Tag Archive | "Opening Day"

Opening Day in Toronto

Recently I got the chance to travel back to the States after two years in South Korea. My timing of my trip just happened to coincide with Opening Day in Toronto. So with a stopover in Canada, I hit up Opening Day at my third ballpark, Texas and Atlanta being the others.

First of all, Toronto seems to be a really nice city. I was only there for two nights and one of them I got in late, so I really only had a day to visit the city. I took to walking around the city on the one full day I had, and really enjoyed it.

The weather was cold and there were even some snow flurries later in the day. But that didn’t stop me from getting out to see a little bit of the city. I stayed downtown near Chinatown, but coming from Asia I had no interest checking that part of town out. Instead, I headed toward Skydome (yes I know it is called Rogers Centre, but forgive me because it will always be Skydome to me).

One of the coolest things I saw was CN Tower which sits next door to Rogers Centre, and I decided to head up early in the morning. It was a beautiful morning and walking up to the Tower I was able to snap this shot showing the blue sky.

CN Tower - Toronto

CN Tower – Toronto

The view from CN Tower is great. Not only do you get the views of the city, but you also get views of Lake Ontario. With the weather being cold, the dome was closed. But if you go on a day when the roof is open, you could look down on the field. Here are a few shots from the Tower.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto, Canada

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

View of Toronto from CN Tower

Toronto from CN Tower

Toronto from CN Tower

The city was a buzz with anticipation for the Blue Jays new season. With all the new faces the team is one of the favorites to make the playoffs. Everyone was decked out in Jays gear waiting in line to enter the game early. They would face off with the Cleveland Indians on a Tuesday night.

On the hill for Toronto was the 2012 N.L. Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. However, it wasn’t a good night for Blue Jays fans as Dickey gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings taking the loss. He was out pitched by Justin Masterson.

The game for the most part, wasn’t too exciting. The fans were quick to turn on JP Arencibia after he had a few passed balls on Dickey knuckleballs.

I did enjoy the stadium though. I sat up top because it was cheaper, but the seats were still okay. I watched part of the game from the first level just standing behind the rail.

Food options in the upper levels were slim pickings as far as good food goes. They have the usual affair like hot dogs, but what I didn’t like was that they took the cap from me off of my coke bottle. I’m sorry but if you are worried about people throwing bottles don’t sell them!

There were a lot of good food options on the first level with a wide variety of things to choose from. You are able to move from level to level through the dark ramps that lead up and down. So if you are sitting up top and want to get some food from the lower levels you can.

Here are a few shots I took.

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

Rogers Centre - Toronto

Rogers Centre – Toronto

View from my seat at Rogers Centre

View from my seat at Rogers Centre

Opening Day Rogers Centre - Toronto

Opening Day Rogers Centre – Toronto

Opening Day Rogers Centre - Toronto

Opening Day Rogers Centre – Toronto

Geddy Lee throwing out First Pitch

Geddy Lee throwing out First Pitch

First Pitch - Opening Day - Toronto

First Pitch – Opening Day – Toronto

I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and hope to be back at some point to see more of Toronto and maybe check out a game when the roof is open at Skydome.

Posted in MLB, TravelComments (2)

Quick Thoughts on the World Baseball Classic

Opening Day is nearing and it’s already been a busy spring with baseball. The World Baseball Classic was one of the best tournaments I’ve ever seen. There was so much drama and excitement that it made for great baseball.

Some quick WBC thoughts:

First of all, I couldn’t have been more excited to see how well the Netherlands and Italy did. I love seeing the underdogs win, and I really want to see baseball in Europe continue to grow. I know there is so much potential there.

On the flip side, I was a little disappointed with how the USA played. They seemed uninspired for the most part. I’m not sure why, but something needs to change for the US to finally win one of these.

Speaking of winners, there has never been a team that dominated the entire tournament like the Dominican did. They were easily the best team and it was nice to see a new team take home the title. They won with a dominate bullpen and it was fun to watch.

I was equally excited to see Puerto Rico make the finals. They often get forgotten when people talk about Caribbean baseball, but they showed their talent this year.

I already can’t wait for the 2017 edition of the tournament. The banter before it comes around with all the speculation of where it could be played will be fun.

I haven’t been blogging as much here because I’ve been so busy at BaseballdeWorld.com. I will have some baseball travels coming up soon that I will write about here though, including Opening Day.

I have one week left in Korea and then I am off back to the States. On my way back I am stopping over in Toronto to catch the Blue Jays Opening Day game against the Cleveland Indians. I’m excited because it’s my first time in Toronto.

After that I’ll be catching a game here or there in and around Nashville hopefully to include my first Sounds game.

So in a week I’ll be in Toronto and will write about it then.

We are nearing Opening Day!!!

Posted in MLBComments (0)

Opening Day Memories

Opening Day is romantic, rejuvenating, sentimental, fun, and exciting all rolled in one and to me it should be a national holiday. Baseball is a reminder that spring is here and things are starting a new. For many teams it is the only time of year that many teams have a glimmer of hope.

When I was back in the States working I would use a vacation day to take the day off and either attend a game or sit at home and watch baseball all day long. But with all the good memories come some not so great ones as well.

First, let me take a look at some of the better memories.

I can remember several times waking up early in the morning to catch the first pitch of the season coming from somewhere overseas like Japan. In 2008, the Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox started the season out in Japan and I was up at 3am (or whatever time it was in the US) to watch those games. Some may call me crazy or say that I am hardcore, but I love it.

Several times I was able to attend Opening Day at the Ballpark in Arlington (dubbed the “Temple” by the guys from Sports Radio 1310 in Dallas). Each time I made it the weather was gorgeous, the fans were lively, and the games were great no matter who won. I love seeing pomp and circumstance around the first game. The pagentry of seeing the anthem being sung by a star sometimes (saw Jessica Simpson sing it before I knew who she was), seeing the giant flag out on the field and either jets/bombers flying over the stadium or the bald eagle flying to home plate. With it all wrapped up in one, it makes for such a great experience.

If I couldn’t make it to a game, my routine would be gathering some “baseball” food such as hot dogs, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and a cold beverage to sit down on the couch and watch as many games as possible. ESPN always did a great job of showing multiple games throughout the day. Then the Holy Grail came along in MLB Extra Innings which used to (don’t know if they still do it) give a free preview for a week.

Missing the first pitch of the season is not something I like to do, but sometimes it happens. This year I just arrived back in South Korea and was a little jet lagged still from the 30 hour trip out here. The first game of the year started about 2am here locally, and I was simply unable to stay up and watch it. It was a little frustrating, but it just wasn’t going to happen. It looks like I will miss the Rangers first game as well on Friday because I don’t have internet in my apartment yet. Again, it is a little frustrating but once things get rolling here again I will be able to watch a lot of baseball since the night games back home come on here in the morning before I go to work.

I seem to have little luck in watching my favorite team play on Opening Day, the Atlanta Braves. This year was jet-lag. Last year I was again in South Korea, but I was up and ready to watch the game only to have MLB.tv not work. That was VERY frustrating. I was up early in the morning and the game was not being shown due to technical difficulties. But this wasn’t the only time I had issues. In 2009, I got the chance to go to Atlanta to see the opening game. I couldn’t have been more excited. For the previous 20+ years I had rooted for the Braves good or bad, but it was always from afar. Being able to attend the festivities was going to be amazing for me. The only problem was nobody told mother nature how excited I was.

The game went into a rain delay as it stormed quite hard. The game was halted and my friend and I went home to watch the game on TV only to have the game to go into extra innings. The Braves did win, I did have a good time, but it wasn’t what I had expected for my first Opening Day in Atlanta. I hope to go back one day to see it once again.

Overall, Opening Day is one of the best days for me, but it really is only the beginning of my favorite part of the year – baseball season. After today there is another 182 days of what I like to refer to as “summer greatness”. Then it gets even better with all the greatness that comes with the fall season and the Fall Classic.

So no matter who you root for, today is a day to renew your love of the game, have faith in your team, and have a little hope that your team will see the light of day in October.

I’d love to hear any stories you have of Opening Day’s from the past.

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Posted in MLBComments (3)

Opening Day Disappointment

When I first got to South Korea I was very excited to find out that a 7 pm MLB game back home would be a late morning start here.  I thought this was great.  I don’t go to work till 2pm, so that would mean I could catch a game before work.  After doing a little digging, it turns out that South Korea is one of 3 countries where live games on mlb.tv are blacked out until 90 minutes after the game ends.  Okay so that means I just have to stay off the baseball sites during work and watch a game after work.  I am usually up until 3 or 4am anyway.

Well this all started well last night.  After work on Monday, I picked up some dinner and came home to catch the Red Sox/Yankees game.  It was nice to see the opening game and even nicer to see the Yankees lose.  It’s always a good day when the Yankees are in last place, even if it is after only 1 game.  It was a good game too.  The Yankees start of strong but the Red Sox come back late to take game 1.

With many of the games played on Monday during the day, it meant I could catch a game before work on Tuesday since they would finish in time for me to watch the archived game.  I was excited this morning when my alarm went off.  I knew I would soon be watching the Braves game, but that was not to be.  Opening day is a big deal to me.  I am like a kid at Christmas.  I used to take the day off every year so I could either go to the Rangers game, or watch as much as I could on TV.  They should not only get rid of the DH, but they should also make Opening Day a national holiday.

So, I get up this morning ready to watch the Braves start the season off.  This is the best I have felt about the team in years.  I really think they can compete for a playoff spot, and they have the chance to do some damage once they get there.  My excitement was quickly foiled.  MLB.tv is down this morning.  Nobody is able to watch live or archived games.  Meaning thousands of fans overseas and at home cannot watch games like they planned.  Of all the days not to have the site working, Opening Day has to be the worst.

I am still holding off to watch the Braves game till after work tonight.  I broke down and saw the Ranger highlights and that looked like a great game.  The Rangers were no-hit for 6 1/3 innings and then pulled off a 9th inning comeback to win the game with a bases loaded walk off single from Salty.  That’s a great way to start the year off.  I hope they continue winning and make their way into the playoffs for the first time since in over a decade.

Get your act together MLB.tv.  I am really going to be hot if I get home from work in 9+ hours and still can’t watch the Braves game.  The hardest part will be going the 9+ hours without seeing the score.

Posted in MLBComments (0)

First Game of 2010

I am sitting on a bus with an older man standing behind me, and all I can think about is how bad he needs a shower.  This was not the way I wanted to start such an important day.

I get up at 11 am and immediately check to see if my camera batteries are charged.  I hear the day going by outside my window, but all I can think about is a hot shower.  I need to get moving because today is a big day.  It’s the first weekend of baseball, and today I am going to see my first game for the year.  First things first though, I look for breakfast.

I head for the bus stop after I stop at Dunkin Donuts for my customary weekend blueberry bagel.  I have my iPod blaring some Jimmy Buffett, and I wait for the bus to take me to the park for the days festivities.  I have been looking forward to this for a few months now, and the excitement continues to build.

As I make the 30 minute trip downtown to the stadium, I can’t help but notice the smell of the gentleman behind me.  I tune it out as best I can.  The anticipation of seeing my first Korean baseball game overrides even the bad B.O. that waifs through the bus.  I arrive near the stadium, and I walk toward the park so giddy I feel like I am skipping.  A young boy walks up next to me and smiles.  I ask him if he likes baseball, and he just smiles.  I doubt he speaks any English.  Today I feel like I am a little boy again going to his first game.  I walk along the road with the sun beating down on my neck, and I can’t help but think about how far I have come in a year.

I remember arriving at the ballpark hoping and praying the rain would stay away.  The weather was not looking good for baseball that day.  I was very excited about finally getting to see Opening Day in Atlanta, home of the Braves.  The weather held off for several hours, and our seats were just under the edge of the overhang in the upper deck.  So there was a slight chance that even with some rain, we might not get too wet.

As the game wore on, the weather slowly turned.  A light rain began to fall, but in the distance the black sky was moving closer.  Then suddenly the sky opened and the downpour began.  Everyone started running for cover as the rain got harder.  We made our way down underneath the stands and started walking around getting a better look at Turner Field. I was a little saddened that I had finally made it to Opening Day in Atlanta, only to have it storm.  The game was postponed in the 4th inning, and would be for just over 2 hours.  By the time they resumed play, my friends and I had made it back to the house to finish watching the Braves win in extra innings on TV.

Today there is no TV, just a beautiful spring day.  We watch the game from behind a section down the right field line, and I boo and cheer with every crack of the bat.  Spring is a beautiful time of year.  It’s a time of rebirth, and a time for baseball.  I realize today that while I am still a stranger in a strange land, for a  few hours we are all cheering for the same team.  I feel the game of baseball brings me a little bit closer to the Koreans I am cheering with.  We may cheer in a foreign language to the other, but I have a feeling we are saying the same things.  A home run is hit, and I give a little nod to a man nearby.  Baseball helps bridge our language gap for this one day.  I really enjoy the experience of today as I walk away from the park.  Thomas and I call over a cab.  It carries us toward our dinner destination, and I can’t help but think of where I might be next year on Opening Day.

Posted in MLB, KBOComments (2)

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There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971


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