Now that was an opener
TORONTO — I’m only in my fourth season of covering Blue Jays games, but I can say without a doubt that tonight’s home opener against the Red Sox will be a game I’ll always look back on with a smile. It was just an electric atmosphere that you rarely see at Rogers Centre in the middle of the season.
I’m not from Toronto, so I can only recall TV footage of the old SkyDome days when the stadium was packed on a daily basis and the Jays rolled out great teams year in and year out. Tonight was fun, though. Seeing the Jays in the retro powder blues, having 50,000-plus in the seats waving towels, and having the Red Sox in town to top it off.
Now, I typically make an effort not to mention fans who disrupt the game, or those of us trying to work, as to not encourage this type of behavior, but tonight is an exception. From our view in the pressbox, we have a nice angle of a few fights in the upper deck, where at one point the crowd was chanting “Let her stay!” while ushers tried to kick out a female fan who, how shall we say, didn’t mind being a little revealing.
Speaking of which, Jeremy Accardo had his ninth-inning save attempt interupted by a pair of fans who ran on the field without their shirts on — a man and a woman. She kept her undergarments on, but the crowd still gave a loud “Boooo!” when a security guard decided to cover her up with a jacket.
After the game, one reporter kiddingly asked Jays President Paul Godfrey if he hired the girl to run out on the field.
“No, but I’m firing the guy who covered her up,” Godfrey joked back.
Accardo was asked if he tried to sneak a peak.
“I watched, if that’s what your asking,” he said with a smirk.
Said Aaron Hill: “We were wondering when it was going to happen. Doc actually called it. He said, ‘What’s the ETA of a streaker coming on the field?’ I think he said it on the field and then there they go. It’s always funny, I guess. It’s annoying, because you have to wait. You’re on a roll and you get a couple outs and you just want to get it over with. Then you have to wait for guys to have their fun, and girl have her fun.”
As for the retro unis, Jays starter Shaun Marcum said, “That was kind of fun to see everyone running around out there like a little Smurf.” Nice.
More Accardo on the crowd: “It was awesome. If we could get this crowd every day, it pumps up all the players. The towels and stuff, it makes the game fun. I mean, it’s fun every day, but when you have 55,000 behind you and you’ve got the chants, even the running on the field, the streaking, hopefully a lot of people liked it and they’ll come back to some more game.”
It was definitely a fun night for all. Oh, and the Jays won, 6-3. We also got our first look at Toronto’s new clubhouse, which is GINORMOUS. Lots of places for players to hide from reporters now. I can’t even begin to describe it and do it justice. Just take it from Hill:
“This is a country club. Good Lord.Who wouldn’t want to come to this place? Every one of these guy’s who have been on different teams say this is by far the best place they’ve been in. I told my wife, I said, ‘When you’re not here, I might just stay in here the whole time.’ This awesome. I’ll bring the dog in here and the guitar and I’ll have a blast.”
Lounging on one of the couches, Alex Rios jokingly said, “I didn’t know they had this kind of money to do this.” Yeah, should’ve held out for a bigger deal, Lexi.
Catch you all tomorrow.