Nachos & beer at Bloor and Christie

Nachos & beer at Bloor and Christie

July 19 was a hot and humid day in Toronto, the heatwave was supposed to have partially broken by the lightning storm that was suppose to have happened the day before. The night was clear though and the late afternoon sun shone brightly, illuminating the new concrete and glass condos that encircle the area around the Skydrome, Rogers be damned.

Michelle, Cam and I arrived late to the diamond because we’d been drinking at her house and eating Mexican food at the corner of Christie and Bloor thanks to CiTR Station Manager and one time Torontonian Brenda Grunau’s suggestion. Bellies full of deliciousness and 3 beers to the wind we made our way past the teams of scalpers that dotted the concourse from the subway to the stadium. Once we arrived, I stood in line waiting to use the automated ticketing kiosk that Michelle was occupying when a voice came from my side. Initially I assumed that the voice was trying to sell me a ticket, when in fact, it was giving me a ticket.

Stunned, I looked up at the person and then down at the ticket in my hand.


Apparently the person they were waiting for didn’t show up and I became the lucky recipient of an infield ticket, which was a huge upgrade from the nosebleed seat that I was about to buy. I parted ways with Michelle and Cam, leaving them with $25 for a couple of beers since the 1st round was supposed to be on me.

Daniel and Co.

Daniel and Co.

“That’s way too much”

Not in the majors, my friend. I took my golden ticket and decided to sit one row in front of my seat because it was easier to get to. I sat down and immediately started taking pictures of the field, sippin’ on my $10 beer and turning around to thank Daniel Monehin for the wicked seat.

Since I arrived late and Big Papi had already tatered to put the Bo Sox ahead 2-0, I wasn’t paying close attention to the innings, and was just happy to take in a hot summer night at the ballpark. Roy Halladay finally put the Sox to bed for the inning and the Jays were coming up to bat, so I got my camera at the ready in case Clay Buchholz started to slip with his 90+ mph fastball. However, the thing I wasn’t prepared for was a foul ball. The batter popped one up directly over my head.

Home plate!

Hello, Skydome...

“That’ll go into the deck above” I thought. Nope. It bounced off the face of the deck and came straight down. Now, as a life long baseball fan, I have seen hundreds of foul ball skirmishes, but had never actually been in a situation in which I could catch a game authentic souvenir. I felt my body rise as my arms pulled me skyward, but then I halted. The camera. I looked down. There was no way I was about to leap up and leave Mr. Canon 5D Mark II to chance since the camera was sitting in my lap, the strap tangled in itself. And then I heard it. The sound of a bunch of celery being hit by a baseball bat. Hard. This was no foley effect, this was a human taking a well hit baseball to the face. I whipped around to see the guy that I should have been sitting next to with blood starting to pour out of his nose.

Again, my arms started to raise on instinct. This time to use the camera and capture the moment. But I froze. The sight of his blood was too much, it was a graphic reminder about getting moments of privacy in a society too riddled with cameras. So I put my camera in my bag and followed the lead of (I assume to be) Mrs. Monehin who had already handed over napkins and started to dig through her purse to hand the guy something to deal with the blood. I looked through my bag (I’m a napkin hoarder) and heard people offering advice, “keep your head down!” When I realized I didn’t have napkins I looked around to see if medical staff were on their way, but the guy and his friend got up and quickly left the section.



The urge to capture the evidence of a dramatic moment overwhelmed me and I moved to snap a picture of the blood on the ground. The woman in the seat next to me offered to remove the napkin she had dropped over the blood on the ground, but I said no since I preferred it to be how it was. I noticed that the woman’s seat next to me had some blood on it too. Then the shift dawned on me. A subtle tension about the presence of blood slowly rippled through me when I realized that we now had a biohazard on our hands. For the rest of the game you could feel the section’s stomach turn whenever a foul ball came anywhere near us. And while none did, the price of spectatorship was never made more clear.

PS Torontonians are very nice and friendly, regardless of what Coors Light ads might say. And check out the work of artist, musician, and Blue Jays fan Keith Vander Wees.

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