Posted by: Asher Roth | April 28, 2010

Musings of a S’Domer

Mark it down on the ole’ personal calendar: April 27th was my first trip to the Skydome (like my pal Matt said in this post, I flat-out refuse to refer to it as the Rogers Centre until I am forced to at gun-point) of 2010.

It was a pretty exciting excuse for a visit. A match up with an eastern division rival. The last game I saw live last season consisted of Doc Halladay getting plastered 7-0 at Fenway Park, so I was hungry for some revenge. Plus, the pitching match-up was a marquee battle between our new “ace”, Shaun Marcum and Boston’s Clay Buchholz, a prominent member of my Yahoo fantasy roster. Conflicted, perhaps?

The first thing I noticed was the general topic of tickets. I decided, for the first time in years, to chat with a couple of scalpers with the hope of actually saving some money. Having just finishing Economics 1000 at school, I figured that the basic laws of supply and demand would work in my favour. Since the team has been drawing some of the worst crowds in its history (hence, demand is DOWN), I figured that we could snag some tickets in a prime spot in the 100 level, since nobody is showing up (supply is UP), and these guys should be happy to earn all that they can. Who knows how much these guys acquired them for anyway? But no, we were offered a whopping one dollar discount in the 15th row in the 500 level.

Sorry, pal. I was not born yesterday. I’d rather actually pay for seats the legal way than save a buck.

I’m sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseum, but the Jays actually raised ticket prices this season, after they traded Doc Halladay and begged for patience for this losing season.

I know that we just passed through a recession, or are still in one, or something, and I know that, because of inflation, the price of just about everything has gone up. But this is not a team worth paying even $16 dollars to see right now.

And it shows. The box office, which, even last season, was busy right before game time, was only half-opened. We got there ten minutes before game time, and were second in our lineup.

Are they offering incentives? After all, we all know that “Free Shit is Good Shit”. No, even beer prices have gone up to over ten bucks. Wanting to save my wallet’s strain from buying an over-priced hot dog on a stale bun that’s only half the dog’s size, I purchased nothing. Having finally smartened up and bought myself a personal scorer’s book, I no longer even dish out the five bucks for the program.

All Rogers offers up now to pump up your game experience are a bunch of chances to text and win stuff. Plus, having scrapped Twonie Tuesdays, they’ve apparently replaced it with TWEETING Tuesdays! Now, fans are greeted almost every inning with a different remix of that “Tweedly tweedly deet” song from god knows when as they’re offered the one-in-a-million chance to win something by tweeting stuff to them during the game. They’d reward the fans by posting their comments on the JumboTron and giving us the opportunity to tweet a question to our hip and cool broadcasters, Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler. Buck told us that he thinks the Jays’ biggest strength this season is their power! Oh Buck, you’re so silly…

And Rogers has found just about every way to take the fans out of the game – even beyond fielding a team that demands little to none of their time. Remember back in the nineties when every foul ball would be marked by cheesy sound effects? Remember when the charge songs and the intro to the car wash song and other reasons to make people clap would ring throughout the stadium? Well, not anymore. Evidently, the new mentality is that silence is golden.

During the second inning, when Shaun Marcum struggled, throwing over 35 pitches, you could actually hear the buzz of conversation throughout the stadium. The crowd was removed from the game completely and it was only the top of the second.

And to think, I’ve gone roughly 700 words, and have only complained about the experience so far. Let’s talk about the game itself.

THE GOOD

  1. Shaun Marcum is taking on where he left off after over a year lost to injury, and it’s a pleasure to watch. While we weren’t too crazy about how long he seems to take in between pitches, he kept the Bo-Sox guessing for all seven innings, allowing only a run on four hits, striking out five. Minus a rough second inning, which strangely happened after Marcum struck out Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew to start things off. He also made a couple great defensive plays in the fifth inning. Unfortunately, because this team only seems to hit when it feels like it, Marcum remains 0-1 in April. Why did Doc leave again?
  2. As I mentioned in my series preview, Clay Buchholz has been, without a doubt, the best Red Sox starter this season, and it showed. Despite a rough first inning, he shut the Jays down for eight innings, allowing six hits (the official scoresheet says seven, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out when this seventh hit occurred) and one run. He’s not flashy, but he’s solid.

THE MEH

  1. Adrian Beltre, who to this day I say is making way more money than he deserves, made a bad throwing error on a ground-out by Vernon Wells. For reasons unknown, Beltre was given an error, but Wells was somehow given a hit on this play, awarded second on the error. If anybody hit in the clutch on this team, that error likely would have cost the Red Sox the game. Lucky for them…
  2. Sure Vernon Wells drove in the Jays’ only run on a double in the first, he also looked clueless when he struck out on three pitches in the fourth and flied out with two guys on in the fifth. He also let a pop-fly drop right in front of him that I thought he could have had. Time for the scoreboard to stop highlighting his Gold Glove…
  3. I will give John Buck credit because he hit a couple of deep fly-balls to the deepest part of the field in the second and ninth innings. He’s not getting the hits, but he seems to be making good contact. However, he also left two guys on in the fourth…
  4. Kevin Gregg did walk in the winning run on four pitches, and received a loud ovation when he finally threw a strike to the next batter. However, he shut them down in the ninth, and showed some cat-like reflexes on Beltre’s line-drive right at him to end the eighth with the bases loaded. Plus this was his first walk of the season, so he deserves some credit there – even if it came at the worst possible time.

THE UGLY

  1. Kevin Youkilis struck out twice and went hitless, and was generally a non-factor in this game.
  2. David Ortiz grounded into a double-play and was 0 for 2. He makes this category because he was actually pinch-hit for with the bases juiced in the eighth. At the height of the steroid era, Big Papi was a beast, both physically and on the score sheet. Now he’s a fat, useless guy that can’t play any defense with a .154 average and a mere four RBI. When your DH can’t be trusted to bat with the bases loaded in a tie game, you’re in trouble.
  3. Am I ever going to stop talking about how awful Lyle Overbay is? No, no I will not. Lyle was hitless (shocker), including a memorable at-bat in eighth, when he came up with a runner on second and one out. After taking a first pitch ball, Lyle half-ass swung at strike one, failed to check his swing for strike two, then struck out looking on the next pitch. Honestly, if someone doesn’t get this guy off the team, and soon, I am going to be forced to pay one of his team-mates to whack at his shins when he’s not expecting it. The guy has absolutely no confidence at the plate, and for reasons beyond me, he’s STILL batting fifth.
  4. As reluctant as I am to say this, because I like the kid, but Travis Snider remains a mess at the plate right now. He popped out uselessly in the seventh and as the prestigious last batter, he grounded out uselessly back to the pitcher. If the Jays are gonna start winning games with consistently, their young phenom needs to be better than 8 hits in 63 at-bats…
  5. Finally, Scott Downs, and the bullpen as a whole, has been a total cluster-fuck. Downs has allowed runs in four of his last six appearances – great news, for a set-up man. In this one, after he struck Marco Scutaro out on a full count, he gave up two straight hits, then walked J.D. Drew to load the bases up. As Pete discussed in his article earlier today, the ‘pen was supposed to be a strength on this team, but they’ve been a disaster. What’s worse is that before the season, there were talks that Downs and Jason Frasor were valuable in the trade market. So much for that pipe dream…

To sum up, this game was not very encouraging for me. To be honest, I’m not surprised that the White Sox media took to bashing the Jays when they were in town. While they’re total hypocrites, as I saw just how brutal attending a Blackhawks game was back when they sucked in ’07, the mere 14,000+ fans that showed up on Tuesday were barely paying attention, half of them were too drunk to see, and the overall experience was just not that enjoyable. Half the fun of going to a game is being a part of a raucous crowd and having things to be excited about. With nobody attending games, and the team playing as badly as it is, something’s gotta give.

If it were up to me, and likely the rest of the city, they could start by lowering their beer prices.

@amgr86

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