The Blue Jays will be retiring former Cy Young Award Winning and All-Star RHP Roy Halladay’s uniform number on March 29, 2018.
In a statement put out earlier today, Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro expressed his condolences to the Halladay family, as well as his admiration of both the player and person that Roy was.
“Through Roy’s values, pride, work ethic, and perseverance, he epitomized what it means to be a Blue Jay. And while his legacy is clear, it goes far beyond the number on his back or his on-field accomplishments, serving as a shining example of how to live a meaningful life and positively impact others.”
Halladay will join Roberto Alomar as the only other member of the Blue Jays alumni to have their jersey numbers retired.
Along with retiring his number, the Jays will commemorate Halladay’s legacy by wearing a uniform patch with his number (32) on it.
Every year on May 27, I celebrate my birthday. Since 2016, I have gone to a baseball game with my parents to mark the occasion and celebrate my birthday with the Toronto Blue Jays!
This years’ birthday game was much different than last years.
It all started with the tweet above. My mom was in contact with someone from the Toronto Blue Jays ticketing and events division, and decided to talk to the man she was on the phone with about my twitter and blog, and potentially doing something special for my birthday. He ended up giving her the contact to Blue Jays Manager of Digital Marketing, April Whitzman. April and my Mother corresponded via email, and arranged for myself to arrive at the Rogers Centre at 9:45am to shadow April with all of her pre-game work. Needless to say, I was incredibly excited for this opportunity… it was just an added bonus that this was happening on my birthday!
Once I had met April and gotten my press pass, we headed upstairs to the media/press box. It is located directly in the center of the Rogers Centre, and sits all of the media and journalists that cover the Toronto Blue Jays. The box was huge, and must sit over 50 people. Above the rows of chairs and up the stairs, there is a food/drink bar with a lot of tables for all media to talk about the game, as well as eat a delicious meal prepared by Blue Jays chefs. Everyone was so friendly inside. Directly beside the rows of chairs, there are the broadcasts booths. One with Joe Siddal and Jerry Howarth, the other with Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler. It was so cool to be able to see there view and their vantage point of every game they call. To the left of the broadcast booths, there is a massive room that houses all of the video and different angles from each camera. The people inside are the ones that help make the Blue Jays game broadcasted on TV so smoothly!
Myself, April, and a Blue Jays photographer headed to the field as the grounds crew were hard at work preparing the field for batting practice and the game ahead! It felt so magical stepping onto the field, knowing that every player steps on this same surface for every single Blue Jays home game.
As we headed the the dugout, I noticed all of the batting helmets for each player on the bench. If you flip the picture upside down, you will see numbers of some of our favourite players, including Russel Martin; Devon Travis; and Josh Donaldson!
Of course, I had to sit on the dugout benches! The first two pictures were taken by April, the third and fourth were taken by the photographer.
We went back to the press box, which is where April and the man she works with showed me everything that goes into running every Toronto Blue Jays social media account! For every game, it is there job to post the lineup on social media. They use a photoshop and a pre-made template to enter the names, and select a player to showcase beside it. I chose José Bautista for the May 27 game (and I made the right choice!).
Once the Blue Jays went onto the field for batting practice, we went back onto the field to capture pre-game content for the Jays social media accounts. It was unbelievable to be standing so close to our favourite players and coaches, something I had only ever dreamed of doing! Batting practice was optional for both teams, so only a handful of batters took BP (none of the Rangers batters did).
While on the field, I captured Jays manager John Gibbons being interviews by reporters and Sportsnet media.
Several Blue Jays players were on the field, taking batting practice or being interviewed by players. There were also a lot of fans on the field taking pictures and getting autographs from the players.
On the field, I the chance to meet Barry Davis. He was so friendly and kind, and we chatted for a few minutes about his podcast!
At the end of batting practice, I took a few photos and said hi to many of you that were there that normally correspond with me on twitter! It was so nice to meet so many of you at the game!
I then headed all the way up to my seats to sit with my Mom and Dad! We sat all the way up in the 500 section, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
As all of you (should) know, our Blue Jays won the game 3-1, but it was quite an odd one! From multiple hit by pitches, a first pitch of the game homer, an Odor trip and fall, and (most importantly) a three run home-run by none other than “Texas Rangers Owner” José Bautista(!), it made this game much more interesting to watch live!
This game and my birthday were a huge success. If it wasn’t thanks to each and every one of you who read these blog posts and/or my tweets, this would never have happened! Thanks to my Mom, April Whitzman and the Toronto Blue Jays organization for making this happen! Thanks to all of you for your lovely birthday messages and words of encouragement, I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
I can’t explain my love of baseball. I just, can’t. All I can tell you is that when I attended my first baseball game of the 2015 season on May 8, something just clicked. Maybe it was the atmosphere of people coming together for a team, or maybe it was the players who come from all around the world to play a simply hard game of baseball. Or maybe, just maybe, I fell in love with 4 bases, and 9 men surrounding them (10 if you count the batter, and 14 if you count the umpires).
They say you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone, and I can confirm that this is true. I don’t remember feeling this way during the 2016 offseason, maybe it was because it was my first year tweeting in the community, or maybe it was because Bautista and Encarnacion were going to be on the next seasons team guaranteed. (Un)luckily for me, I wasn’t aware of how the next offseason (this past one) would feel.
As the final out happened during game 5 of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians, I shed
some crocodile tears. After that, I had what seemed to be a sugar rush and I claimed to my parents that the offseason was my favourite time of year… how naive I was. Of course, every night that week I cried, or at least teared up. The game I had been watching for the majority of the year was over… now what was I going to do?
This offseason has been (to put it easily) very harsh on all Toronto Blue Jays fans. With the one that got away (Dexter Fowler) and the boy who now lives next door (Edwin Encarnacion), I was really unsettled with how the offseason had been playing out. Once the Jays signed Jose Bautista, I was much more at ease, no matter what happened next.
I remember sitting down one evening and not knowing what to do with myself. I managed to look at the clock right when it turned to 7:07pm. You know what that means, baseball time. 7:07pm was the time when I would come around the TV screen and cheer for my passion, a long with about 400 of you (now 1000+… how did that happen?). That was when I noticed I was going through some baseball withdrawal. I walked upstairs and wrote on my chalkboard “144 days until MLB opening day” and I can’t believe the chalkboard only says 1 (technically just a few hours). A few hours until our team is back, another shot to make history.
The beauty related to baseball is that we can’t predict who is going to win the World Series. As José Bautista put it “If I could tell the future, I’d be in Vegas right now.” But sadly for José, Vegas is not always right. Many things will happen this season that we cannot see now, there will be big moves, big injuries and some sort of interesting event. But that is the beauty of the game that brings us together.
Last year at this time, we were ready for Our Moment. We were ready for our team to be the ultimate competitor, and while things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to, we have to remember that everything happens for a reason. 2016 wasn’t our moment, but maybe 2017 will be.
So now all we can do is watch and cheer. Cheer for the team we love the most, and watch them make history.
The third time is always the charm.
If you follow my blog regularly, I assume you are a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays and plan on going to a Jays game this season (if you live in the area).
Thanks to Liz (@Biggles14), Karen (@KarenSoutar1), Joshua Barbour, Tine McLennan, Christian Weaver and Cheryl Lowry, I have compiled a list of the best tips and tricks for seeing a game at the Rogers Centre, while making the most out of your visit!
For Home Games (at the Rogers Centre)…
- When arriving at the Rogers Centre, you can go in through ANY gate.
- On week nights, gates open at 5:30pm, and you can watch batting practice until 6:15pm.
- On weekends, gates are open at 11:00am, and watch batting practice until around 12:15pm.
- You can visit the “WestJet Flight Deck” free of charge (not on Opening Day), and can stand there during the entire game. If you plan on doing this, you can buy the cheapest ticket the Jays have to offer.
- You can bring in sealed water bottles.
- If you are over 18, you can visit the “Designated Driver” booth. There is one located on every level (100, 200, 500) and complete a designated driver form with your drivers license. They will then give you a free soda fountain drink coupon which can be redeemed at any point during the game.
- You can take your own food and sealed drinks (not cans) to the stadium. Considering they charge $5 for a soda, and $7-15 for food, this is a good thing to keep in mind.
- Avoid taking a purse to the game, take a wristlet that can hold your phone, ID, and some cash/cards. This way you can get through security much faster, rather than the security guards digging through a big backpack or purse.
- The best way from Waterloo way is to hop on the train from Oakville into T.O. core. Parking is free and the train ride is around $10.
Away Games (in a ballpark other than the Rogers Centre):
- At Yankee stadium (home of the New York Yankees), go to see monument park before the game it’s well worth it.
- Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians) is a lovely ballpark, lots of nice food options. Expect lots of Jays fans at games.
- In Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays), you can find a lot of Jays fans, but the overall stadium is not nearly as nice as Rogers Centre. If you are in southern Florida, make the drive up to Marlins Park (home of the Miami Marlins).
- In Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox), the fans tend to be very friendly, even though the Jays are an AL East rivalry team.
- In Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners), there is always a packed house full of Jays fans for all of the games that the Jays play in Seattle. Although, you are NOT allowed to bring in any liquids.
- Arrive early to away games, as the Jays have batting practice last (most of the time), and tend to sign autographs/take pictures to the few fans who are there.
Thanks to all who helped contribute to this post! If you have any helpful tips that I missed, feel free to comment them down below for all to see.
Countdown Update: 2 More Days until Opening Day!
This season, I was asked to participate in the annual “Playing Pepper” series that takes place on the C70 At The Bat blog. You can find the Toronto Blue Jays edition here. There are many other fantastic Blue Jays bloggers that participated in this years’ edition as well. I hope you enjoy it!
Click this link to read it: http://www.cardsconclave.com/2017/03/29/playing-pepper-2017-toronto-blue-jays/