All “Good” Things Come to an End…

In any bad situation, I always try to find something good. My personal philosophy is, “you can’t always control what happens to you, but YOU CAN control how you choose to react to it.”

With the difficulties the Toronto Blue Jays have been dealing with in getting back to Toronto, I’ve taken full advantage of them playing the first two months of the regular season here in my hometown of Dunedin.

Baseball Ross and I managed to see nine games, the most regular season games we have ever seen in one season. We saw one game of every team that came to town and all all three games against the Phillies. There isn’t a bad seat in all of TD Ballpark and you’d never be closer to the action in any other park.

I grew up in Central Pennsylvania and a Phillies kid but watching these Jays, I’ve fallen in love. There’s something special about this team, it feels like they’ve been catching lightning in a bottle. (True story-as I wrote that Lourdes Guerriel Jr hit a home run.)

I’ve also come to fully appreciate the Jay’s fan base. I don’t know if there is a more friendly, positive and welcoming fan base out there. Hopefully, when Covid is over, I can make the trek to the Rogers Center to take in a game.

Today, it really hit me, though, it’s all over. As we came home today we drove by the stadium and the auxiliary light standards are gone, they are taking down some of the extended fencing and it looked like they were packing up the merchandise to send to Buffalo.

No more hearing the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd and the home-run horn from our front porch. No more days of watching the crowds of people marching up Douglas Avenue. No more waking up and feeling the anticipation of a game that day. There’s a different feeling of excitement in the air on game day.

It’s all done.

While I feel for my new friends up North, I now fully understand what I’ve been missing and will miss from now on. There something special about this team AND their fans. I will miss them until they return next spring. It won’t be a regular season game but I will love it just the same.

So a thank you to my friends up North, thank you for “lending” us your team. With luck, I’ll get to meet some of you next spring and we can raise a pint of Labatt’s to the team we all love and share. Here’s to the Blue Jays, I’ll see you next spring.

First “Robot” Umpire Game

Anyone who knows Baseball Ross and I know we like to heckle the umpire. It’s a way to blow off steam when you’re so frustrated at how an umpire is calling the game. Ross and I have always said that as long as they call their strike zone consistently you can work with it. It’s when they are erratic and the strike zone “floats around” that it will drive us nuts. We sit right behind home plate so we have a pretty decent view of the plate.

This year, that all changed.

We saw our first game with the automated ball and strike “Hawkeye System”. It’s the same system used during tennis matches that shows whether the ball was in or out. This system uses a myriad of cameras mounted around the stadium to track the ball. Before the game each player is measured to determine their own, personal strike zone.

Once the ball is tracked and the placement is determined, the call is relayed to the umpire by an earpiece plugged into an iPhone.

iPhone on umpire’s belt
Umpire’s earpiece

Did we like it? Once you get used to the slight delay between when the the ball hits the mitt and the actual call, it’s great. Calls are consistent and we aren’t feeling frustrated with umpires strike zones that seem to “float” and how the same pitch can be a strike at one time and a ball the very next pitch.

Granted, it’s been one game, but so far, so good.

Below is a slide show of the various cameras that track the ball and their placement around the stadium:

The funniest thing was before the game started the ump out the phone in the clip “backwards” and the off field official started waving his hands to tell him it was backwards and to turn it around so the “fans can’t see the display.” I replied, “that’s ok I’ll help him

make the call.”

With the look I got I almost got tossed out before the game even began. Oopsie!