So my first ever baseball game, watched from the air-conditioned comfort – sans atmosphere – of the Arriba restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel high up in the Rogers SkyDome
The SkyDome is a marvellous Toronto landmark in itself
One Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Opened June 3, 1989
Baseball: 49,260 (3,434 seats in private boxes)
Canadian football: 31,074 (expandable to 52,230)
American football: 54,000
Basketball: 22,911 (expandable to 28,708)
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) (1989–present)
Toronto Argonauts (CFL) (1989–present)
The venue was the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof, as well as a 348-room hotel attached to it, with 70 rooms overlooking the field. It is also the most recent North American major-league stadium built to accommodate both football and baseball”
So with temperature and humidity bordering on 40c we both arrived separately – looking worse for wear having both been micro-waved whilst using the all-glass skywalk from Union Station (like an oven) this “quick route” at the moment diverts you down several flights of stairs to deposit you back onto Front Street several blocks short of the SkyDome necessitating an even more uncomfortable roasting hence our sartorial condition.
With the game about to start the SkyDome concourse was buzzing with activity and queues coursed around the building from many of the gates. We used to come here a lot to watch the Toronto Argonauts play (football) as my son played snare for the “Argonotes” – the team’s band.
This time though we entered the relative calm and frigid lobby of the Renaissance Hotel and straight into the restaurant to our window table – what a staggering view over the pitch! The dome was open to another perfect blue sky evening, the pitch astro-turf green and the seats a checkerboard of people-flecked blue seats.
An enthusiastic pretty server served up both the meal and “state of play” enlightenment and snippets of team gossip with each visit to our table which was invaluable as we didn’t have a clue. My husband’s grasp of the game stemming from multiple viewings of his favorite Kevin Costner film “Field of Dreams!
The overwhelmingly large overhead scoreboard viewed from this proximity verrrrrrry ( close indeed) might as well be in Egyptian hieroglyphics for all the sense it made. Our Confusion was heightened by the flashing game, team and player scores rotating around the dome – not helpful, just a colourful addition to the view!
Is is like Cricket?
Is it like Rounders?
No it’s Baseball
So, if you LOVE baseball stop reading now as I am not its biggest fan!
The following is the game according to Carol
Two teams meander onto the pitch, the Blue Jays (in white!!!) and the “Royals” (Kansas) in grey, the national anthems are sung and this is the only time you get to see all the players together.
– Oh and a word about the gear – is this not the most old-fashioned and unflattering gear a man could dress in – unchanged in decades, cut offs tucked into long socks (in some cases), others wearing grass stained long pants (Major league baseball guys, don’t you have several changes of trousers?)
First up a whole team ( 9 players) pan across the pitch taking up their position as Fielders (infielders or outfielders, pitchers and catchers)
The opposing team is simply one very lonely batsman on the pitch at this point .
The pitcher chucks the ball in the general direction of the batsman – who 99% of the time seems to miss.
C’mon guys isn’t this your JOB – don’t you practice all day and every day and earn millions of dollars doing this – and yet you rarely hit the ball. we mere working mortals would get the sack for poor performance of our fundamental job description like this.
Hitting the ball is the start of all the action or not as in the case of the first innings we watched.
By now I have switched off – this is not riveting enough nor as action packed as I’d expected. In fact it reminds me of sailing around the Isle of Wight in a sailboat with no wind – the scenery doesn’t seem to change much – just a flurry here and there as occasional runs are made and bases are reached.
I am being unfair – perhaps if I’d been in the actual stadium I would have been drawn into the excitement of the crowd.
We managed to sit through four innings by the time we finished our meal and whilst you can sit out the rest of the game at the table – these games can go on till midnight! – we decided we’d seen enough.
Food okay, nothing special (apart from the magnificent vantage point) and expensive we thought , although we didn’t have to pay for a ticket for the game.
Anyway here are the real rules courtesy of “Live Strong” written for kids so even I get them!
“Each team must field a minimum of nine players. Nine players must take turns batting on offense, and they must bat in a pre-determined order and remain in that order for the entire game. The same nine players will also play defense when they are not batting. On defense, teams must have one pitcher, one catcher, four infielders and three outfielders.
A baseball field consists of four bases, each positioned at a 90-degree angle from one another–home plate and first, second and third base. The out of bounds lines run from home plate toward and beyond the first and third bases–all the land in between these lines is fair game. A fence runs along the outside of the playing field in the outfield–any ball that lands beyond this fence but within the boundary lines on the side counts as a home run.
Players take turns going up to home plate to try to hit a baseball thrown from a pitcher. The pitcher has to place the ball over home plate and between the height of the batter’s knees and shoulders. If the ball crosses this area and is not hit, it is counted as a strike. If it does not cross this area, it counts as a ball. Batters have to get a hit before they get three strikes, or else they are out. If a pitcher throws four balls before a batter hits the ball or gets three strikes, the batter automatically gets to go to first base, called a walk. Batters want to touch all three bases on their way to touching home plate. If a ball is hit, or a player is tagged out before touching a base, they are counted out. If a batter makes it to home plate before getting tagged and before his team collects three outs, the team scores a run. After three outs, half of the inning is over, and the teams switch positions–the batting team takes the field to play defense, and vice versa. After both teams have had a chance to bat, an inning is completed. Different leagues play anywhere from five to nine innings to determine a winner of the game. The team that scores the most runs wins”
And there you have it!
So no minute by minute commentary on this particular game just a biased impression from baseball Troglodyte
Over and Out