Just got back from the Blue Jays’ 2005 home opener, and instead of ripping into Brandon (not quite Major) League or griping about Orlando Hudson’s inexplicable need to swing at the first pitch he saw from Keith Foulke, I’d like to focus instead on the crowd. The announced attendance tonight was 50,560, about sixteen of whom could probably identify the shape of a baseball diamond (hint: it’s like a square, but crooked). For the other 50,544, the game was little more than an excuse to get drunk and fling fridge magnets onto the field (don’t ask). Andy and I were sitting behind this family of five whose children spent the entire game chanting “Let’s Go Blue Dadsoiuf!” (it sounded like “Blue Dots”, but we couldn’t be sure), attempting to steal our ticket stubs, making paper airplanes (their father, bless him, attempted to control his children by showing them how it was done) and then chucking them in the general direction of the field…honestly, it was one of the most audacious performances from a crowd I think I’ve ever seen. At one point–after the game was done, I think–someone actually hucked a Coke bottle from the 500 level to the 100 level. There were times in the game when you could easily count a dozen fridge magnets on any given part of the field. And I mean, this, clearly, is the death knell for Major League Baseball in Toronto. Remember 1993, when getting a ticket to a baseball game at SkyDome could have been made into a reality t.v. show? It kind of makes you wonder what kind of people were showing up at those games: genuine baseball fans, or a bunch of drunk, semi-coherent, slanted cap wearing wannabe thugz whose contribution to the evening’s proceedings is limited to cheering the paper airplane that lands closest to Johnny Damon.
As for the game, I have no clue why John Gibbons insisted on pulling Dave Bush after the Blue Jays starter was showing signs of settling down. I have no idea how Brandon League missed Russ Adams on what would have been an inning-ending double play in the sixth. And I have no idea why Orlando Hudson–who had yet to hit a ball out of the infield–decided to swing at the first pitch he saw from an ineffective and clearly rattled Keith Foulke instead of working the count and getting the crowd (or at least the members who understood the basic concept of baseball) into the game. And so we have a five-way tie atop the A.L. East…and if the Blue Jays keep on playing like they did tonight, this could very well be the last time they’ll be there in 2005.