Sunday, 15 May 2011

Toronto Blue Jays 7 v 4 Detroit Tigers

Friday 6th May 2011
Major League Baseball, American League
Rogers Centre, Toronto
Admission: 11 C$
Programme: 5 C$
Attendance: 19, 711
Match Rating: 4

On the final evening of my stay in Toronto was the sports game I was looking to most of all, as I had a real desire to attend a top North American sports game for the first time, to experience all the hype and razzmatazz that sports matches on the other side of the pond can offer.

The Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, is located very close to the centre of Toronto and adjacent to the CN Tower, and is an impressive if slightly dated stadium. I bought my ticket on-line prior to arriving in Canada, so all I had to do was have my e-ticket scanned to gain entry. I chose a seat which, although very high up, was directly behind the batter, which I considered to be the best vantage point of the game. Before making the long hike to the top floor, I walked around the bottom floor, taking in a variety of entertainments which were laid on for what is dubbed "Fan Fridays". I had my photo taken with two World Series trophies that the Blue Jays won back in 1992 and 1993., and there were various other competitions to take part in with a DJ on hand. The Rogers Centre offers three tiers of seating with corporate boxes between the second and third levels behind the batsman and along the first and third base lines, whilst behind the pitcher are hotels rooms surrounding a giant electronic scoreboard, with a row of boxes beneath. The Rogers Centre has the claim to fame of having been the first sports stadium to have a fully retractable roof when it opened in 1989. Programmes were available to purchase outside of the ground, and are a better purchase for the occasional visitor rather than the regular one. Most of the A4 size publication remains the same for each game, with only an 8 page insert specific to the series in question in the middle.

Coming into this game, the Blue Jays were not in the best of form, losing two of their three game series at the Tampa Bay Rays and before that, at the New York Yankees, and were in fourth position in the five team Eastern Division. Tonight’s visitors, the Detroit Tigers, came into the game in a great run of form, winning their previous three games at home against the New York Yankees, after losing the opening two games of the series, and were lying in third place in the Central Division.

In front of what was eventually a decent sized crowd of just under 20,000 – many people only arrived after a few innings had already been played  - and with a reasonable number of supporters from Detroit, the home team opened up an early lead, which they were never to surrender. They were 3-0 up after the first innings, adding a further run in the third innings, with the Tigers not getting a run on the board until the fourth innings, at the end of which the Blue Jays led by 4-1, with the Tigers struggling to even make any bases let alone runs, thanks to some excellent pitching from the Jays’ Jesse Litsch, who allowed just the one run and struck out nine in six and a third innings. A couple of innings without any scoring for either side followed in the fifth and sixth innings, before Adam Lind hit a home run in the seventh innings. The Jays added a further two runs in the eighth innings to open up a thoroughly dominant 7-1 lead, and although the Tigers finally managed to find some form in the final ninth innings, scoring three runs, all they managed was to make the final scoreline more respectable, at 7-4.

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