I’ve lived two hours away from Toronto for the majority of my life, but the city might as well have been on another planet. The only real exposure I’ve had is the odd field trip as a child, concert, dinner and at most an overnight stay. I knew very few people who have never made it to a Jays’ game growing up, meanwhile I’d never even stepped foot near the Sky Dome (as I knew it), now Rogers Center . It seemed almost a rite of passage for Torontonians, fan or not. Well, this was going to change as I was now living here, even if it was only three months. I would breach the entrance of the stadium. Not sure how yet, but fate was on my side.
Now most people would approach this quite simply and just buy a ticket. This summer wasn’t the same as the many previous ones though. The Blue Jays were on top of their game for the first time in what I heard was twenty years. Just about every home game sold out by all the diehard fans and those just jumping on the band wagon while they were up. I wasn’t even a huge baseball fan so I just couldn’t justify scalping prices. I’ve learnt in the past if you put good vibes out quite often things will work out and sure enough they did.
A good friend of mine (also writes Tailgate Talk, for those of you interested in sports) works for the Rogers Center and much more easily than the average person obtained a few tickets for the upper bowl. Of course I was down for the Friday night game. Not too long after another big fan friend managed half price lower bowl tickets for the Sunday game the same weekend. Thus begins the double header weekend with the Blue Jays. (While not back to back I know, close enough to a double header, just technicalities.)
After the mandatory pre-game beers at the lake front Amsterdam Brewhouse, we headed for the stadium. As soon as we entered a constant roar took over, the buzz of thousands together building the atmosphere. The buzz is invigorating, like that of a concert or festival. We made our way to the upper bowl, not before stopping for the overpriced beer and when I sat down I had two thoughts. ‘Holy shit, the view from up here is incredible and the CN Tower is right behind us’, and this was followed by ‘I suddenly really want a hotdog’. There was a hush for the anthems, then the roar came back as the players entered the field. After nine innings, a few more tall cans, some homeruns and waves around the stadium the Blue Jays won both games.
I never did get that hotdog and probably only paid attention to half the game each time. The drinking and social aspect was the definite highlight for me, catching up with old friends in an unforgettable environment. The atmosphere is contagious wherever you sit. I preferred the upper bowl simply because it’s seemed more relaxed. If you have the chance while in Toronto catch a game. It would be one way to glimpse a different view of the city. For me, it was great to discover that there are still new things to do and see even in my own backyard.
I’ve always wanted to see a football match in England. What game would you travel for?