I have always been a very proud Canadian, especially due to the fact that my birthday falls on Canada Day, July 1st our National holiday. The running joke in my family was always about all the fireworks and celebrations all for little ol me. There is something very cool about always having fireworks to celebrate your birthday. My favorite may have been my 39th or 40th birthday when I was still living on Autumnleaf Cres in Mississauga, as we backed right onto a park with tennis courts, soccer fields, and a playground. That year some local fireworks companies pooled their resources and did a rather amazing fireworks display that we were able to watch from the comfort of our deck.
This past year Canada was celebrating its 150th birthday, I was celebrating my 45th birthday and with the Summer of George mentality still going strong something extra special needed to be done. (Side Note: I am currently watching this game I PVR’d back in July for the 1st time).
Most years the Toronto Blue Jays play a home game on Canada Day and as a big of a baseball fan that I am, I’ve never actually been to that game. Well this year was the year that I was going to go, and if I was going it was going to be in style. There is sitting in the front row and then there is sitting right on the field. I think you can guess where I was going to be sitting, I cannot with a clean conscience ever tell anyone how much those tickets cost but it was worth every penny.
I decided to take my oldest daughter Emily with me, as she has been through one tough year herself. My hope was that we would be able to reconnect during the afternoon and I could share my appreciation and knowledge of baseball with her. I also had an longshot goal of acquiring foul ball number three that afternoon.
Toronto was playing division rival Boston Red Sox and strikeout machine Chris Sale was pitching for the enemy. Final score of the game was Boston 15, Toronto 1 not even close… but that was just fine with me. I had so much fun that afternoon with everything else going on around me, most of all spending the afternoon with Emily. And yes we even got our foul ball # 3 not for lack of trying.
Early in the game Xander Bogaerts who plays for Boston and was a player on my fantasy team this year (I am a big fan of fantasy baseball) hit a grounder right off the wall, at the time I was busy eating a hot dog and totally unprepared to catch the ball as it rolled down the line foul into the outfield. I immediately thought well there goes my chance for the day… later in the game Bogaerts was up again and hit another screamer down the line in the exact same spot, and this time I was ready.
With catlike reflexes and glove in hand I dove from my seat up and almost over the railing to nimbly snag the hot shot grounder screaming down the line. Great story eh? Well that’s not quite what happened… I actually dove a little too intensely and landing promptly on the field of play and had to scramble back to my seat. Security doesn’t mess around with fans on the field and I was promptly ejected from the park for my error! Well that didn’t quite happen either, but would have also made for a great story.
What actually happened was I made a swipe at the ball, felt it bounce off the tip of my glove and rolled down the line into the outfield. I had my chance, I had two of them in fact but I didn’t come up with either ball. I ended up being the recipient of a foul ball courtesy of the kind elderly lady who handed it to my daughter after it had been tossed to her from former Blue Jays manager John Butterfield, now a third base coach for Boston and actually talked to and interacted with the fans quite a bit. Twice in fact tossing balls to the fans in the general area where we were sitting, the first time he came back after a half inning break and handed the ball personally to a young fan sitting right behind us.
End of day, mission accomplished and everyone left happy despite the Blue Jays getting blown out of the place.
This was a great way to spend my birthday, and I know I most likely won’t ever get the chance to sit in these seats again so I made sure to enjoy every second of it. The company was also great and may just have been the start of Emily and I’s improved relationship. I hope that she appreciated the events going on around her that day as I know I did. I have seen some magical things happen at the Skydome over the years, today ranked right up on my list of favorites.