Covering the Bases: Game 7
The attendance was 46,321 tickets sold (the comp tickets are not included in the total). The baseball capacity is 49,160. In previous regimes, comp tix were included. Jays don’t do that now.
“We’re still a little bit short of what we used to pack in here when we were winning,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “But it was great. It was a great night tonight.”
Said Vernon Wells, who belted his fifth homer in seven games: “Opening day is always like that. I think our goal around here is to get those crowds every night and late in the season. It’s going to take playing a little better baseball than we did tonight. It was a tough loss tonight.”
The above photo was taken by John Lott of the National Post.
SECOND: It was a tough loss for the Blue Jays because it was the second blown save in five chances for closer Jason Frasor. Toronto has had seven save opportunities in seven games, meaning they could easily be 7-0 right now. Frasor coughed up the lead on Opening Day and then in Monday’s home opener.
Frasor’s main issue right now is with the first batter he faces. He has faced five and he has allowed two walks, two doubles and one home run. The homer came on an 0-2 fastball that Frasor left over the heart of the plate to Chicago’s Mark Teahen in the ninth on Monday. Result? Tie game. Blown save.
“If you’re going to save a game, you have to get the first guy,” Gaston said. “It doesn’t happen all the time, but you’d like to see that first guy out, because it kind of knocks the other team down a little bit.”
With Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs also in the ‘pen, it might not take long for there to be an old fashioned closer controversy.
THIRD: Once again, the Blue Jays lived and died by the long ball. John Buck absolutely CRUSHED a two-run homer, sending it above the “Tony Fernandez” sign above left field. Joked Buck: “Peavy hit my bat.” Wells hit a two-run shot to center field. So far, the Jays have scored 18 of their 35 runs on homers this year.
“It’s going to be a home run team,” Gaston said. “Otherwise, we’re goinh to struggle.”
HOME: The fans let Alex Rios have it more than any other former player since I’ve been covering the team. Granted, it was a full house for the home opener, but it was relentless. Chants of “You suck, Rios!” and “Rios sucks!” went on all evening. When he got booed during player intros, Rios smiled and tipped his hat.
“That normally doesn’t happen too much here,” Gaston said of Rios’ reception. “I was kind of surprised by that a little bit. But, people come out and they paid their money.”
For what it’s worth, Wells and Rios both said they expected it (and Rios was obviously bothered since he went 3-for-4 with a stolen base). I’ll admit that I thought it would be more mixed. Rios may have performed below expectations, but he was a big part of the Jays for many years.
I think what sealed his fate in the fans’ minds was that infamous Youtube video where he turned down an autograph request from a kid and then did not respond well to some heckling. As in most things in life, though, there was more to the sequence of events than the video clip revealed. CLICK HERE to read what I wrote last June…
At least all the booing made the atmosphere that much better.