Thursday, March 12, 2009

My WBC Trip: The Baseball

Hey everyone, I'm back. I got home late Wednesday night after spending the last 5 days in Toronto for the World Baseball Classic. Well, I shouldn't say that. I did drive back and forth between Toronto and Buffalo a few times in an attempt to save a couple of bucks. It's about a 2 hour drive door to door which isn't bad, but it does make for some tiring days. The trip far exceeded my expectations in every way. I pretty much went for two reasons. I love baseball and I love collecting autographs. I had a lot of fun with both. I'll start with the baseball.

I ended up only going to 3 of the 6 games. I blew off the games that Team USA didn't play in. I spent that time on the streets of Toronto hunting down autographs. But I'll get into that later. The Saturday game between Team USA and Team Canada was without a doubt the most fun game I've ever been at. I wish I could say that game 7 of the 2004 ALCS had that honor, but we all now how that game ended. It was a pretty exciting game. I was fully expecting J.J. Putz to squander the lead but he escaped with the save. The crowd of 42000, which was probably made up of 40000 Canadians, was definitely on the edge of their seats for that last at bat. I heard some people saying that it was the loudest that the Rogers Centre had been since the World Series days of 1992. It was an awesome game.

The Sunday game between the US and Venezuela was a blow out and that's always fun especially when the team you're rooting for is on the winning end of things. I wasn't overly impressed with Team Venezuela's pitching staff. They kept trotting out guys with ERAs over 5 and WHIPs close to 2. I remember thinking to myself when I saw their stats on the "jumbotron" that the US was going to blow this wide open and that's what they did. I was surprised by the size of the Venezuelan fan base. Man they love their baseball. They were chanting and singing all game, even when they were down by almost 10 runs. I really think they thought their team would make a comeback.

The rematch between the 2 teams on Wednesday was a much better game, even if it was meaningless. I know it was a "seeding game" but couldn't there have been a better way to go about determining that? Team USA didn't even look like they cared. It came off that they were more interested in just "getting their work in" than anything else. I left in the 7th inning right before their late rally. I wanted to get home at a decent hour as I was on "kid duty" all day today since I was on vacation. It was a boring game for the most part, highlighted only by a fist fight in the crowd in the 7th inning. 2 drunks in the front row decided to throw down. It got broken up pretty quickly but was fun to see nonetheless. They kicked both guys out and as I was exiting the stadium they were exchanging blows right outside the stadium. A lot of punches were thrown but few connected. But again, still fun to watch.

Overall it was a great time. Here are a few other tidbits:

  1. Venezuelan fans far outnumbered US fans
  2. Red Sox fans far outnumbered Yankee fans, at least based on what people we're wearing they did
  3. The Venezuelan fans were fun to be around. Dancing in the aisles and whatnot. It was kind of neat.
  4. They played Sweet Caroline during the 7th inning stretch at all games. It made me vomit in my mouth.
  5. The biggest rip off in town are the currency exchange centers. I exchanged my 40 bucks and got back $41.06. I should have gotten $46 but there was apparently a $4.94 service fee.
  6. I took a leak next to Dr. Charles Jeter. I was standing on the concourse with my friend and fellow Yankee fan/autograph hound Tom when we saw him walk from his seat to the bathroom. I said to Tom, "I'm going to go take a leak next to Jeter's dad." There weren't a lot of people using the urinals when we went in so I did give him the courtesy urinal in between us. I didn't peak but when I walked out and caught Tom's eye, I raised my hands and put them about a foot apart.

I'm sure there is something else but I'm drawing a blank. Drowsiness is setting in and I can feel the brain shutting down. I'll post the second half summary of my trip (the autograph hounding) sometime tomorrow. I've got some interesting stories so be sure to check back.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,