Showing posts with label Toronto Blue Jays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toronto Blue Jays. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2009

Game 24: Toronto Blue Jays 2 @ Baltimore Orioles 0

Today we did three museums before the game (2 baseball and one Mik's choice pop art/comics mostly one), but I will get to that in later posts. By the time we were done with those and took our souvenirs back to the car Orioles Park at Camden Yards was just opening. The first half hour we could only go on Eutaw Street and part of outfield. That was kind of boring since we already walked Eutaw Street going to the museums. At least they do have some of the better concessions out here and all the stands here were open including souvenirs stands and the Team Shop.

About an hour and a half before the game they opened access to the rest of the park. We walked around in search of the Noah's pretzels so I could have an 'O' one and then went back to our seats. The seats were decent as we could see the scoreboard and most of the field. Oddly it was part of centerfield that we could not see.

The game itself was not that action packed, but it was not entirely dull either. There was some good pitching mixed in with the bad (i.e. quite a few walks). There really was not much in the way of great hitting, as in the whole game there were only 2 extra base hits. Both the extra base hits were doubles by Blue Jays. For the most part it was scoreless innings of baseball, as both Blue Jays runs came in the 5th. I do not think there were even any hits after the 6th or 7th inning.

Overall a good park. The whole game experience other than the ballpark itself is a lot like going to the Nats. I still hate the stupid O chant they say during the National anthem, but it is not as dorky as when the Nats fans do it because they think it is a normal baseball thing since the Orioles used to be the closest team to D.C. They do not have racing Presidents or anything like that on the field, but some of the scoreboard things are similar such as the MASN guess the year thing. Also, some if the best local type food is the same (Noah's Pretzels in the shape of the team letter and Boardwalk fries).

Sent from my iPhone

Update July 16, 2009: Finally got the photos uploaded from the game here and have added some to the post.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Car Sticker Update: Toronto Blue Jays

The sticker we got at the Blue Jays says Toronto and below it is a Blue Jays J Jay logo.

Accessibility Review: Rogers Centre

The lack of thought towards accessibility should have been obvious from the start, but it did not really set in until we were shown were our seats actually were. The parking garage located on one side of the Rogers Centre had only one handicap spot available when we got there (not sure if they had any more as they are marked on the ground and totally unrecognizable when parked in). We were then informed that they do not have an elevator and we had to walk up the car ramp that goes in and out of the garage. Not too bad, but it is quite a hill, and they did at least actively tell us where to park without us asking where the handicap spots were and also right away told us how to get out of the garage.

Out of the parking garage we ended up at the hotel corner of the Rogers Centre. From there we could not walk to the right because there were stairs. Thus we went to the left up a ramp to try to get to Gate 7, which was the entrance gate marked on our ticket. We again ended up at steps outside Gate 3 and thus could not get to Gate 7. However, Gate 3 is a handicap entrance only and the elevators are right there, so that worked out. Going into the game we had no problem with the elevators, as it was not a general public entrance. At the end of the game, however, as usual one group of elevators were filled before we got on and we almost did not get on that one because a pushy guy with a kid in a stroller tried to get in front of Mik, but Dad was aggressive back and we squished into that load.

When we got up to the 100 level we easily found section 112, where we originally had tickets. However, the handicap seats were nowhere to be found. We asked an usher and she showed us to the concourse and pointed to here are your seats and began to set out two chairs right there on the concourse. There are no markings or anything, but this is what the Canadian $9 handicap seats are. It was basically just as bad as at Dodger Stadium, but at least not so expensive. However, the real issue is that they have a fence of vertical bars right in front (see example in above photos) making it impossible for someone seated (i.e. in a wheelchair) to see the game except by leaning forward and peering through the cracks. Basically they are standing room type seats and you actually need to stand to see the game. Right away we decided this was not going to work and went to see if we could upgrade. Later we found this seating area was full of a wheelchair group along with being crowded with people standing.

The seats we actually ended up with were in section 120. They are also on the concourse, but they are set apart and actually have the seats number and such. The seats were located right behind home plate and were about as good as the Cubs tickets, but for a crap team like the Blue Jays who do not even come anywhere near filling up their stadium it is sad that we were forced to pay Canadian $49 per ticket just to see the game from a wheelchair section. The guy said they have some in the upper section, but they are supposedly worse just because they are all the way at the top. However, they looked better than the tickets we originally had and would have been better than feeling ripped off and being upsold to these seats.

Sitting in section 120 was not horrible, but it also was not worth the price. First of all they are the most expensive seats at the game and the same price as those right on the field in that section, so it is kind of a rip off that you cannot pay that much and actually be right up by the field with a wheelchair. The view was great with the whole field visible and the bar in front not getting in the way of viewing the game. I thought the glass panel above the bar might be an issue, but it was not and unless you really zoom in on the photos you probably will not even notice that half the photo of the whole field is being viewed through the glass. Mik, of course, was disappointed in there being no cup holders, but he was not mad because the regular section also lacked them. The biggest issue, however, was that there was a lot of people standing behind the section making it a maze to get out of the seats and onto the concourse to get stuff. Of further annoyance was that the fans frequently did not pay attention to the yellow line and crowded oue section including a man that kept getting food and drinks for his kids in the row below us and passing it down to them by almost coming right in front of us, which blocked the view of first base and the outfield. This is something that could easily be fixed if they had a rope behind every part of the handicap section, as our part was the only one that lacked that, or at least put an usher there.

Overall I was very disappointed at the experience at the Rogers Centre. It was not as bad as Dodger Stadium, as the overall atmosphere was not quite as bad as at the Dodger game and the ushers we did encounter were friendly here. It is, however, the worst accessible park we have been to so far. It is also entirely unacceptable because it is a fairly new park. The thing that really gets me is they have the nerve to sell those Canadian $9 wheelchair seats that are impossible to see the game from. I will never again go here with Mik and actually sit in the Rogers Centre.

So how would I do it instead? Well, the Rogers Centre is quite unique. It has a hotel and a Hard Rock Café in it that do not offer access to the rest of the Centre (i.e. team shop, concourses, concessions, the field). The hotel and Hard Rock do however offer great outfield views of the game. One possibility is to get a table at the Hard Rock Café right up against the windows that overlook the park and watch the game that way. However, I do not really like the Hard Rock, so that would be sort of a waste of money like the $49 seats are. The hotel option sounds like it could be great, as it would just like having a suite. Mik thought it would be cool because he could watch television or do something else if he was not into the game. It might not be a cheap hotel, but that would certainly be a worth it type expense for an accessible way of enjoying the game.

Kj’s Baseball Collection: Toronto Skyline

Finding an interesting baseball at the Blue Jays was hard. There were plenty of designs to choose from, but none really stood out besides the Canada Day one. I did not want to get that one, though, because we did not actually go to the Canada Day game (July 1). I was about to choose a ball of the field that came with a tin, but it was expensive and had a rather generic seeming photo that could have easily been any outfield. Then I finally found the Toronto Skyline one buried in the bins of balls.

The Toronto Skyline one has a light blue silhouette view of the Toronto skyline on a darker blue background. On one end of the skyline it has stamps that say Toronto Ontario 2009 and American League. On the other end of the skyline it has a stamp design with the Rogers Centre. The other strip of the ball is silver and on one end it has a Jays logo and the other end says Toronto.

Mik’s Mini Bat Collection: Blue Jays Mascot

At the Rogers Centre Mik choose a natural colored mini bat. The mini bat has a design with the Blue Jays logo and also the Blue Jays mascot on it.

Mik’s Food Scrapbook: Rogers Centre

The first thing Mik tried at the Rogers Centre was Sour Patch Kids. Yeah, they are basically the same as in the United States, but they are distributed by a different company and actually do seem a little different. At first Mik thought they were not as sour, but it was only because all the sour had ended up on his hand from holding it too long. In the end he actually thought they were sourer because they seem a little thinner.

Mik did not end up with any of his own food at the Rogers Centre, as he filled up on donuts from Tim Horton’s on the way to the game. He was going to try the gyro, but not when he learned it was made with chicken and not the normal beef. He was also disappointed to not find any regular fries anywhere. He did, however, try the sweet potato fries I got. He did not like them, though. He did enjoy the part he tried of the three cheese pannini I had.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Game 19: Philadelphia Phillies 10 @ Toronto Blue Jays 0

I really thought the Dodger Stadium would continue to stand out as the worst ballpark other than perhaps one of the New York ones, which we go into with bad taste due to the ticketing experience. However, I was totally disgusted with the handicap seating situation at Rogers Centre. Now it is not exactly a horrible ballpark and it is not the worst if you are part of the general public going to the game, but boy are they the worst by far when it comes to accessible seating to the point it is hard to believe this is among the modern generation of ballparks. Maybe, it is just the culture of Canada, but I doubt that is it because the campground has better accessible facilities than most we have stayed at in the United States and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday was even accessible despite being in an old house. Let’s just leave it at do not go to the actual park if you are in a wheelchair and I will go into more depth on it and the possible alternate accessible ways to see a game at Rogers Centre when I get around to the Accessibility Review for this park.

The seating situation kind of left me majorly negative about the park from the start, but it did not turn out horrible just not worth the extra $120 Canadian (sure its Canadian, but it is still a big non-planed expense in US$) to upgrade to where Mik could actually see the game. I was also not impressed with the concourse feel of the park. It just seemed cluttered with a bunch of concession carts rather than built in concession stands. It really got bad as the game began because the lines got pretty bad, especially when you notice that there were not that many people at the game. Boy would it totally stink to try to get concessions during a sold out game if that ever happens here.

The game itself did not improve the ballpark experience at all unless you were a Phillies fan, which there were probably more of than Blue Jays fans today or at least close to the same. The Philies totally dominated beating the Blue Jays 10 to 0. I really wanted to the Blue Jays to win since the Phillies are on top of the Nats division, but that hope was soon gone with them scoring 4 in the top of the first with 2 two-run homers.

The Blue Jays never really even had a chance with only four innings getting four men up to bat and that is the most they had up to bat in any inning. They had a few singles, but only one guy even got to second and that was on a double in the sixth. After that double the last 10 batters of the game were retired in order. The only interesting thing was the Blue Jays pitcher having a three up three down 2nd inning in which he struck out all three batters faced.

Overall second worst ballpark experience of the trip. Dodger Stadium is still the worst because the atmosphere ruined what could have been a good game and the seats were not cheap and were horrible. At least the more expensive seats we ended up upgrading to turned out to be almost worth the extra paid for them. We loved the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday, but we are ready to go back to the States as far as baseball road tripping is concerned. Sure there are some great things worth doing in Canada (i.e. Fishing!!!), but getting out of here as fast as we can on a baseball road trip is a must. I realy wish I had planned for us to drive to Cooperstown after today’s afternoon game and not tomorrow morning.

Update 6/28/09: Now have added photos from the game. Also, forgot to mention about the FedEx delivering the game balls to center field with the mascot signing before the game. Photos of that below. Might seem trivial, but Dad missed it and did not believe it happened because it was not like he left his seat. So, here is the photo proof.