Game 28: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
Oakland Athletics vs Toronto Blue Jays – Friday, August 9, 2o13
On Thursday morning, we enjoyed breakfast with Jim and Janice, bid our goodbyes to them, and got on the road to head north. Along the way, we stopped briefly at the American side of Niagara Falls to view the famous natural wonder, and went to the Hard Rock Café there to get something to drink. We took plenty of pictures as well. We then crossed the border and checked into a hotel around 7 PM on the Canadian side of the Falls. Afterward, we went for a stroll along the walkway by the water that has spectacular, full frontal views of both the Niagara and Horseshoe Falls. The evening was beautiful and the views were incredible. We took pictures of the scenery and the “Maid of the Mist” boats that take poncho-covered customers up close to the Falls. We also had a great view of the Skylon tower and it reminded us of the Space Needle that we saw last week in Seattle. We finally made our way up Clifton Hill and took in the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” museum before going to another Hard Rock Café, this time for dinner. Later, we retraced our steps to the hotel and saw the Falls and Skylon Tower by night. They were beautifully lit up.
The next morning we checked out of the hotel after breakfast, left our luggage with them, and walked back by the Falls to the tourist trap that is Clifton Hill Street. We visited the Guinness World Records Museum and the Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Around noon, we retrieved our bags from the hotel and got back on the road again, on our way to Toronto.
After a drive that took us just under two hours, we arrived in Toronto around 3 PM and checked into a hotel downtown. We then walked over to Toronto’s edition of the Hard Rock Café for a late lunch and made our way on foot to the ballpark. It was a pleasant walk on a beautiful day and the city looked awesome. By the time we got to Rogers Centre, we had over an hour before game time. We also had a nice view of Toronto’s famous CN (Canadian National) Tower that is right next to the ballpark.
We walked around Rogers Centre and took pictures before going in. The ballpark has a retractable roof that was left open given the pleasant evening. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a high-energy, live rock concert in the courtyard that was performed onstage by a band wearing Blue Jays gear! They were really good. As we still had plenty of time, we strolled around the main concourse, bought a Jays cap and ball, and went into the team store that also housed a Blue Jays museum of sorts. Sunday being “Canada Baseball Day,” there were a lot of festivities on tap this weekend. The two back-to-back World Series Trophies that the Blue Jays won in 1992 and 1993 were on display as were memorabilia of former Blue Jays stars. There was also a section on Canadian-born baseball players (e.g. Joey Votto, Larry Walker, and others). We even had time to walk around the concourse on the second level before going back down to our seats that were just behind and to the right of home plate. The view of the action and players was outstanding! Right behind us, we could see the CN tower rising above the ballpark. There was not much of a crowd, however, and the attendance reflected what has been a tough season for the Blue Jays.
The game itself was kind of weird. Starting for the home team was Esmil Rogers whom the Blue Jays acquired last off-season in a trade with the Indians. We were somewhat surprised to see Rogers start because he was a reliever with the Indians. We found out later that the Jays rotation woes created an opportunity for Rogers, but his performance has been uneven. In this game, he got rocked! Even before the fans had a chance to settle into their seats, the A’s pounded out four runs, four batters into the game, thanks to two back-to-back homers. Rogers gave up a lead-off hit to Coco Crisp and then issued a walk to Eric Sogard. The next batter, Jed Lowrie, crushed a 93 mph fastball over the right field to put the A’s up 3-0. Then Yoenis Cespedes, who won the Home Run Derby this year, launched the very first pitch he saw, a 95 mph heater, to left for a solo shot to make it 4-0. The onslaught continued in the second as Rogers coughed up two more. After Seth Smith doubled and Stephen Vogt walked, Rogers balked to advance Smith to third and Vogt to second. Crisp then hit an RBI single to right that scored Smith and pushed Vogt to third. That was followed by a strange play. Sogard hit a fly ball to Jose Bautista in right deep enough to score Vogt. Bautista caught the ball and fired to first base to get Crisp, who had left base and couldn’t get back in time. It was an inning-ending double play but the run, which was plated before Crisp was out, counted. Interesting! The A’s were now up 6-0. The home team tried to make a game of it in the bottom of the second. Colby Rasmus walked and scored on a double to left by Brett Lawrie to make it 6-1. Then Lawrie scored on a single to center by Emilio Bonificio. Bonificio promptly stole second on a close play and came home on a Jose Reyes double to right. It was now 6-3 and it looked like a battle was on. It wasn’t. The A’s were relentless thanks to Josh Reddick, who put on quite a show. With two outs in the third, Reddick hit a solo shot to right to make it 7-3 for the A’s. Rogers was lifted after the third inning, but there was no relief on this night for the home team. Reddick came up to bat in the fifth, again with two outs. This time, he crushed a pitch over the left field wall for his second homer of the game. A double by Smith followed by another double by Vogt (that scored Smith) made it 9-3 A’s. The route was on, but the A’s were not done yet. Reddick, who has had a miserable season this year and came in batting barely above the Mendoza line (0.203), hit his third home run of the evening in the sixth inning, a majestic three-run shot to right! The A’s were now up 12-3. They added two more in the seventh, thanks to an RBI single to left by Lowrie that scored Crisp from second, and an RBI groundout to short by Cespedes that brought in Sogard from third. It was now 14-3. The home team tried to get something going in the eighth, but it was too little, too late. Bautista cranked a deep fly to left for his 26th homer of the season, followed by a two-run homer by Rasmus to center with Adam Lind on first. It was now 14-6 and that ended up being the final score.
So in this game, we saw seven home runs (five by the A’s and two by the Jays) with Reddick hitting three of them for 5 RBIs (he had a total of five RBIs in his previous 22 games)! Lowrie had a great night as well with four hits and four RBIs. We also saw a balk by the pitcher; two double plays including an inning-ending one that still scored a run; a stolen base; a passed ball; a shattered bat; and an error. Quite a night!
During the middle innings, the two of us (Luca and Das) walked around taking pictures from different parts of the ballpark. Rogers Centre looked great and it reminded us a little bit of Miller Park.
After the game, we walked back to our hotel and turned in right away. It was a long, but fun day, and we had to head back home the next morning.
So long! We’ll catch up with you after we get back to Waterville.