Just a thought... I'm convinced that every boy in his heart would rather steal second base than an automobile. [Tom Clark]
When I was leaving CHFI last December, I may have hinted broadly (or been asked, I'm not quite sure) about a gift. Knowing that the Blue Jays were playing only one series in Seattle this year, I put in a lofty request for tickets so that I could attend the three games, taking with me my Victoria relatives and my dad, who turned 84 on Sunday.
Dad didn't end up being able to go, but still, I was fortunate enough to get five tickets for one game as a farewell gift. We bought Friday's and Sunday's. But when it came time to pick up the tickets at the customer service window on Saturday, I heard these words: "They done good by you." And they did. How do you get better than this?
Front row, along the third base line, so close to the action that the Mariners Moose was "harassing" my aunt.
My dad's kid brother Vern, his wife Laura (both of whom are about Rob's age), my sister-in-law Sue (who sat a row directly behind us) and I had seats for a winning outing from Marcus Stroman under a roof at Safeco Field that had slid open for the breezy evening.
We watched warmups, kibbitzed with fellow Canadians (we were surrounded by them) and marveled at the perspective our seats afforded - including a view of Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar as they represented the Jays during the national anthems.
Peggy, the usher assigned to our section, whose job it was to keep the girls next to us from constantly placing their beers, phones or feet up on the wall, was a hoot.
She told us that a couple of series ago, the stadium actually ran out of beer when Canadian fans filled the seats. It's folklore - but I believe it! The camaraderie of the crowd had us all laughing, cheering and heckling for the entire game. Best of all, we ended up winning 4-2 (after having lost by that score the night before). Maybe you didn't see the game, since it began after 10 pm ET, but it turns out lots of folks did - and spotted us on camera too.
Here we are, Rob and me, with sister Sue behind in the blue cap and white jersey. Thanks to the journal visitor who sent this one!
And yet another picture, this time as I'm tweeting during a lull in the action - a shot I'm sure was accompanied by commentary about how many Jays fans were in the stands!
Thanks for that one, Nancy! And this next picture was a "what the heck was THAT?" reaction when Jose Bautista was suddenly safe on second base and none of us in the crowd could figure it out! There were boos and cheers and there he was. And the camera caught my reaction. By this time, Rob had moved a row back to sit with his sister.
By the end of the game, we felt as if we'd gotten to the World Series instead of simply cheering on our team on a summer-like Saturday night. The icing on the cake though - after meeting up with Jerry Howarth, crying, hugging and talking, and then witnessing a fine, fun game at a sold out park filled with fellow Toronto Blue Jays fans - was getting to go live on the radio.
Mike Wilner of Sportsnet Radio's Jays Talk (follow him @wilnerness590 on Twitter) saw that I was at the game, thanks to the aforementioned tweets. He messaged me and gave me the studio number, asking me to call when the game was over. My phone, down to 5%, was about to expire, but Rob passed me his (thank you, Roam Like Home) and I talked with Mike live on the Blue Jays radio network after the game. If you want, you can hear the interview by clicking here.
I floated along the Seattle sidewalks, which were crammed with ecstatic Jays fans, as we made our way to our car. In the same lot, in the back of a pickup truck, more Toronto fans were refusing to let the party end. As for me, I don't think I came down to earth until Sunday afternoon when we took our seats for game three of the series.
Then we met a player's mom and also got a taste of some angry fans' reactions to our invasion, which I hope I was able to defuse with humour (with a "u", of course). I'll tell you those stories tomorrow.
(@erindavis on Twitter)