Tag: toronto blue jays

The 2018 Wrap Up


What up, my dudes! Another year has almost come and gone, and looking back on it, I see that it’s been an interesting one, for real.  Through the many trials, tribulations and experiences (some of which I’ve written about here), I’ve really learned a lot. For example:

– I spent some time behind the scenes, in the audience, and in front of the camera. The TV and film life is cool from a distance, but it isn’t for me.

–  Being excluded sucks, and I’ve tried to remind my kids of this. Hopefully, they aren’t the ones who someday start a club like No Homers.

– From my chaperoning adventure, supervising large groups of kids isn’t my forte.  Yet.

– B’s hoop skills have improved a lot. It’s just a matter of time now before he beats me one on one. When this happens, chances are I’ll cry.  In the meantime, if he’s close to winning, I’ll start faking an injury before the last bucket, so my L isn’t official.

– Fortnite. I don’t get it.

– J’s grown up a lot, too. Reading, for instance.  She started the year as a pretty average reader for her age. She’s gotten a lot better, though, month by month, to the point that she now reads bedtime stories to me, instead of vice versa.

– Speaking of growing, check out her legs in this picture:

It’s from a modeling gig for a catalogue.  I figured that there would be some photoshopping or whatever involved. However, of all the things to digitally enhance, I have no clue why the photographers settled on a six year old girl’s legs. Always expect the unexpected, was my takeaway from that experience.

– We booked a road trip to Lansing last year, in part to see uber baseball prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. About a week before our trip, he got called up to the next minor league level, so we didn’t see him. This season, I bought Toronto Blue Jays tickets in April, for a September game, thinking Vlad would be in Toronto by then.  Then in May, I heard that Vlad was being called up to Buffalo soon, so we made plans to see him there in June.  Before our game, though, he ended up on the injured list, so we missed him again. When September came around, the Jays didn’t call him up to the major leagues, so I didn’t see him there, either.  Conclusion? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a unicorn who does not exist.

– Baby Shark.  I don’t get it.

– KJ is a sweet lil dude overall, and hilarious, but the ‘terrible twos’ is still very much a thing. He spent the other day alternating between happily playing and losing his mind because he kept asking for “daddoo back”, and because I’m adult who speaks English, I had no idea what the heck he wanted.  If daddoo back was a physical object, he probably would have  beat me with it.

Not daddoo back, FYI.

– The older I get, the more conservative I get. Take this story, for example, of P.K. Subban, Lindsey Vonn and friends, cliff jumping.

About a week before, no joke, I was in the same spot, same cliff, with some of my friends, who took the same plunge as in this video. Where’s my Instagram evidence, you ask? There is none. I chickened out. Those rocks look painful, yo!

– This Is Us. I don’t get it.

– If someone told you that, in the last twelve months, they hung out at a set where Drake filmed stuff on, saw Drake in concert, dressed up as Drake for Halloween, and In My Feelings was their most played song of 2018, you’d probably say, “Man, that teenager sure is a Drake fan!”.  The fact that I’m actually talking about my thirtysomething year old self probably means that some of you are going to stop reading the rest of this now, out of Drake hate. Anyway, in 2018, I’ve discovered that I apparently really like Aubrey Graham.

– Finally,  I think the most important lesson that was reiterated this year was to not take your family and friends for granted. Like Ferris Bueller said, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So enjoy life, and the people in it who make it better.

From my fam to yours, Happy New Year, y’all! See you in 2K19!

 

 

 

 

 

Wings And Things – A Minor League Baseball Story

(Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets from the Buffalo Bisons in exchange for writing a post about the game. Opinions expressed are all mine, as usual).

Recently, I found myself doing something that I never would have dreamed of – cheering on a team of chicken wings.

Let’s set the scene.  The date in question was Father’s Day.  I had decided to celebrate by doing two of my favorite things – hanging out with the fam, and taking in a baseball game.  As a Toronto area guy, the obvious option would have been to go see the Toronto Blue Jays. In all honesty, though, that option was a pretty big meh for me. I love the Jays, but it costs a pretty penny to go a game. Which I get, don’t get it twisted. Big league product with the best players means you pay a premium to enjoy it. However, when you’re talking about an outing with a family of five, it ain’t a cheap afternoon. As well, the Jays just haven’t been all that good this year. I  really wasn’t feeling it, so I came up with a different idea – we’d go to Buffalo instead!

Buffalo is home to the Bisons, an AAA minor league team, who is a Blue Jays’ affiliate. While not major league quality, it’s not that far off, plus there are a bunch of recognizable names on the roster.  They were playing that day against the Rochester Red Wings.  I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I really do like the experience of attending a minor league game. For one, it’s more affordable. Not just the tickets, but also the concessions, too. As well, the teams usually do more for the fans, to make things more enjoyable, For example, the Father’s Day game also happened to be ‘Logo Baseball Giveaway Day’, and you were allowed to play catch on the field afterwards. Between innings also had lots of freebies and giveways, too. The manager of the Red Wings even took the time to walk over and throw B a ball! Little stuff like that really does go a long way.

The Bisons play their games in Coca Coca Field. If you’ve never been to Buffalo, the downtown area is fairly nondescript, but smack dab in the heart of it is this beautiful stadium.  And really, it was night and day watching a game there, versus the Rogers Centre, where the Jays play. The atmosphere is just so much better in a ‘real’ ballpark, for lack of a better term.

Ok, now let’s talk about the wings. The Bisons and Red Wings decided to re-name themselves the Buffalo Wings and the Rochester Plates, respectively, for that weekend, both named after popular local food fares. Their logos and uniforms were rebranded, too, accordingly.  I gots love for Rochester, but Buffalo has more of a soft spot for me, from the Jays connection. And so, for one day only, I found myself sitting at a ball diamond, cheering on a team of chicken wings.

I even got to take a picture with a giant celery!

All in all, it was a pretty unique Father’s Day, and an awesome time at the park.

 

Road Trippin’ in Rochester, New York!

(Note:  Rochester, New York hooked my family up with accommodations, a stipend, and passes/tickets to various attractions, in exchange for me writing about my experience in the city. The opinions given are my own, unbiased thoughts. Enjoy!)

 

Around my neck of the woods, Rochester is a city that gets slept on. Even though it is only about a two and a half hour drive away, it’s basically considered a “tournament city”;  that is, it’s the type of place which, unless you have family there, you only ever go to it for your kids’ hockey or basketball tourneys, or whatnot. You get a hotel for a couple of  nights , go to the games, maybe eat out at a restaurant or two, and then come home Sunday.

I’ll tell you what, though. After spending three jam-packed, fun-filled days in the ROC, it’s actually a great little town. One that is worth taking a vacation to, with your family!

B having a ball...in the Have a Ball exhibit.

Shoot, The Strong National Museum of Play alone is worth the drive, and somewhere you could devote a day to.  The Strong is an interactive museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It’s also home to, amongst other things, the  National Toy Hall of Fame, and the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Basically, it’s is two floors of cool collections and exhibits that will entertain kids of all ages. B and J both loved the Wegmans Super Kids Market, a spot-on, kids sized replica of a grocery store, complete with the items having barcodes and prices that could be scanned at cash registers (side note – B cruising the aisles with his cart, grabbing only a pizza, and two cartons of chocolate ice cream is pretty much the most bachelorific shopping ever.) J also enjoyed  the Bear Country (Berenstein Bears) and Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street exhibits, while B totally dug playing the retro arcade games.

Another place which you could make a day out of visiting is Seabreeze Amusement ParkIt has over 70 attractions (including a waterpark) many of which are family and/or kid friendly. B, who’s seven years old and of average height, was able to go on most of the thrill rides alone, for example.  The Park is also laid out well. Navigating it was easy, and didn’t require a lot of walking, to get around. When you’re pushing a stroller and chasing after two other kids, I can’t stress the benefit of this enough!

The comparable amusement park near me is the similarly priced Canada’s Wonderland, in Toronto.  I much preferred Seabreeze to it, in terms of the all-around family experience.

 

Speaking of experiences, since our family are big baseball fans, you know that we had to check out a Rochester Red Wings game. The Red Wings are the Minnesota Twins’ AAA minor league affiliate, and they happened to be playing the Toronto Blue Jays’ AAA team, the Buffalo Bisons, when we were in town.

I gotta give the Red Wings credit. They create a great atmosphere, for their fans. Their stadium, Frontier Field, is pretty cozy.  As far as I could tell, every seat had a good view. The concourses were nice and wide (re: so minimal crowding, again key when pushing a stroller).  Tickets are very reasonably priced, as was parking. The food/beer prices are average, but there is a wide selection of concessions/brews, to satisfy every craving, anyway. We went on a Saturday, so we were treated to an extravagant, 1990s-themed fireworks show afterwards, too.

Three other random points:

1) An underrated perk of attending a minor league game is the good chance of getting a baseball. B somehow ended up with three. He kept one for himself, gave one to J, and gave one to a nice gentleman behind us, who was thrilled to get it.

2) The Red Wings have two mascots, Spikes and Mittsy. I’ve never seen a female mascot before, and neither had J. She’s normally indifferent to mascots, but she immediately took a liking to Mittsy, as did many of the other little girls in attendance. Why more teams don’t incorporate female mascots should be a think piece for a more scholarly website than this one.

3) B and J were the play ball kid, and honorary coach, respectively, for the game. Sweet!

Photo Credit: Bare Antolos

Photo Credit: Bare Antolos

We were also fortunate enough to be in town during Wickham Farms’ Sunflower Spectacular event. The farm planted about 85,000 sunflower seeds in the spring, to cover five acres of land. Seeing thousands upon thousands of sunflowers is one of those things that sounds neat in theory, but really needs to be seen in person.  Just a beautiful, breathtaking sight!

The farm also had a bunch of other family activities, like a corn maze, mini-golf, hayrides, batting cages and a jumping pillow, to name a few.  Little KJ loved the train ride. B and J had a blast shooting apples from the apple cannon (now there’s a sentence I’d never imagined ever writing).  The eats in their barn were tasty, too, especially the fresh donuts.

 

 

For the animal lovers, Rochester is also home to the Seneca Park Zoo, which is a pretty dope spot. While not huge, it still housed a lot of different animals and exhibits.

Each area was very educational and informative, while the staff was all super friendly and knowledablge. Even better, it looked like the animals were very well maintained by them, too.  Not gonna lie, though – this owl and it’s Excorist-esque spinning head had me bugging out, for real!

 

Along the same educational tip, a visit to the Rochester Museum and Science Center was an exciting place to get our learn on. I believe there are more than 200 hands-on exhibits and collections, with just enough of them age appropriate for my kids, which kept them engaged the whole time. The Lake Ontario Dive Simulator Ride, in particular, was a hit with the fam, but pretty much anything that the kids could interact/play on, went over well.

 

B also tried his hand at doing the weather there. Watch out, Brick Tamland (word to Anchorman)!

Finally, in terms of accommodations, we stayed at the DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Rochester.  I highly recommend this hotel. It’s newly renovated, and our room was very ‘modern’ and spacious. The lobby area had a resort-like feel to it, which was cool. It also was well located; we only had to drive 15-20 minutes, maximum, to any of the places I’ve mentioned.

The best part?

The warm, chocolate chip cookies that they give you on arrival (or, you know, any other time, if you ask nicely)!

So that’s Rochester, in a nutshell, from my experience. It’s a city with a nice vibe, and lots of fun, affordable, entertainment options for a family.  Plus, if you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s not that far, either. The ROC is definitely worth a visit, and exploring, my friends.

Until next time, peace!

 

 

#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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trippin’ – Cleveland!

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For our summer vacation this year, my family decided to go to Cleveland, Ohio.

Now, when I would tell people this, it was met with one of the following three reactions:

  1. Confusion (“Cleveland? Why? Do you have family there?”).
  2. Disappointment (“Cleveland? Oh. That…um….sounds interesting?”).
  3. Excitement!  (Wait. Only one person that I talked to was excited. A co-worker of mine who wanted a pair of  motorcycle gloves from Whiskey Grade, which I agreed to pick up for him).

After spending four days in da Land, I can honestly say that the city deserves more of the latter reaction, and less of the first two.

For people like myself who live in the Greater Toronto Area, one of the best parts about Cleveland is its proximity. Being only five-ish hours away, it’s a great spot for doing a road trip and checking out for a few days, which is what my family did. As mentioned before on here, we are pretty big Toronto Blue Jays fans. As such, our vacation idea was to spend most of the week there, and take in an Indians-Blue Jays game. I’ll get back to the baseball in a bit, but spoiler alert – there’s actually tons of stuff to do in Cleveland!

Let’s start with their most well known tourist attraction – the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

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I asked the kids to pose nicely for a picture, and this is what they chose to do.

I had my doubts, as I didn’t think B and J were old enough to find it interesting. However, children under the age of 8 are free, so we ended up going. That place really is a music lover’s dream. K and I easily could have spent a good part of the day exploring the memorabilia and displays. The kids were pretty indifferent to it all, though, so we only stayed for about an hour. They did get a kick out of playing with the jukeboxes which had music by every inductee on them.

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J’s artists of choice? The Jackson 5.

Fortunately, right beside the Hall of Fame was a far more kid-friendly attraction – the Great Lakes Science Center.  The kids had a blast checking out the various exhibits and activities, while also learning a thing or two. The Sports Arena in particular was a hit.

Literally:

Don’t worry, folks. She was just fine.

Anyway, both the Science Center and the Hall of Fame are located on the waterfront. This is perfect for taking a nice walk to enjoy some scenery, or to play Pokemon Go. Whatever floats your boat.

Speaking of creatures, B and J love animals, so visits to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium were a no-brainer. The zoo is huge (183 acres) so we made sure that we were well rested, and dedicated a whole day to it.

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B insisted on wearing a Steph Curry shirt that day. It went over with the locals about as well as you would expect.

One neat thing about the zoo was that, for the most part, it was divided into themes, based on different areas of the world, which is how the animals were housed. For the record, my favourite area was The Rainforest, a big two storey indoor tropical environment.   Despite B and J’s best effort, we did not see all 3000+ animals that lived at the zoo. We did see a good chunk of them, though!

The Aquarium also went over very well with us. It was spacious, with tons of sea animals to look at. B and J did what any six and four year old children would do while there –  point out the names of random fish  (learned from the TV show The Octonauts) and go on a mission to find Dory (from the movie Finding Dory).

Meanwhile,  I  got hands-on with some stingrays and shrimp!

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Shrimpin aint easy, man.

The only other aquarium which I’ve been to is Ripley’s, in Toronto. It’s impressive, but I liked Cleveland’s better.  It had a more laidback vibe to it, plus there were a bunch of friendly, knowledgeable staff available who patiently answered my stupid questions.

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Excuse me? How many times has this tank broken and sharks fallen on people?

In terms of accommodations, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Cleveland Downtown.  This was easily the coolest hotel that I’ve ever been in. It’s located in an historic, 19th century building, so it has that old-school feeling to it. Our room was very spacious, with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and a kitchenette. What really freaked me out was how every person on staff that I saw was really nice and personable (it’s amazing what a smile and a few kind words can do for one’s perception). Being situated downtown also meant that it was within stumbling distance to places like Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, House of Blues, a casino, a bunch of bars/restaurants, a bowling alley, and Rocket Fizz (an awesome soda pop and candy shop).

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I went with the Buffalo Wing soda.

The most enjoyable part of the hotel for me, however? The evening refreshers!  #freealcohol.

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A view from our hotel room.

OK, let’s talk baseball. We arrived into Cleveland on a Tuesday. Our Jays-Indians tickets were for Friday. As you can see in the above picture, taken on Tuesday, we had a nice view of the ballpark from our hotel, and a clearly very sparsely attended game. After looking into it, I discovered that the Indians had one of the worst attendance rates in baseball. More checking discovered that tickets for the game the next night could be had for cheap. So, the next day, I got a pair for myself and B, like 15 rows up from first base, for A LOT less than what we would paid for the same seats in Toronto. We and only about 13,000 other people watched the Indians and the Chicago White Sox play an entertaining game.

This would be all fine and dandy if the Indians sucked…..but they were in first place! What’s up with that? Tribe fans, why aren’t y’all supporting a winning team? It took the Blue Jays 20+ mediocre years just to be good enough to play meaningful baseball late in the season. Don’t take winning for granted, Believeland!

Anyway, the Friday game was pretty dope. Progressive Field is a sweet stadium with a great atmosphere. They also stacked the in-game experience; that night was free fedora night, $1 hot dog night, $2 cans of beer before the game, and a rockin’ fireworks show after the game. They had a ton of giveaways between innings, too. This kept B busy – he would run down the aisles to try to catch the goodies which were being tossed out.  More than half of the  30,000+ crowd was Jays fans (and rawkus ones at that) so it felt like we were at the Rogers Centre. It was just a fun time all around, the best game that I’ve been too. Even though Toronto lost, they at least lost in a memorable way – on a walk-off, inside the park home run.

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As someone who used to roll their eyes at the thought of Cleveland, I see now how wrong I was.  It really is a cool, charming city with a lot going for it, especially downtown. We spent four days in the 216, and there was still stuff which we wanted to see, but didn’t. Whether you’re a sports fan in the GTA like me, or are just looking for somewhere fun and different to go to for a weekend, why not make the road trip to Cleveland?

 

The Shot

I’m a real sucker for “dad” moments in sports.

You know, those heartwarming incidents that happen during a game or event, which really highlight the love between a father and their children.

From Jeff Hornacek wiping his face during free throw attempts as a way to secretly say hi to his kids, to the dude who saved his son’s head from a flying bat, to Derek Redmond’s pops jumping out of the stands to help him finish an Olympic race,  to (my personal fav) John McDonald fulfilling a promise he made to his dying dad by hitting a home run on Father’s Day, stuff like this really gets to me.

And to these iconic moments, I’ll add one of my own, one which will forever be known (in our house anyway) as The Shot.

It occurred during  three-pitch softball recently, where B had come with me to my game. Despite it being a fun, recreational co-ed league, there are a ton of people in it who can flat out crush the ball. Yours truly, however, is not one of them. Possessing shallow outfield pop-fly power, I am the most slap-single happy guy in the whole league.

While effective, this isn’t exactly sexy.  Other kids at games cheer their dads on to “hit a homer!” Meanwhile, B gets to watch his old man leg out infield grounders. As a result, B’s taken to the sluggers on our team, and roots for them more than me, because, well, dingers!

Glad you find that funny, Bryce Harper

Glad you find that funny, Bryce Harper.

Which brings me to The Shot.

 

B had been having a blast playing ball boy that day. When a foul ball was hit, he would run to retrieve it, and throw it back on the field.

As I was waiting on deck, for my turn to bat, B came over to me and said “Daddy? I’m going to go over there (he pointed to the backstop, behind home plate). Can you hit a foul ball to me?”

Now, besides having no power, I should mention that I also have no aim. I’ve never picked a spot and hit a ball to it. I’d have just as little a chance of perfectly fouling off a pitch as I would of hitting a home run.

So of course I told B that I would hit a ball to him!

As he excitedly ran off to the backstop, it dawned on me what a bad idea this potentially was. I would only have two chances to perfectly foul off a pitch (I couldn’t get out by wasting the third pitch). On top of that, there was a decent crowd of people.  I would have to hit it in the area that B was, so he alone could retrieve the ball. I also had to hope that the ball wouldn’t injure someone, too.

Negative thoughts filled my head when I stood at the plate. I pictured me swinging, and having the ball bounce off my face, shattering my nose. As I bled profusely, B would laugh and call me a failure, and immediately seek emancipation from his loser dad. Maybe Kelly Clarkson would write a song about it.

428px-Kelly_Clarkson_Blue_Angels

Glad you find that funny, Kelly Clarkson.

Anyway, with all that on my mind, the pitcher threw the ball.

As it neared, I took an uppercut swing.

CRACK!

The ball floated up. It sailed back. Back over the backstop…..back over B……and landed and rolled safely, a good 20 feet behind him.

B happily sprinted off, scooped it and proudly threw it back onto the field.  After the game, he was more turnt up about that play, than any other hit or home run. #winning

Against all reasonable explanation, I said that I would hit a foul ball to my son, and I did it. I called my shot, forever to be known as The Shot.

Babe Ruth would be proud. Or  indifferent. Definitely indifferent.

Babe Ruth would be envious. Or  indifferent. Definitely indifferent.

 

Now truth be told, B’s probably forgotten about this little play, and I’m the only one who still thinks it was awesome .

That’s cool, though.

You see, in baseball and in parenting, we can’t all be home run hitters.  All we can do is try our best. Sometimes we’ll strike out. Sometimes we’ll hit a single. Sometimes, we’ll knock one out of the park.

And sometimes, on that rare occasion, a foul ball will be just as good as a homer.

SAYNG

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