The Blue Jays’ Home Opener and Reader’s Ballpark Memories

What’s up, everybody? Reader here.

The Major League Baseball season got underway about a week and a half ago, and the Toronto Blue Jays have spent their first ten games on the road, as the latest renovations were completed at Rogers Centre, which included the demolition and rebuild of the lower deck seats and clubhouse.

There’s been ongoing work at the Jays’ home field for a couple of years now, to upgrade and improve the 35-year-old stadium, and a release from the club last week said an average of 350 tradespeople per day, put a total of 400,000 worker hours in, to complete the work, at a total cost of around 400-million dollars (in Canadian money).

Tonight, Jays fans get to check out the fruits of their labours, and see the latest renos up close, when the Jays host the Seattle Mariners in their home opener.

The Jays are 4-6 to start the season and hopefully now, that they can open up the home portion of the schedule, they can string together some more wins.

Of course, the work was to improve the fan experience. And I’ve got to say, baseball is the one sport above all others, that to me, is better live than on TV.

I’ve been to four Major League games in my lifetime – in Toronto in 2005, to catch the late, great Doc Halladay and the Blue Birds take on Milwaukee, in Detroit in 2013, where I saw the Tigers square off against Cleveland, and two games in Minneapolis in 2015, when the Twins hosted the Jays for a weekend series.

Every time, it was a blast.

Target Field in Minneapolis, 2015. What a great ballpark!
We had some great seats!
The Jays warming up before the game.
Who needs a Marvel-DC crossover? Fox FM meets GX94, when Danny Ismond and I took in the action in Minneapolis!

There’s something about kicking back at the ballpark, with a frosty beverage or two, some tasty food, and just relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere around the game.

For starters, being at a baseball game allows you to truly appreciate the scale of the sport. From the crack of the bat to the roar of the crowd, every play feels larger than life when you’re there in person. The sheer size of the stadium, the perfectly manicured field, and the towering scoreboard all add to the sense of grandeur that you just can’t get from watching on TV.

Then there’s the energy of the crowd. The camaraderie and excitement of thousands of fans coming together to cheer on their team is infectious. Whether you’re high-fiving strangers after a home run or booing the umpire’s call, there’s a sense of community that forms among fans that can’t be replicated in an online comment section.

And let’s not forget about the food! There’s nothing quite like indulging in a hot dog and a cold beer while watching a game in the bleachers. The smell of popcorn and peanuts, the sizzle of the grill, and the taste of a freshly-poured draft beer all add to the sensory experience of being at a baseball game.

Speaking of snacks… Target Field in Minny had some great ones – including a couple that I sampled.

I am a man who loves pork chops. How do you make them better? Put that pork chop on a stick!

The Pork Chop on a Stick! Absolutely delicious!

And I also sampled Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich, from a food stand operated by former Twins legend Tony Oliva.

What you have here, is shredded roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard and dill pickles, between two thick pieces of bread, grilled to deliciousness! So good!

There’s something truly special about experiencing a baseball game in person that just can’t be replicated through a screen. The sights, the sounds, the smells – it’s all about the atmosphere.

But perhaps the most magical part of seeing a baseball game in person is the unpredictability of it all. You never know when a player is going to hit a walk-off home run, when a pitcher is going to throw a no-hitter, or when a fan is going to catch a foul ball. The excitement of not knowing what will happen next is what keeps us coming back game after game.

At the Detroit-Cleveland game I went to in 2013, I got to see an inside-the-park home run. That was pretty darn cool!

If you haven’t experienced the thrill of a baseball game in person, you’ve gotta do it. It’s so much fun, and an experience like no other, that’ll leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Go Jays, Go!!!

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