Tagged: Rogers Centre

Toronto Blue Jays – May 20

A day after my first game of the season in Toronto, I was set for game #2. This time, the opponent would be the Astros in both teams’ first interleague game of the season.

I bought a ticket in the 100 Level of the outfield of Rogers Centre:

And lined up first to get in. I was first in line:

When the gates opened 40 minutes later, I once again rushed to look for BP balls, but there were none to be found today. At the conclusion of BP, I took a tour around to look at the Jays team shop:

Then, grabbed the usual Quaker Steak & Lube basket of wings. They’re overpriced at $11 (what isn’t in Toronto?) but they’re delicious. You get 10 wings and seven of my 10 were drummettes, so there was lots to eat:

Meanwhile, Jo-Jo Reyes was in pursuit of his first win since 2008, and was pitching well:

He left with a lead, but Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco each laid eggs in relief, and the Jays managed to lose against one of the worst teams in baseball. Ugh.

Though the game ended on a low note, there was nothing that could dampen my excitement. In the morning, I would get up and drive to Lansing, MI, to watch the Jays A-ball team, the Lansing Lugnuts.

Check back soon to read about that adventure.

Look what I just received

A couple days ago, I went to the mailbox and saw a nondescript envelope addressed to me. I got the impression it was some sort of junk mail wanting me to sign up for a credit card, but I opened it anyway.

Instead of junk, it was this:

Awesome! I usually buy tickets at the box office before the game, but since there’s no shipping charge for tickets bought online, I figured I’d give myself a fun day at the mailbox.

This ticket goes well with this one, which arrived a few days earlier:

I bought low-end tickets for both games, and I’ll see how easy it is to move from section to section. I know what the ushers are like at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, but I’ve heard Detroit’s ushers at Comerica Park aren’t too bothersome. So, if I need a more expensive ticket, I’ll buy it for my second game in each city.

Toronto Blue Jays – August 11, 2010

A day after our first visit of the season to Toronto, we took the train to Rogers Centre for a second straight game against the Red Sox. Once again, we were visiting to take notes and photos for my website.

Toronto’s traffic is ridiculous, but getting to Rogers Centre is pretty easy if you use public transportation. We took the GO Train from the suburbs again, and it couldn’t be easier. You get off the train at the downtown Union Station, which is at the foot of the CN Tower and a couple minutes’ walk from the stadium. Here’s the view when you come out of the Union Station walkway:
That’s the stadium, the foot of the tower and a little garden area.
Today, we bought 500 Level tickets for $14 each, which is a bit expensive considering how far you are from the action. Like many MLB teams, Toronto jacks up its prices for “premium” games, which mean you pay more when a good team is in town. Once we entered the stadium, we saw the batting practice screens were up again, so I’d renew my attempt to get a BP ball. My wife, as you can read here, got one ball in our first Jays game and I was shut out.
Though she got her ball in the 100 Level above Toronto’s left field bullpen, there was a lot more action in the left field corner, so we headed there early enough that the stadium’s fanatic guards weren’t deterring people from entering the good sections. I managed to secure a spot along the fence and patiently began waiting for balls to come my way:
My wife retreated about a dozen rows up into the second to avoid balls coming her way. When a line drive flew into her general area, she retreated up a few more rows. Before long, a roller came toward me and stopped pretty much below where I was standing. It was a few feet away from the wall, so I had to precariously hang my entire body below the wall and strettttcccchhhh until I could roll the ball toward me with my outstretched middle finger. Finally, I got it into my hand … ball #1!
A minute later, another line drive flew toward my wife, who quickly closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands. It bounced off a seat near her, and as three or four male ballhawks dove to the ground at her feet, she calmly bent down and emerged with her second ball of the series! We didn’t have long to celebrate, as a couple batters later, a screamer flew into our section, bounced off a seat and flew back toward the field. Somehow, I managed to barehand it, giving me my second ball. BP ended soon afterward, and we finished with four balls between us in two games!
Before we left the section in the left field corner, we noticed a total seating fail. Imagine buying a ticket for this seat?
We toured the concourse a bit, then began the long climb up to the 500 Level. Unlike Cleveland, which has steps, Rogers Centre is one ramp after another. Are they are dark and dreary as they appear below? Yes:
Once we climbed into our nosebleed seats, I took my first in-stadium ticket shot:
Below is a look at the different styles of seats behind home plate. From left to right (in other words, from closest to farthest from the plate) you’ve got plush red seats, then blue padded backs and seats, then non-padded plastic seats. The dark blue seats in the second deck have foam seats, but don’t have padded seat backs:
Rogers Centre’s upper deck is railing hell:
It’s also dizzyingly high:
But it’s got a nice view, as evidenced by this panorama:
From our seats, we could see the TV broadcast booth. That’s former Jay Pat Tabler and former Jay Buck Martinez:
Because Rogers Centre suffers from poor attendance, a lot of the upper deck is closed to fans. You can still wander around the concourse, but it’s pretty much a ghost town:
I did, however, sneak close enough to the Jumbotron to be able to spy on the rich people watching in their private dining area:
Here’s a panorama from about as close to dead center as I could get:
Remember yesterday’s entry and the mention about the amazing nachos we saw advertised? Here they are in all their glory:
We went back down to the 100 Level to buy the nachos and decided to watch the rest of the game from down there. The ushers won’t let you near any of the sections, yet there are empty chairs along the rail directly behind each section, so we pulled up two chairs and watched the rest of the game from here:
The photo doesn’t do the view justice; it wasn’t bad at all, and you could stretch your legs.
As for the game? Total snoozefest. The Red Sox won 10-1, led by Bill Hall’s two home runs. The conclusion of this game concluded our six-day, six-game roadtrip. Visit my website to read guides to every stadium I’ve visited thus far. They’re not all there just yet, but they soon will be!
Two more 2010 games left to recap … AA New Hampshire and A- Tri-City. Check back soon for details about my exciting visits to each of those ballparks.

Toronto Blue Jays – August 10, 2010

On the night of August 9, 2010, my wife and I arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house in the Toronto suburbs after driving straight from Niles, Ohio after watching the Mahoning Valley Scrappers game. We had a great time at Eastwood Field, compiling photos and notes for my website The Ballpark Guide. Here’s the Eastwood Field/Scrappers page on my site.

On this day, the Jays were hosting the Boston Red Sox and I’d bought 100 Level tickets online in advance. We took the commuter train from the suburbs to downtown, made a beeline for the ticket office’s will call window and picked up our tickets.
After horribly forgetting to take a ticket/stadium shot in my first game at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, I made sure to get my trademark shot right away:
That out of the way, I snapped a few photos of Rogers Centre, the ballpark I know best. I’ve been here dozens and dozens of times since it opened in 1989, but every time I visit is just as exciting as the first. Here are a couple photos:
Once the gates opened, we went to our seats, which were directly over the Jays bullpen in right field. Batting practice was on:
I was determined to get my first Major League Baseball from a Big League BP. Here’s an artsy photo my wife took of me watching the proceedings:
Halfway through BP, not a single ball had entered my section, despite my intense watching skills:
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my wife catch the eye of an usher and point at a ball below our section. Without hesitation, he grabbed it and tossed it up to her … and she promptly misplayed it, causing the ball to roll out of the section and back down behind the bullpen. Somehow, he decided to go get it for her again, tossed it up and she caught it! I was down 1-0 to my wife who, if she had her druthers, would prefer that all projectiles steer clear of her.
BP wrapped up a few minutes later, so it was time to take a stroll around the stadium before the game begun.
Rogers Centre is a great facility, but the concession prices are ridiculous. So too are the product names — the food vendors love adding special names to common ballpark food to make it appear exotic. An “Italian” sausage is a brown-tinted hot dog.
A burger for $11:
A dry piece of cardboard pizza for $5.25? Ugh. Give me Minor League Baseball’s $2.50-everything menu any day.
The one exception we found, however, we a new attraction: The Roundhouse Carvery & Bar. Here, they’ve got actual chef types slicing actual meat. It’s basically meat on a bun, but the quality looked deli-style and pretty good for stadium food. And for $10, I’d much rather have this than another burger:
Equally good looking was the Muddy York stand, which offered loaded nachos for $8.50. By loaded, I’m talking about BBQ smoked pork, cheese, baked beans, corn salsa, sour cream, green unions and jalapenos … and this feast cost $2 more than the standard yellow corn chips and yellower “cheese sauce.” (More on these nachos in my second entry about Toronto … at this point, we were touring around and not eating just yet.)
As we walked around the circular concourse, I couldn’t help but take a photo of one of my favorite sights:
And a few other pics, including this panorama:
By now, we’d circuited the entire stadium and made our way back to the rear of section 130, where our seats were. Near here, I have to mention, is the famous Quaker Steak & Lube concession stand, which serves outstanding wings. A basket is $10, and a big bucket is $21 (yikes), but they’re worth it. You can get a handful of flavors and they’re better than the average sports bar wing:
We each got a single order of wings (I somehow neglected to take a photo) and headed to our seats for the start of the game. Before getting there, I took an awkward-angle shot to show our seats, which were roughly in front of the orange Pizza Pizza banner:
Then the game begun. As you can see, the attendance wasn’t bad on this night. It’s typically pretty good for games against the Red Sox and Yankees:
From our seats, we had a great view of the Jays dugout. That’s Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp and Brian Tallet:
After a couple innings, we took our usual stroll to watch the game from different angles. From the top of the 100 Level along the third base side, I got this picture of David Ortiz:
Behind him is J.P. Arencibia, one of my favorite Jays prospects for a long time and the guy who should be Toronto’s Opening Day catcher in 2011.
I took the photos to make up this third base-side panorama later that same inning:
And here’s a close-up of Toronto starter Ricky Romero:
Here are a couple panoramas from behind home plate:
Granted, I haven’t been in many MLB stadiums, but I’ve been in a ton of NHL and NFL facilities, and the Rogers Centre “ushers” are fanatical. Now, I’m a Jays fan and always will be, but it’s ridiculous. Of course, if I have a 100 Level seat, I don’t want someone else sitting in it. But if it were the bottom of the ninth, and there were 5,000 fans left in the ballpark, the ushers still wouldn’t let someone move to the 100 Level. I wanted to get the shots for a panorama from the third base side, so I walked past the usher to stand in the aisle and take some photos. No big deal; no one was trying to get past me and I wasn’t taking anyone’s seat. And he freaked. I told him I just wanted to take a couple photos and then I’d be gone. “No. I can’t let you do that,” he said. My response? “Well, I’m going to take some photos either way, and if you want to forcibly remove me, go for it.” And he just stood there looking frazzled. I’ll end the rant here, but it wouldn’t hurt Toronto’s military-wannabe staff to take a chill pill.
Here’s a panorama from the first base line:
After taking this, we headed to one of my favorite sections in the outfield, just to the left field-side of the batter’s eye. As much as I love sitting at the stadium, I don’t like crowds around me. So here’s a trick: If you buy a 100 Level seat, the ushers allow you to move elsewhere in the 100s, as long as the new seat is the same price as the old one. The section to the left of the batter’s eye rarely has people in it, so I often go sit in the middle of it where I can watch the game in peace. The view here is pretty good:
You can also keep an eye on the bullpen: (That’s Scott Downs looking at me.)
Before the start of an inning, I snapped this photo of outfielders Fred Lewis, Jose Bautista and Travis Snider watching something on the scoreboard:
As for the game? Toronto lost 7-5, but got home runs from Adam Lind, Snider and Bautista.
After the game, we took the train back to the ‘burbs and I counted down the hours until the next night’s game, which would be Clay Buchholz against Shaun Marcum.