Well, that’s another experience checked off my dad bucket list.
On July 23rd, I took Harrison to his first Major League Baseball game and it was at the Rogers Centre to see the Toronto Blue Jays.
Seemed fitting since Harrison has been wearing a Blue Jays hat almost every day since he was two.
Ever since we moved back to Toronto in May, a baseball game was on the list of things we would do over the summer. Then it worked out that the Boston Red Sox would be in town. That meant a lively crowd and a fun atmosphere to watch a game.
As a sport to sit and watch, baseball might not be as exciting for a four-year old to watch. We have been to hockey and basketball games before and the action is always moving. Baseball has its own pace that can be a little slow at times.
But this was Harrison’s first professional sporting event, so that was much more to see and experience than what was happening on the field.
There was the size of the stadium, the big screen, the ballpark food and just watching all of the other fans.
I am not sure who was more excited to go to be honest.
All day long Harrison was smiling ear to ear every time he mentioned where we were going later that night.
The plan was that I would take Harrison to the game and Katie would stay home and have some much needed quality time with Charlie.
Being not even two yet, I did not think Charlie was ready to go to the game. One day I will take both boys and it will be awesome.
In case you are wondering, Katie and Charlie had a fun night at home. They ordered pizza and had their own fun.
So back to the highlight of the week. Heading down to Rogers Centre. Harrison knew where it was as we have been down that way a few times. We have been to Ripley’s Aquarium and have driven by the giant baseball stadium a few times. Plus as Harrison says, it is by the CN Tower, which he can see from home.
To get there, we took Harry’s favourite way to travel, the subway. This kid LOVES the subway. He has recently discovered sitting at the front of the train and watching as we enter each station. If you have not done this with your kid, I suggest trying it out.
We went down to Union Station and the closer we got the more Jays gear was showing up. Each stop, Harrison would get excited to see more hats and shirts with a Blue Jay on it.
Finally at Union, we got out with hundreds of others who were clearly heading to the same place.
Next up, the Sky Path.
I used to take this path every day when I did my college internship at the SkyDome (Rogers Centre) back in the day. It looked pretty much the same other than different advertising.
The walk was an experience for Harrison as you got to see so much of downtown Toronto. We walked over train tracks and got to see the hub of all trains in the city. Go trains, VIA trains and more were all moving about.
As we were early for the game, we stopped and watched everything for a few minutes. The trains are a big hit.
We continued on towards the stadium and started to hear crowds, music and most importantly, fun.
Then we walked past the Aquarium and there is was. The bustling excitement game night.
Food stands, people selling programs, parents chasing kids and all kinds of blue and white.
Harrison’s eyes were popping out of his head.
The plan was to pick up some tickets and then to get some dinner before heading in. I did not want to get inside too early and waste Harrison’s energy and interest. It was going to be a long night and wanted to keep him moving and having fun.
I got some tickets (2nd level in left field) and we moved onto dinner.
It was National Hot Dog Day in Canada, so it only made sense to dine on dogs. Plus it is Harrison’s favourite food (yes, yes I know).
So we did it up and went to Nathan’s for some high quality dogs. Just ketchup for Harry and ketchup and mustard for me.
They tasted like a baseball game to me. Took me back to when I went to the old Tigers Stadium in Detroit as a kid. I love ballpark hot dogs.
We sat and watched people, pigeons and traffic go by as we enjoyed our food. I think Harrison had a hard time focusing on his food with all that was going on. Also, I think he was saving room for popcorn, which he had requested days earlier when I first announced going to a game.
After we were done eating, it was time to find our seats. Gate 12. I used this as a fun game as I let Harrison find the gate. We walked around looking for 12 and when it was spotted, he ran for it. We stopped for some photos first and then went in.
Then maybe the best part for Harrison happened. There was as theme night happening. It was music night.
Upon entering and having our tickets checked, there was a guy handing out Blue Jays lanyards with a plastic card on it.
The card was a coupon to download some free music. But the lanyards? They made us look and feel like VIPs.
Instantly Harrison was engaged. He had something given to him already. He had a physical item that had logos on it. He now looked like a kid who lived and breathed Toronto Blue Jays.
We circled the building looking for section 241. It was a bee hive of activity. People getting beer, food and taking one last pee break before heading in.
We decided to find our seats and worry about snacks later.
We walked down the stairs to row 8 and took our seats. Great view. We were looking straight into home plate from the left field seats. Yes, the players seems pretty small, but I thought the seats were excellent for what we payed.
We could still see the JumboTron on our left and all the action right in front of us.
Harrison started to soak it all in. He was looking at the other kids around us, he was checking out the astroturf and he was watching planes fly overhead.
Then the crowd began to clap, the Jays were taking the field. It was game time.
We got to see everything you could want in a game in the very first inning. A monster home run, a pitcher getting hit and six runs were on the board at the end. A 35 minute inning with the score tied at 3-3 was probably not the best thing for us. Harrison was getting a little bored from the pace. But we picked it up with snacks.
We went for a tour of the building, meaning we walked in a giant circle seeing the field from all angles. Then we stopped for popcorn and a drink.
We headed back to our seat with Harrison holding the biggest bag of popcorn you could imagine. He was all set for more game.
We watched a few scoreless innings munching on popcorn and having a great time. We even got on the big screen once and of course Harrison made one of his classic cool faces.
The game was not keeping Harrison’s attention but all of the action around us was. There is just so much to look at when you are surrounded by thirty thousand other people.
The one thing that always gets Harry going at sporting events is clapping and chants. He would get into “Let’s Go Blue Jays” whenever it happened and clapped away.
This went on for a bit until the game started to drag again. You know, pitching changes and long at bats will do that. Then we went for another walk.
This time we went through some set up where a company was taking polaroids of fans for free. So we grabbed one. Great momento of our evening.
We looked at every thing there was to look at before going back to our seat. We also had a pee break where Harry got to use a urinal for the first time. There was one with a step for kids. He thought that was awesome.
We went to our seats, watched a few more innings and finished up the popcorn.
Of course, no more snacks made Harry a little bored again.
We reached the seventh inning which clocked in at roughly 9:15 pm. Pretty amazed we made it that long.
We went for one more tour and did a little seat surfing to get closer to the action. Once we got situated on the third base side, Harry could see the pitches better and the batter’s faces.
We also wanted to see the CN Tower from inside before going.
Then we got one more great surprise. The Jays had just taken the lead, when Jose Batista came up to bat.
Yep, he went yard and the place exploded. Harry near jumped out of his chair.
Once the crowd died down a little, Harry looked at me and I knew it was time to leave. We wanted to avoid the crowds and it felt like the Jays had this one in hand.
Off we went. We took the scenic way out, down to the main level to see the field close up. Then it was out into the night to go home.
We were tired, a little sweaty, full of snacks and of course still feeling the thrill of the evening.
The trip home was fine, Harrison enjoyed being on the subway at night as he is never up at that time.
Harry got home, told mom all about the night, watched a cartoon to come off the high and crashed around 10:45 pm.
I later checked that the Jays did win 6-4, so it was a great night all around.
What a night. Harry is 1-0 at Blue Jays games. I know he will be going a lot more in his future now that we are living here.
Thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays for hosting us and winning.
Can’t wait until next time.