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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Baseball Postscript

 This is my second posting on baseball. I feel I want to say more.

There is a great expectation for the Blue Jays to have a great season. They have a team that can have a great offense and a very strong pitching staff. 

Well two games into the season and there is little sign of much offense. Pitching is good but not spectacular.
Toronto lost game one to Cleveland 4 to 1 and the second game 4 to 3. Certainly not time to lose faith but disappointing to be sure. When are they going to show some outstanding offense.

To buoy my spirits I decided to watch  on my computer, the Triple A affiliate of Toronto, the Buffalo Bisons, in their opening game. There starting lineup is familiar, made up of exciting young players that played with the Blue Jays in spring training in Florida/ Most played some with the Blue Jays for part of their season last year.  The Bisons have a very strong team and should do well in the International League.

With Toronto Triple A team in Buffalo, there will be a lot of Canadians going to the Bison games. The baseball is good and of a high standard, the park is great, the prices are within people's means and while in Buffalo you could do some cross-border shopping  and even get some Buffalo Hot Wings.  Why wouldn't Canadians within 1 1/2  hour drive go to a game. (More Canadians have passports that Americans so border crossing is possible)  It will be interesting to see if the Bison team draws better than the 7,500 average attendance  a game this year.  With a lovely stadium with nearly 20,000 seats, the largest in the International League, there is lots of room for expansion of the fan base.  I hope so. I even hope to go myself even though I live 7 hours away.




This is the Peace Bridge between Buffalo, NY and Fort Erie, Ontario, over the Niagara River.  For the opening of the baseball season it was light up in the Bison (red) and Blue Jays (blue) colours.  There was a near capacity crowd for opening day (over 15,000) many from Canada I am sure. The Toronto Blue Jays Brass was there and Robbie Alomar, the former Jay and Hall of Fame member tossed out the ceremonial ball.

The Bisons, unlike the Jays, did not disappoint. They put on a great offensive show. and won the game against Rochester, 12 to 7.



This is Coca-Cola Stadium in downtown Buffalo. It is a classic baseball park. With about 20,000 seats (Buffalo hoped to get a Major League team at one time.  Maybe, still in their hearts  the do but Buffalo is having tough economic times for now)  The game is played outside in the elements and on grass, unlike in Toronto where it is played inside with no weather elements under the remarkable retractable roof and on artificial turf.
The Buffalo stadium was built only for baseball while the Toronto facility has multi uses: football, concerts, monster truck rallies etc..  The Coca-Cola Stadium is a gem of a ball park.




The Skydome, now the Rogers Center (home of the Blue Jays) is the low egg shaped edifice on the left. The phallic CN Tower looms erect over it and all of Toronto.  One has to assume that together they are symbols of the vitality of the continued development of Toronto. now a World Class city, no longer refered to as "hog town". 

After I listened to the Bison ball game in the afternoon, I steeled myself to listen to the Blue Jays' third game against Cleveland Indians.  They surely have to break out with some offense soon.  I hoped so and the Blue Jays did not disappoint this time. they won the game  10 to 8 against a Cleveland team that seemed determined to win the third game in the series.  Let this be the end of the jitters for the team. Tonight the Boston Red Sox come to town for a three game series.   Interest is high!


In my last post I mentioned how much I enjoy the quality of the radio broadcasts of the Blue Jays games.
First there was Tom Cheek who was there in the beginning of the team in 1977 and broadcast 4,306 consecutive games, home and away, until  shortly before he died.  He was there for those early years when the team played in Exhibition Stadium, sometimes in the snow as well as the glory years of 92 and 93 when the Jays won the World Series, back to back. He also was there for milestones  of the careers of great players for the Toronto team and many quirky events tossed in, such as the day  Dave Whitfield accidentally killed a seagull with a ball being tossed to a batboy.  Now his former sidekick and colour commentator, Jerry Howarth, does the play by play along with Jack Morris, a former pitcher.  He has been part of the Blue Jays organization for 32 years. 

Below is an interview with  Jerry which I found interesting. He explains how he came to become a baseball announcer and join the Blue Jays. He also explains how he came to become a born again Christian.  I never knew this about him. He never refers to it on air, to his credit. I have always been uncomfortable with sports teams  that where their religiosity on their sleeves.  Jerry seems to be a very modest man with a straight forward kind of charm.





Finally, I enjoy learning about the Canadians that play in Major League baseball.  Canada has a long history in baseball.  Hockey so dominates our national psyche that we ignore other sports.  There have been some great Canadian baseball players.  I remember Ferguson Jenkins and more recently Larry Walker.   Currently Joey Votto, from  Toronto, is one of the best Major League players.  The Toronto Blue Jays have almost always has one or two Canadian players.  Brett Lawrie is the only one currently on the roster although there are a handful in the organization among its 7 affiliates. I am always disappointed that they have not had more at one time. After all these years and being the only Canadian based team, I would have thought they would have sought out and signed more players. They certainly do try to support baseball across the country. It would be nice if they had more farm teams in Canada. Currently they have the Vancouver Canadians at A level team. There is an effort in Ottawa to create a baseball team there at the double AA level and have it a Blue Jay Affiliate. Years ago, for a short while they had a rookie league team in St. Catherines.  In Montreal there has been an empty spot in the spots culture there since the Montreal Expos, in the National League was relocated to Washington, DC.. There is considerable interest in baseball in Quebec where there are three team in the unaffiliated Can/Am Association League.  If there is ever an expansion of Major League baseball I hope Canada might be considered and that the Blue Jays would welcome more teams.

This is my last baseball post until or at least  when the Blue Jays get into the World Series.

6 Comments:

At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:21 AM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

When I lived in Sarnia, we went to a few games at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Detroit also had a AA farm team in London, which we visited a few times. I can remember one game when the AA Expos from Harrisburg were playing and they won handily. We have also been to the Sky Dome once and Olympic Stadium once. When the Expos disappeared and the Tigers became awful, I stopped following the sport.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger troutbirder said...

Fun post. And yes baseball is the ONLY professional sport I have interest in.... The Twins get my support. Speaking of Canadians MVP Justin Morneau is showing signs of completly recovering from his concussion of a few years back. And yes he was a hockey player too...:)

 
At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:06 PM, Blogger Owen Gray said...

They pulled it out last night, Philip. Let's hope that's a sign of things to come.

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Ginnie said...

When I grew up (outside Boston) the game of baseball was the big sport ... and a few of the players lived in our town. It was great fun even if I was just 9 yrs old.

 

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