Tag: rogers centre

#GoNuts For The Lansing Lugnuts!

(Note:  The city of Lansing, Michigan hooked me up with accommodations and tickets to a Lansing Lugnuts game, in exchange for me writing about my experience in the city. The opinions given are my own, unbiased thoughts. Enjoy!)

Now, I’ve mentioned before on here that my family are pretty big Toronto Blue Jays fans. The last couple of seasons, we’ve even done road trips, to watch them play in Cleveland and Philadelphia. This year, since the Jays aren’t having such a great season, I decided to do something a bit different. We packed our bags and made the trek to Lansing, Michigan, to check out the Lansing Lugnuts!

 

See, the Lugnuts are a Class-A minor league baseball team who are affiliated with the Jays. Notable alumni include Carlos Beltran, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez,  and Superman himself Kevin Pillar. Most recently, two of the top prospects in Major League Baseball, Vladmir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, played there. Really, it’s a great opportunity to see some potential future stars on the come up. Throw in the fact that Lansing is only like a four or five hour drive from the Greater Toronto area, which is perfect for a weekend road trip, and attending a game should be a no-brainer, for any Blue Jays fan.

I’m used to watching ball games at the cavernous Rogers Centre, but the Lugnuts’ ballpark, Cooley Law School Stadium, is on a whole different level. Quirky is probably a good word for it. One of the seating options is the lawn aka the grass behind the outfield, for example. The home run fence also varied a lot in height, across the field. It reminded me of Tetris, where it’s like a few more pieces are needed, to make the walls complete. The quirkiest part, though, were the apartments in the outfield. For real, you can actually live in a baseball stadium!

We went on a Sunday, which was “Kids Day”. In terms of maximizing the fans’ experience, the Lugnuts do a top notch job.   When we arrived, a table was set up near the entrance, which had a bunch of animals on it, like snakes and rabbits, that you could pet. Near that table was a face painting station, for the kids. Players were on the concourse signing autographs, as well. It happened to be Minions Day at our game, so Minions were wandering about, doing Minions things, and taking pictures with the fans. While we didn’t make it in time to partake, if you arrive early enough, you’re allowed to go down on the field, and play catch. Kids were also able to run the bases, after the game.  Behind left field was an awesome play area, too, which featured a couple of inflatable bouncy castles. Between every inning, something entertaining was always going on (word of advice -be sure to make friends with some of the staff there. The Lugnuts ran a ton of in-game contests, so who knows, if you play your cards right, you might get picked to participate in one!).

 

In terms of pricing, the costs of the tickets ranged from $9 for the outfield lawn seats, to $15 for executive box seats. The food choices were pretty varied (we stuck to hot dogs, chicken tenders and fries, but I heard that there were some more funky options throughout the concourse), and the pricing was about average.  All things considered, my whole family thoroughly enjoyed the game. The fact that the Lugnuts won was a bonus (a Blue Jays team that actually wins? Crazy talk!). It’s good value for your money, especially when considering the other stuff there, which engages fans and non-fans, of all ages.  It’s the type of place that you could take your family and happen to watch a baseball game, while you’re there, if that makes sense.

 

Other Thoughts

  • Cooley Law School Stadium is located in downtown Lansing. There were a bunch of restaurants and pubs near the stadium, if you want to take in the night life after a game
  • Also downtown is Impression5  Science Center. Timing wise, we weren’t able to go, but it sounds like a ton of fun, and I think my kids would have loved this place.
  • We did make it out to the local zoo, Potter Park Zoo.   Besides the nice variety of animals and displays, the best part about it was the size. You could walk through and see everything in a couple of hours, which when you’re chasing after two hyperactive kids while pushing a stroller, is just about right. 
  • Lansing is also home to Michigan State University, which we checked out for a bit. Having never been to a “big-time” American university before, I was impressed with the facilities and how beautiful the campus looked.
  • We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Lansing at Eastwood.  It’s one of the city’s newest hotels and definitely the most modern hotel that I’ve stayed in. Very clean, very friendly, patient staff, and a very tasty hot breakfast! It’s conveniently located, too.
  • There’s a lot more going on in Lansing than I haven’t even mentioned. Bottom line, if you like baseball and cool little cities, why not make the trip there and #GoNuts ?

 

For more information about Lansing, please visit www.lansing.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shot Remix

A few months ago, I told y’all about The Shot a.k.a. that time when B requested that I hit him a foul ball, and, despite severely lacking any baseball skills, I somehow did it. Well, all good stories deserve a sequel.  Today, I’d like to tell you about the time recently when B called his shot.

Lemme set the scene. It was a clear black night, a clear white moon (word to Warren G!). Me and B were on the street…..walking to the Rogers Centre. I had scored a pair of wicked, first row seats to a Toronto Blue Jays – Baltimore Orioles game, which B had been excited for weeks about. He was going to stay up late on a school night to eat junk food, watch the Jays up close, and, most importantly, he was going to catch a foul ball!

Wait, what?

You see, in his mind, catching a foul ball at a recreational, co-ed three-pitch game is cool…..but snagging one at an actual Major League Baseball game is way cooler. So,  leading up to it, B  had been nonchalantly mentioning that he was going to catch one. Not hoped to. Not wanted to. He was GOING to. The day before the game, at school, he even drew a picture, and wrote (I’m paraphrasing here. I don’t remember the exact words.)  “I’m going to the Blue Jays game tomorrow.  I’m going to catch a ball.”

Now, we’ve seen the Jays play in person several times, but B had never made such a bold proclamation before.  Accordingly, I tried to temper his expectations. The stadium would be near capacity (close to 50,000 people).  Say 40 balls end up going into the stands. The odds of us getting one just weren’t very good. Nonetheless, B remained unfazed. As a parent, you hate to see your kids be disappointed about anything, especially when their hearts are set on it. However, if they are undeterred in spite of your opinion,  then what can you do? Make no mistake about it, B was undeterred.

So what happened?

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At the game, B spent the better part of five innings in a ready position. That is, whenever a ball was hit, he would jump up and raise his baseball glove, in preparation to catch a pop fly. While several foul balls whizzed by, none landed close to our general vicinity. Regardless, he was wasn’t worried. His only concern was the possibility of getting hurt if he didn’t get his glove up fast enough, when a ball came to him.

In bottom of the sixth, the Jays’ catcher, Russell Martin, came to the plate.  After a pitch or two, he ripped a foul ball down the first base line, right towards our section. Once it neared the stands, a man reached over and grabbed it. He then turned to B, and pointed the ball at him . While B stared at the guy, dumbfounded,  I held my hand up, and he tossed me the ball. To make it official, I then flipped it up to B, who happily caught it. The look on B’s face after was priceless.  Unsurprised disbelief turned all the way up probably describes it best. He said that he would do it, and, against all odds, he did it. B called his shot. He caught a foul ball!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty pessimistic dude. Children, however, aren’t so jaded. In their eyes, as Kevin Garnett said, anything is possible. When a kid makes a crazy statement like they’re going to catch a foul ball at a jam-packed stadium, maybe we, as adults, shouldn’t be haters. There really is something to thinking a big idea, telling yourself that you are going to make it a reality, and then making it a reality. It’s something we all probably should do more of.

OK, real talk over. Later, peeps.

Go catch a foul ball or something, will ya?

 

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A pic of the ball. Despite what B says, RA Dickey did not sign it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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