Monday, July 04, 2011


Hunter's First Blue Jay Game

The man sitting behind us in Section 115 wore a T shirt with the words “I’m not dead yet” emblazoned across his chest. I had to comment on the shirt. He accepted my admiration graciously. I told him that the little fellow sitting with us was our grandson, at his first Blue Jay game. He introduced me to his grandson, who would be about ten years old. “I remember my first Jays’ game,” the young lad added.

It was still about half an hour before the first pitch. We sat in the blazing sun, but Hunter was unfazed by the heat. He drank in the whole experience, as kids do. And he consumed great amounts of liquid as well: Coke, lemonade, Seven Up, plain old water. He also put away a baseball park hot dog before the anthems. He was ready.

He can smack a decent hit off a T Ball stand, and he did take his glove to the game. Other than that, he has had little experience with baseball. I pointed things out to him, to little avail. By the end of the game, I think he ended up with a pretty fair taste of the exercise.

Hunter is four. That means that his care givers in charge on that occasion had to react quickly to his request to use the facilities-four or five times before the seventh inning. I remember taking my own children to Exhibition Stadium for several games when the Jays played there. I remember the trips to the washroom. I always wanted to try the catheter with them. It seemed to make good sense. Verboten, said my wife.

Jo Jo Reyes had pitched adequately for the Jays, trying to salvage a win against the mighty Phillies. They had taken the previous two games against the Jays, and had Cliff Lee on the mound. He had chalked up many scoreless innings, and was most stingy at the beginning of the game. The Phillies put a few runs on the board, and looked like they might sweep the Jays. As is usually the case with popular northern teams, like the Yankees and the Red Sox, there were as many Philly fans as there were Jays fans at the park-all told, about 26 000.

I knew that one of the keys to a successful day with Hunter would be to keep him on the move. We circumnavigated the entire park on the 100 level in the fourth inning. He got to sample 3D television, and enjoyed the ocean scenes more than the soccer. Quite understandable. He sent a message via the internet to his mother. He was rewarded with a Jose Bautista poster for his effort.

He explained to the Sportsnet girl that he had broken his arm when he fell off the monkey bars at school, on the last day. He will be on the “DL” for eight weeks. All recorded for posterity. He did not explain the stitches on his forehead. Those came during the street dance in Wellington. That is my guilt trip. I was in charge.

We moved to shaded seats directly behind the Jays’ bullpen in left field after the fifth inning. One of the smartest decisions I have made in my life. He consumed another beverage, made a couple more trips to you know where. He also became fascinated by the catcher’s gear. He has decided to play goal in the winter, and be a catcher in the summer.

Octavio Dotel was warming up in the bullpen. I always enjoy watching that activity. The ball really smacks the catcher’s mitt. It’s intimate. It grabbed Hunter’s attention, for a few seconds.

In the eighth inning, the Jays unloaded on the Phillies. Thames smacked his third homer in the last five games. Bautista lashed his twenty-seventh of the year. Lind singled, and Encarnacion drove him home with another home run. It was electric. Hunter gave high fives to everyone nearby. He wiggled when they played “YMCA”. He told us that the big kids at school dance to that song. He added, “The big kids in Grade Three”.

Dotel shut the door on the Phillies in the ninth inning to preserve the win.

Hunter was fast asleep when we hit the Don Valley Parkway. I think it was a successful day.

James Hurst
July 4, 2011

I enjoyed reading this blog about your grandson's ballpark visit. I am also looking forward to taking my kids to their first game (maybe next year) Jeff
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?