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Skydome squee

It's nifty having easy access by subway to Real Baseball again. linuxspice and I took in the Jays-Red Sox game last night (Halliday vs. Pedro) at Skydome, which was the third time that we'd been there this season. We sat up in the $2 seats in the Skydeck again, but were over towards third base this time rather than right behind the catcher as we had been for the second game of the season. The Jays lost, but the Leafs won, so it was kind of a wash.

I taught linuxspice how to keep score, which was an interesting exercise because I had to start by explaining what a walk was. (Her reaction: "That's really weird!") Getting the concept of a "sacrifice fly" across took about ten minutes, and I steered as far clear of the Infield Fly Rule as I could. (Thankfully, none occurred during the game.) She finally got to the point of being able to score plays on her own around the eighth inning or so. I've never had quite so much fun at a ball game.

I'm still deeply conflicted about what to do about baseball loyalties. We're pretty much planning to stick around forever if we get permanent resident status (and later, citizenship), so it makes sense to root, root, root for the home team. The Jays aren't saddled with Chief Wahoo, and they ditched those stupid blue-and-white trucker hats years ago, and they're in the same sort of rebuilding cycle that the Tribe are. But I still have some history with the Indians, including family history dating back to my grandfather having been the team doctor for the 1948 World Series championship squad. I still don't know what I'd do during a Jays-Indians game, and I'll probably just stay away from Skydome when the Tribe comes to town in August.

Anyway, about Skydome....

The Good

  • Shirtsleeve comfort in the upper deck during a night game in early April. As much as I hate artificial turf, the fact that the roof closes tightly enough for climate control is the killer app that makes me genuinely love having Skydome.
  • Easy subway access -- we're across the street from a station, and it's an easy walk (in the underground Path in inclement weather) from St. Andrew's to Skydome. And on the ride home, the folks around us were speaking Japanese (common dialect), Kansei-ben, Korean, and French. I <heart> Toronto.
  • $2 Skydeck seats on Tuesdays, which give us seats in the infield comparable to what I had for my season ticket package at Jacobs Field. For Game 2, we sat directly behind the catcher.
  • The Jays actually have a clue about Sabermetrics, and put players' OBP, slugging, and OPS up on the scoreboard in place of the Triple Crown stats.
  • The fans who can be bothered to show up during a rebuilding year are pretty clueful. Most folks around us were keeping score, and for Game 2, we sat next to six twentysomething guys from a fantasy baseball league.
  • Spicy sausage with hot salsa and peppers for $3 CDN from a Kurdish street vendor. And last night, we stopped to soak up the ambiance of everyone driving up and down honking horns over the Leafs' hockey victory to accompany it.
  • It's in Toronto, and so am I.

The Bad

  • The fans here just can't compare to Cleveland's fans. During Opening Day at Jacobs Field last year, outdoors in a -5 C windchill with fog, dampness, drizzle, and the occasional snow flurry, the fans sold out Jacobs Field and cheered themselves hoarse over a rebuilding team destined for next-to-last place (thanks to the Incredible Imploding Tigers), with contention multiple years away. At comfortable Skydome this year, with a decent team with a shot at contention, Opening Day was like the inside of a tomb, and there were ten thousand empty seats. And the loudest cheers so far this year have been for fans displaying Leafs sweaters on the Jumbotron, or to celebrate Leafs goals over at the Hangar.
  • Skydome suffers aesthetically compared with Jacobs Field. To be fair, that could be said for any park that isn't Camden Yards, PNC, or one of the three old classics.
  • Artificial turf. Enough said. And it isn't even the newer kind that's engineered to look kind of like grass -- it's an old-style carpet in a shade of green unknown in nature.
  • "Beers of the World" means Beck's, Keith's, and Stella Artois. Keith's is at least drinkable, though how they get away with calling it an "IPA" is beyond me, but it's $9.50 for a decent-sized one. Even in Loonies, that's excessive.
  • Unlike the Tribe (and the Rochester Red Wings), the Jays don't sell scorecards separately from their $5 program. And we forgot to bring a printer on this trip to print out the ESPN StatPack (with scorecard) to take to the game.
  • They spend most of the Seventh Inning Stretch playing a really lame team song, then rush through "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" just once.

The Ugly

Scene: Upper deck, Section 527, just toward third from home plate, 25 minutes before game time.

"Hi, I'd like to buy a media guide."

"Um, we don't sell those here. You need to go to section 531."

Scene: Upper deck, Section 531, 20 minutes before game time.

"Hi, I'd like to buy a media guide."

"Okay, here's a program. That will be $5, please."

"No, not the program -- the media guide."

"What's a media guide?"

"It's a book with lots of stats about the team, you know, the one that they give to the broadcasters. It's about yea thick, and about this big."

"Oh, that! No, I don't have those. You need to go to the souvenier stand at section 527."

"I just did, and they sent me here."

"Oh. Okay, try Guest Services; perhaps they know."

Scene: Guest Services, Section 527, 15 minutes before game time.

"Hi, where can I find a media guide?"

"There's a souvenier stand right next to here that should have them."

"They don't."

"Oh. Um, you could try going down to the 100 level. If not, you might have to go to the Bullpen Store (beyond right center field -- i.e. as far away as it is humanly possible to go and still be in Skydome). There's an elevator over there."

Scene: 100 level, 5 minutes before game time

"Hi, I'd like to buy a media guide."

"What's a media guide?"

"It's a book with all sorts of stats and whatnot, about so thick, and...."

"Oh, those. No, we haven't gotten them yet."

"Yes you have! There's one right there in your display case!"

"Oh, right. And here's the box of them. That will be $19.95 plus GST, please...."

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
phantom_wolfboy
Apr. 21st, 2004 03:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Subway to the dome: From Union Station the Skywalk takes you over the railways and lets you out right at the foot of the tower, from which it is a moment's walk to the dome. And you get a view, even in inclement weather.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )