Blogging Across the Border, Part the First

Or: At Least We Don’t Overuse the Letter “U.”

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Papi feels my pain.

You’ll all have to forgive me if I seem a bit cranky. I’m about to attempt to sleep on a sofa bed despite ongoing, nagging insomnia and Alan Embree and I are not speaking. Argh.

The last time I traveled to Toronto to watch the Red Sox play and let Blue Jays fans know what real baseball fans were like, Frank Castillo ruined my weekend. Tonight, it was Alan Embree. Or maybe Terry Francona if it was in fact his fault that the bullpen was so horrifically mismanaged. I mean, Matt Mantei was right there. RIGHT THERE! Oy.

Nevertheless, you all know how the game went down if you watched it. It wasn’t head-clutchingly awful for the majority, however, it did seem to be one of those frustratingly typical up and down, up and down, seesaw Red Sox games. We have the lead, we lose the lead. We have the lead, we lose the lead. We tie the game, we blow it in dramatic fashion. Le sigh.

Now listen, I’m not saying that all fans are always right, but if Every. Single. Person. In my section was screaming at Terry “Hook him! Take him out!” then perhaps our manager should, you know, listen.

I also feel it is pertinent to mention that Blue Jays fans can be awfully dickish. Yes, all seven of them. But throw something back at them and they revert to typical back-on-their-heels fan behavior. Case in point: we’re leaving Skydome (I refuse to call it the Rogers Centre, mostly because I’m being persnickety tonight), and a Blue Jays fan turned to my brother and said, “Hey, guess who won the game, eh?” My brother, conspicuously fingering the World Series Champions patch on the sleeve of his Mirabelli jersey shot back, “Guess who won the World Series…eh?” The Jays fan, apparently not expecting that – though why not is completely beyond me – said, “Well, uh, I guess…see you later.” “See you tomorrow!” my brother cheerfully shot back. We turned a corner. “Was that what passes for heckling in Toronto?” I asked. “Guess so,” he said. “Pathetic,” I replied.

The great thing about attending a Sox game in Toronto, I have learned, is that it does actually feel like attending a Sox game. You don’t feel like the visitors. I’d say the crowd of about 35,000 was pretty evenly split between Sox fans and Jays fans. And frankly, I’m thinking that the only reason so many Jays fans showed up was because it was two dollar Tuesday. Not kidding. Our $27 seats were just past the third base bag and ten rows up from the field. That’s something to be said for Canada. $27 at Fenway gets you, most likely, a post in your lap. And you’d consider yourself lucky to even be inside the park. No such thing as $2 anything in Boston.

Virtually our entire section was full of Sox fans. Oh, and I’ve also answered the question: “Where are all the cute boys?” Many of them, it turns out, are on road trips following the Sox. Ah, baseball, what you do for me… However, a few rows behind us, the grade school kids who sang both national anthems were seated. And they were fine…for a while. And then the shrieking started. And when I say “shrieking,” I don’t mean, “occasional high pitched cheering.” I mean “ears bleeding, shooting looks of death at small children, very much wanting to render them mute.” Because dear holy Jesus, that was bad. I’m pretty sure I’m now never going to have small children. Which is probably good since I’m reasonably certain that the banshee imitations of those kids have sterilized me.

Here’s the thing: Canadians…don’t get baseball. I mean they understand the rules and they cheer at appropriate times (mostly) but secretly, in their hearts, I’m pretty sure they all really wish they were at a hockey game. And that’s okay. I mean, hell, Toronto has a 24-hour Maple Leafs network and were there no NHL lockout, the Leafs would most likely be in the thick of the playoffs right now. Nobody would give half a rosin bag about the Blue Jays. And so to, I guess, keep these people’s attention, Skydome and the Blue Jays have so much distracting shit going on between innings and during the game that it’s a sensory overload and those of us who are more traditional fans are all “Could we maybe just shut the fuck up and watch some freakin’ baseball? It’s a pretty good game.” But no. There will be no shutting up. What there will be are Fed Ex animated scoreboard races, roving camera people putting screaming children on the Jumbotron, free t-shirts, freakin’ cheerleaders for cryin’ out loud, the World’s Fastest Grounds Crew and the game ball special delivery. And then some. It’s…way too much. It’s like being at an overly caffeinated minor league hockey game. And these people eat it up. Look, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Blue Jays fans and I’m sure they are lovely people. I’m also sure that I’m completely spoiled since Red Sox fans, by and large, resist the encroachment of certain “amenities” and distractions upon their baseball. But this is ridiculous. Yes, we’re glad that Ben Affleck is here too (he was), but we really don’t need to put him on the Jumbotron and scream at him until he waves at us. Because, in all fairness, Ben looked pissed and probably just wanted to watch some goddamn baseball. Not do the wave. Baseball, people, it’s pretty interesting. You should watch it.

Anyway, I’m back at it tomorrow night after a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame (whee!). Saturn Balls Arroyo looks to make it all okay. Stay tuned for my adventures in downtown Toronto, eh?

Oh, and while I’m at it, check out the photos that Beth took at the game on Sunday. Ooo, pretty…


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