moved over to left-center (or centre here in Canada) and positioned myself right above it:
I stayed there for about 20 minutes. I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to get the ball. A grounds crew person ended up coming over and I asked him if there was any chance I could get that ball. There was a group of kids about a year or two older than my to my left, and the guy tossed it up between us. My glove and the kids touched, but he got the ball. Screw. This. Stadium (Those were the first words out of my mouth after I didn’t get it). I’m still (to put it nicely) ticked off about it today. (A week and a day after the game).
I ran over to the right field line where some Red Sox players where playing catch:
It was great to see Dustin Pedroia finally live. In the two other games I’ve seen the Red Sox in, I’ve never seen good ole’ Peedy. I ended up getting shot down by Big Papi David Ortiz and a ball from Nate Spears (sigh of relief on three everybody…1,2,3.) That was good. While I was down there, I completely botched the anthems. I forgot we were in Canada and so I put my hat back on after the American National Anthem. And because I love Canada so much, I have no idea why I forgot that O Canada was also to be sung. Anyways, here’s our actual seats:
Not too shabby, right? Well, after two innings and a more than a foot-long hot dog, I moved. See the second to last section down the left field line in the photo above? That’s where I moved. To here:
I decided I’d have the most chance of getting a ball here. Nice spot for a third out ball from Carl Crawford (which never happened):
And a nice spot to catch a foul ball. Was moving the right decision? Well, let me tell you- getting down to this section was a bit tricky. I sneaked passed an older, and stricter, security guard to get down to the seats I wanted. That older security guard was asking for people’s tickets. The section I wanted was guarded by a much younger guy who looked very loose. During the bottom of the third, I moved into the last row. After that half inning, I moved a couple more rows down to the seats i wanted. [in the picture]. I had room to run on both side of me.
Then it happened. Marco Scutaro was up in the top of the 5th and ripped a line drive down the third base side. The ball landed a row and about 8 seats to my right. Luckily, it wedged perfectly in the seat and I was able to grab onto it. Someone else also grabbed onto it, but I was clearly there first. All I said was “It’s mine. It’s mine. It’s mine. I had it first.” Then the guy (who looked about 30) let go and I could tell that he didn’t like being beat by a 13 year old. But he was cool with it too. YAY!!!!!
Claim to fame for me: I got featured on MyGameBalls.com for this. Please read it. I will love you forever (and if you’re reading this from MyGameBalls.com, I love you even more.
Here’s the ball. There’s a nice blue streak from when it hit the chair:
In this picture, you can see the isle I had to run through to get the ball (which was one row behind mine):
See the fan in the orange shirt? He was pretty much where the ball landed. That group of people sat down there two batters after the foul ball. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve snagged one other foul ball on my own- this game.)
And to make a sad story short, I didn’t get a ball from the home plate umpire. I did get a picture of Dustin Pedroia’s headshot, though:
I also scored this game. This was my first game scoring, and it had to go 11 and a half innings with NO SCORE!! Then finally in the bottom of the 11th, Brett Lawrie hit a walk-off homer to left-centre.
As you can see, I scored EVERY INNING except the bottom of the second. I was getting my humungo hot dog. Good times in Toronto.
And on a side note, I am never seeing the Red Sox play again. It took my dad and I an hour and fifteen minutes just to get outside the city and onto the highway. Crazyness.
Goodbye ballhawking for 2011. I loved you. It was a great year, and I’ll see you in 2012.
Jon Madden: Ballhawk.
THERE WILL BE A GIANT STATS SECTION COMING IN ABOUT A WEEK.