Just the tip of the experience… just the tip

February 11th… that’s what I keep telling myself. February 11th… Pitchers and catchers report. It’s almost time.

Yes I am aware that the opening of spring training only means that the official start of the season is ONLY less than two months away… sigh.

But who cares. It’s January 31st. This asshole of a month is only a few hours away from disappearing until 2014. Yes I am aware that winter is FAR from over. Trust me… I am WELL aware. So much so that I have been growing my winter weather protest/opening day beard since just after Christmas. Outside of a little wedding grooming this weekend, my face fur will not be trimmed until the Jays take the field against the Tribe on April 2nd. Opening day is pound for pound my FAVOURITE day of the year. Here are a few things that make a Jays game un amazing experience…

• The promise of street meat within the vicinity of the skydome… err Rogers Centre. We’ve had a discussion about the quality of street meat in the downtown core for years now and it always ends up like this… “The further you walk away from the dome… the poorer the quality of the street meat.” Now there are a few exceptions to this rule, the most notable being the quality of the meat being derved at the cart outside of Finch station (shocking!) The 2 stands that stand out for me personally are the one directly across from Gate 5 – to the right of the Jays Drummer. The other is located past the Box office on your way towards Gate 9. Nothing gets me in the mood for a Jays game like scarfing down a spicy Italian sausage on the way thru the gate… who am I kidding?? Usually it’s 2 if we’re lucky.

• No Jay’s game experience would be complete without the Jays drummer. Located along Bremner Blvd, across from the waterless, swimming salmon art piece, the drummer has been a fixture at Jay’s games since the demise of the Gord Ash Empire, maybe even longer. Pounding on his drums and symbols he lures fans toward the concrete cathedral known as the Dome with his sirens song. “LET’S GO BLUE JAYS!!!!” the words echo throughout the concourse. But this is not a one man show. As the crowd draws in to watch the performance, the drummer lunges out with his drum stick, pointing at an unsuspecting fans; daring them to sing his sirens call back to him. “LET’S GO BLUE JAYS!!!”

• Scalpers. The jackals of the sporting world. They pray on those who were unfortunate enough not to land seats for the hot sporting event, or who are looking to trade up in seats, or who need to lose a ticket. They hunt in packs in and around the route to the ball park. You can always tell who is a scalper… not by their primitive call of “TICKETS HEEERRRREEE…. WHO NEEDS TICKETS!?!?!?!” but more so by their wardrobe. They tend to be outfitted in the finest sweat gear from Wal-Mart. Their jerseys, clearly purchased from the discontinued racks…Honestly, who pays money for a Shea Hillenbrand jersey!?!? You’ll encounter your first scalper as you make your way thru Union station, towards the Skywalk. Be warned though, the closer in proximity you get to the Dome, the more aggressive the Scalper becomes. Exiting the Skywalk you should encounter a pack of them lounging on the path drinking coffee and smoking their John Players Classics. Navigate thru the clouds of carcinogenic smoke and onwards toward your destination. Before you reach the water fountain (soon to be Ripleys aquarium) you’ll run into the final pack of scalpers, the End Boss of scalpers. These are the “successful” scalpers; you’ll usually find them surrounded by frat boys and guys desperately trying to get good seats to impress their date. Pass this final hurdle and you’ll be on your way to slathering mustard on a foot long and dropping $10+ on Bud Light!


^^THIS!!!! But with more Jays gear…^^

• Scoffing at the conversation between the two dudes sitting directly behind you who think they are god’s gift to baseball, equal parts Bill James, Bobby Cox, and Branch Rickey…and then feeling a smug sense of satisfaction when they jump out of their seats to admire an upper deck home run that is, in fact, a routine pop fly to centre field.

• Not being able to help yourself from glancing at the JumboTron every time they show the fans, just hoping to catch a glimpse of yourself. However, try not to be one of those clowns who shamelessly dance like a fool in order to get the attention of the camera. Whether it’s Gangnam Style or the Macarena, their weapon of choice is always a much over used, and often out dated, popular dance move. These are the same people who jump up and down and act like they’re a contestant on the Price is Right once the cameraman does show their shameless mug on the Jumbotron. There are three exceptions to shamelessly dancing and prancing like a clown. The first: you’re a group of attractive young ladies enjoying a few pops and a night out at the old ball park. The Second: you’re a group of guys and have been enjoying MORE than a few pops at the ballgame. (Keep in mind boys, not the best way to pick up those groups of young ladies.) Last, and certainly not least, you’re completely shitfaced by yourself. Who cares what 50 000 people think anyhow…

• Playing it cool and not jumping out of your seat when a foul ball is popped your way. I am always filled with equal parts terror of a ball actually being hit within a three-seat radius of me, and longing to snare a ball hit my way. I also straight up REFUSE to bring a glove with me to the ballpark. No self respecting male over the age of 18 should bring their glove with them to the game… UNLESS… they are accompanied by a minor. If you need something to soften the blow of the screaming liner as it shatters your palm… I recommend using your Maxi Pad… Man up.

• Betting with the people around me on which of two lame antics Ace is going to pull when he comes out onto the field with the grounds crew. Is he going to trip and fall down on his way off the field, or is he going to run into the left-field wall? I’m consistently wrong in my prediction, which is just one more reason I hate Ace. Ace is without a doubt the worst mascot in sports. At least they put the OTHER mascot (Diamond) out of her misery. Seeing as the Jays are enjoying a throwback phase with the new/old jerseys and Johnny Gibbons, I suggest we petition Paul Beeston to bring back BJ Birdie.

Just skip to the 1.40 mark… that is all

• At least once each game casting my eyes skywards to the hotel windows above the outfield walls, hoping to catch a glimpse of a naked chick standing in the window. Am I the only one who does this?? Be honest….

February 11th… February 11th…. It’s almost here

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