Socializing With the Birds

On Sunday Peter and I went to our first baseball game of the season, the Blue Jays against the Tampa Bay Rays. Was this going to be another ho-hum 9 innings of waiting for some action? No – because this year the Jays have upped their game. There are new team members, new rules and a newly-renovated home.

We hopped on the GO train early and joined a train load of other fans, everybody wearing their hopeful attitude and their Jays tee-shirt with the name of their favourite player on the back. One new name we noticed was Kiermaier; a recent trade, having played with the Tampa Bay Rays for the last 9 years, winning numerous awards. Right away we knew we were heading towards an afternoon of heightened rivalry. What other excitement would we find?

During the train trip the fans were busy dissecting the new baseball rules, mostly meant to speed up the game. Everyone agrees with this; 4 or 5 hours of sitting in the sun and doing “the wave” is too long for even die-hard fans. And how many $12 boxes of popcorn can you afford to eat, anyway?

One of the popular rule changes relates to a big timer, well-placed so everyone can see that the pitcher and the batter both have a limited number of seconds to step up and do their thing. No more scratching their crotch, talking into their hat, or searching for their son or daughter sitting in the bleachers. Just get up there and go for it.

After we arrived at Rogers Centre, Peter and I took the long way to our seats, wanting to explore the new amenities that had been built during the winter. The aim of the renovations is to get spectators closer to the action. In order to do this, 5,000 seats were removed and replaced by more venues for socializing, aka drinking at pub tables while you watch the game. The most popular one is called The Patio on level five. The patio aspect is accomplished with the help of a few fake plants and some round patio tables, but the view from up there is quite amazing.

The View from above

Next door to The Patio is Park Social, an area meant for families. There were little kids everywhere, climbing on the large Legos, playing the giant Connect Four game and throwing bean bags at the bean bag toss. Meanwhile the parents enjoyed a drink and the occasional glance at the baseball action down below. Everyone was happy.

The Park Social

We found expanded food choices too. For the kids at the Park Social there are grilled cheese sandwiches and flavoured shaved ice. Patio-goers can enjoy nachos and margaritas. For the fans of traditional baseball food there is the TWO-FOOT hot dog. How perfect can a menu be?

Grilled cheese

For fans who want to get Really close to the game there are 2 places, The Catch and The Landing, each one attached to a bullpen where the pitchers warm up. Home runs often land in these areas and baseball wannabes are invited to wear their baseball mitt in case they get a chance to do some real catching.

The Landing

As we settled into our seats with our loaded nachos, Peter and I looked around. The baseball feel is still there, but the experience is much more welcoming. For only $20 you can buy a General Admission ticket and wander around, taking in the tacky sculptures, admiring all the baseball memorabilia, enjoying some interesting snacks and maybe even catching a free baseball.

Tacky sculpture

Another tacky sculpture – with Peter underneath

During this year’s baseball season, go and spend some time with The Boys Of Summer.

Patio People


PS Thanks to everyone who wrote to say that the mystery bird in a recent column was a Muscovy Duck.

4 thoughts on “Socializing With the Birds

  1. Wonderful pictures, Sue.
    I appreciate baseball (though not much of a spectator of any sport)…for its psychological game and general peacefulness. And all that lore! Great film, Pride of the Yankees.


  2. Let’s hope that the new venue will spur on the Jays. We usually just watch the playoffs if the Jays are playing. Last year we had the good fortune to be invited to watch Aaron Judge hit his tying 60th home run from a box. Sadly the Jays lost but watching from a box felt very luxurious. The Patio seems to be a similar venue. Enjoy the season.


  3. Great to see the new stadium in your photos. What a glorious day to go to the game. If I remember correctly, they did not play very well. Only the beginning of the season.


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