Usually this article is an opinion piece about what the Detroit Tigers should do to jump start the offense, what should be going on in the bullpen, or some waiver wire acquisitions the Tigers could make, but today it isn’t. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and enjoy this game, and that’s what I am going to do here.
I am currently on a journey with my dad to see all 30 MLB ballparks and this weekend, we made our 4th stop (the other three have been Yankees Stadium, Nationals Park, and Comerica Park) at the Rogers Centre in Toronto to see the Detroit Tigers take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. We were excited to make the trip north, but we did not know we were in for a 19 inning game: the longest ever in Blue Jays history and the longest for the Tigers since 2003 at 6 hours and 37 minutes.
The drive up to Toronto was uneventful after we crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor. Between Windsor and Hamilton, Ontario, we saw nothing but wind turbines for about two hours. We arrived in Toronto on Saturday night around 10:00 and checked into our hotel and crashed after our 5 hour drive.
Sunday morning, we walked a bit around the city and ran into some Tigers fans. Thinking they also made the trip from Michigan, we asked where they resided. A boy, about 12, answered, “Hamilton, but we are Detroit fans. Anything better is cheering for the Blue Jays.” We laughed it off and I need a Blue Jays fan to answer, is it that bad being a Blue Jays fan? I never got my answer, so if you are a Jays fan, I would love to know.
We arrived at the park early thinking we were going to roam the aquarium and CN Tower, but we found thousands of Jays fans lined up around the park because it was a hat giveaway day. We got in line and got our hat which was a nice giveaway.
The Rogers Centre itself is much larger than it seems on TV and it reminded us a lot of Tigers Stadium. Every seat seemed to be right on top of the field and there were not a lot of bad views. The stadium was very nice, very clean, and very spacious. The roof was open and it was a gorgeous day in Toronto, but the AstroTurf on the field created a glare and really made the stadium hot during the middle of the day. I’ve never been a fan of the AstroTurf and seeing it in person did not sway me.
We sat behind home plate wedged between 5 other Tigers fans, 3 from Windsor and 2 from Frankenmuth who made the drive up to Toronto for the day. The seats were a little close together and I got to know the man from Frankenmuth a little bit more than I initially wanted. The seats also did not have cup holders, which you don’t miss until they aren’t there, much like at Joe Louis Arena.
My dad and I have a deal that we have to eat at the park to get the full experience. We asked where to eat in the park and ate a jerk chicken sandwich at Muddy’s Market and a BBQ beef sandwich at King Club. Overall, the food was solid for a ballpark cuisine. I can be a picky eater and I was satisfied and would eat it again.
The fans were into this game from the start, even after Jose Reyes made an error which led to 3 unearned runs. The fans were into every pitch and were rowdy every time there were two strikes on a Tigers batter. Even 6 hours and 37 minutes later, the fans were into the game and were loud, especially for Colby Rasmus’s two catches in center field. The sun was hard on the fans, and a lot of them stuck around all 19 innings.
The game itself was entertaining. It was long, but entertaining, yet painful. The Tigers scored three unearned runs from a single from Miguel Cabrera, an error by Reyes on a Victor Martinez ground ball, a Torii Hunter single, a J.D. Martinez single, and a Nick Castellanos single. The Jays fans were on Reyes to get those runs back the entire game, and he eventually helped get them back in the 7th, 9th, and 19th.
A lot of the Tigers were complaining about the strike zone and it looked like they had a beef from behind home plate. Brad Ausmus came out between innings during the 3rd inning to have a conversation with the home plate umpire, Bill Miller. Ausmus looked to get heated during the conversation, but the fans did not see a big heave like you usually see for an ejection so no one knew that Ausmus was tossed. I figured it out in the 6th inning after David Price took a line drive off of his leg when Gene Lamont, Jeff Jones, and Kevin Rand came out to check on him with no sign of Ausmus.
The Tigers added runs in the 3rd and 4th off of Mark Burhle and were pathetically done for the day.
David Price looked to be fighting for his control early in the game until about the 4th inning and he was a treat to see in person. The Blue Jays fans who I spoke with were upset the Jays could not get Price, but they all said the price (no pun intended) was too much. Price looked to make one bad pitch to Dioner Navarro which ended up in the Blue Jays bullpen and cut the Tigers lead to 5-2.
The Tigers fans I was sitting with were all surprised to see Price in the 7th just after he gave up the home run to Navarro and was at 105 pitches. He gave up two base runners before Phil Coke came in and the bullpen woes began. Coke allowed both runs to score before Al Alburquerque pitched 1.1 innings of very good ball.
When Joba Chamberlain entered in the 9th, the Tigers fans said he better get the job done this inning, because there wasn’t much left in the bullpen, especially with Joakim Soria heading to the DL. Chamberlain could not get the job done and all we saw was Blaine Hardy left in the bullpen. Hardy, Pat McCoy, Joe Nathan, and Rick Porcello all did a great job out of the bullpen, but if your offense cannot score a run in 15 innings, you deserve to lose.
Overall, my dad and I had a great time at the Rogers Centre. I was very impressed with how nice it was. Thank you Toronto for welcoming us to your city and your field. We had a great time and I hope the other stops on our trip will be as enjoyable as this one in Toronto.
Tags: Detroit Tigers