So Begins the Arencibi-era
I floated a few titles for this blog post: "The greatest baseball player of all time", "Finally, a player with initials on the Jays who doesn't suck", and "Lick my balls, James Shields" to name a few. But, I decided not to focus on JP Arencibia, but to focus on the event that was yesterday's ball game. Lucky for me, I took it in first hand from right behind the Jays' dugout. Here is a retro-diary (Thanks Bill Simmons) of my experience at what I can only describe as the greatest ball game of all time. Of course, these times are almost certainly inaccurate:
one week ago, 5:30 pm: Get an email from a connection at MLB. 3 tickets to Blue Jays vs. (Devil) Rays, fully compensated...everything is falling into place nicely.
flash forward to Saturday morning
12:20 pm: arrive at the ticket window. Anxiety is abound as to where the seats might be. We spend the 5 minutes in line convincing ourselves that it doesn't matter if the tickets are no good. "Hey, they're free, that's good in itself!". Thankfully, when we got the seats, we could drop the BS. 3rd row behind the Jays dugout. I spend the next ten minutes in the washroom cleaning up my gism.
12:45 pm: sitting in our seats, talking about how we're better than everyone in the stadium rows 4 and back. Sean Marcum pops his head out of the dugout and seems to be looking for someone in the stands. "Hey Sean!" I yell. "Sean!" "Hey Buddy!" Marcum seems to take to my annoying screams. He lifts his right arm above the dugout where I can see it and throws a ball in my direction. I make the one handed grab. "Come down after the game, I'll sign that for you," he says. Sweet. The game hasn't started and I have a ball, a beer, and a slice of pizza. Perfect, right? Well, it gets better...kind of. The ball is signed by none other than Brian Butterfield #55. What a minor thrill. Can I use that ball to play catch? No offense coach, but I think so.
1:14 pm: Top of the first ends on a K by Brad Mills. This guy I had heard a couple of things about, JP Arensomethingerother (he wasn't famous just yet), starts running back to the dugout. He looks to the stands. "Hey JP!" "Over Here!". Just like that, a second ball is in my possession. For a little context, I've never come within two sections of a foul ball. Now I have 2 before the end of the first. Could anything make this moment better? How about a little charitable donation. I turn around, point to a kid that seems to be in a little brother-big brother outing. "Hey kid, you want the ball?" The kid doesn't know what to say. His big brother starts nodding. I toss him the ball. "Enjoy," I say. I spend the next 3 inning fighting off women who are trying to rip off my shirt. To recap: its the middle of the first-I have a signed baseball, a cold beverage, a slice of pizza, a sunburn, and a guaranteed spot in heaven. Somebody pinch me. (The only downside of the game so far: the fat Tampa Bay fan who yells, "Hey Ben Zobrist" and does the same for all of the Rays until they acknowledge him is nowhere to be seen. If you've never encountered the man, just know that he looks just like the fat man
who was robbed in the Seinfeld Finale.)
1:25 pm: Vernon Wells steps to the plate. The guy behind me yells, "Let's go now, kid!" The fact that he was calling V-dub "kid" meant bad things for what this guy was going to be calling out once he was a few brews in. Let's just say that this guy ended up calling the Jays "kids" more times than Joe Carter referred to his home run when he was doing colour commentary for TSN.
1:48 pm: Edwin Encarnacion hits a ground rule double. Up comes the #9 hitter, JP Arencibia. There is only a mild buzz in the less-than-knowledgeable crowd. Come on people. This guy has 31 home runs in AAA! He is our catcher of the future! He is-- BOOM!--my thoughts are interrupted as he slugs the first pitch into the left-field bullpen. The crowd erupts. A guy a section over is having an acid flashback to Junior Felix's first ever at-bat. Speaking of acid, perhaps it helped when this person made up this incredible Blue Jays video
. Anyway, when Arencibia gets back to the dugout, the crowd immediately sits down. C'mon! This guy just hit the first pitch he has ever seen for a home run, yet, no curtain call. Can we please have mandatory lessons on "how to be a sports fan"? Isn't this a worthwhile investment for the future of our city? Another good example of why this is necessary: see the Bills in Toronto games where the fans sit silently as the opposition drives down the field. Horrifying. Anyway, screw transit, this needs to be on the top of any future mayors agenda. You must take the "How to be a Sports Fan" crash course in order to gain admittance to a sporting event. Creates jobs, makes our city more appealing for athletes, will increase tourism-as our fans will be perfect...has no downsides. Let's get it done.
2:15 pm: Adam Lind and Aaron Hill go back-to-back. In other news that must be made up: peace has been declared in the Middle East, Bryan Colangelo has made a good trade for the Raptors, and Sam Cosentino has been named "Best play-by-play guy in the world".
Fast forward to the 6th...
3:05 pm: Arencibia hits his 2nd homer of the game. Everyone goes crazy. People are clapping. Many are hugging. An orgy breaks out in the left-field bleachers. JP gets his curtain call. Awesome. It's at this moment when Arencibia guarantees himself an evening with absolutely any lady he wants in the city. He's young, painfully hunky, and goes 4-5 with 2 dingers in his MLB debut. What's the over/under on how many women he slept with last night? 20? 30? Bottom line is that I'm pretty sure he has an STD now. Let's trade him before anyone finds out. Smart move by Cito sitting him for today's game. If George Costanza taught me anything, its that abstaining from sex makes you a genius and great at baseball and that the reverse is true as well. It was nice while it lasted, JP. When's D'Arnaud gonna get the call-up?
4:15 pm: Game ends after a brutal top of the 9th where David Purcey proved that he can't be our closer of the future. Arencibia gets 2 pies to the face, a Gatorade shower, a water shower and then 2 more pies to the face. Very original. Interesting fact: Jesse Litsch can't pitch, but he can lift a tub of water and dump it on a rookie. Nice.
So, there it is. A brief review of what was a perfect game down at the artist formerly known as Skydome. If anyone wants to see my Brian Butterfield signed baseball, too bad. That baby is mine forever.