Oh the season it was supposed to be…..wasn’t that bad actually.
Right after the multi player trade was made, the reports from Vegas came in. Jays 8-1 to go to the World Series… Whaaat! Oh my, this is the year guys. Its 92 all over again. We built the team up full of Vets and guys we like. We got a new Manager, well sorta new… What could go wrong?
There are plenty of other blogs that go into way more specific details and stats and on what went wrong technicaly. I am going to sum it up for the purpose of redundancy. Keep in mind these are just my opinions. I want to stick to my experience as a consumer to the product, The season Ticket purchase.
1. Chemistry. Yes all these guys ( or a good lot of them ) are all super talented and came with good resumes, but none of them new each other. I believe Boston tried this the year before and how did that work out for them? Every Major League athlete is light years above 99.9% of the rest of us in their craft. Yet there’s only one team that wins it all. As history dictates over and over again, you don’t have to be the strongest, biggest, fastest, to win. You have to gel as a collective unit to produce a greater combined result better than solo in team sports. From the start of Spring Training this wasnt happening. A few core guys were not even there ( WBC ). You need that time to learn each other and it rarely takes just 2 months to get it.
2. Fundamental Baseball. We saw a lot of sloppy baseball fundamentals going on the first half of the year. This is one area where I think the coaching could have been a little more whip cracking in. Defense wins championships…
3. Starting Pitching. Blogged to death. All I will say is that you need a rock solid starting 4-5 rotation. Dont have it, you are in big trouble.
4. Injuries. Something is up with the Jays in this dept. Last 2 years now we have seen an insane amount of injuries. Cant expect to win if you’re A list guys are not on the field. Even worse if they are your starting pitchers.
5. Stranding runners in scoring position. That’s just not good. We led the league in it for a bit…
Quick back story. ( Skip if you know why i got the full season )
Having always wanted to do this, back in Nov 12 this seemed like the perfect time. It was on my bucket list to have Season’s and I really wanted some of the perks that came with. I am a big kid at heart and getting to meet some of the players, getting some time on the field, etc was pretty cool. I don’t sell any autographed balls I get. They all go into the man cave and are displayed proudly. The biggest sell for getting a full 81 season games, is that my insane work schedule prohibits me from ever knowing when and what days Ill have off. That scratches out any sort of flexpack ticket deal that requires hard dates. So the only viable option, to get the tickets to the games i want is to work backwards. Buy the whole season and get rid of the tickets I can’t go to. Insert friends here____________
Why the 500s???
There are a ton of 500 level seats at Rogers Centre, and they are all priced the same. It’s very very easy to get these tickets. It’s not very easy to get the first or second row between the bases. Most Row 1’s are all scalper ticket or long-term season ticket holders. If I was going to invest the cash on a full season I would only do it if I could acquire row 1 or 2 and it would have to be between the bases. As luck had it, there were some in row 2! As of now there are no more I was told. Another reality is that you are going to eat some tickets you just cant get rid of. Losing $11-14 does not hurt like losing $50-70 a pop.
These seats are probably the best deal in the entire MLB. You have to keep in mind the confines which we are talking about. The Rogers Centre is still an 80’s design and built multiplex massive dome, that’s to big for MLB and to small for NFL. Yes they are high up, but Row 1 is not. Every row goes up about 4ft. So the first 3 rows are fine. After that its steep. They are only a little farther from the field horizontally than the Club seats in the 200s, or back rows of the 100s.
The Fans up here. Yes in the past the 500s were where every drunk college kid could be found. I was guilty of that from 97-2002. On a Friday night, it’s always a rowdy bunch. This year though I found it to be toned way down. I got to meet a bunch of good people from all over who were just true baseball fans up here. Because its affordable, there are a ton of families coming out to the ballpark, especially on weekends. I could not get over how busy it was on weekends. I think every weekend game I went to had over 38-41K tickets sold. Any promotional give-away was a sellout.
I have sat in every section of the Rogers Centre more times than once except the In The Action seats, ( I don’t have $16,200 per seat to drop on those). For those you need to know someone to sell you one from their season tickets, and there $200 face value. Mostly corporate tickets there. For certain games, its great to upgrade a ticket and sit on the dugout or behind the dish. But there were many times this year that I was down in the 100s, and decided to go up to the 500’s just for the atmosphere. You can talk base baseball up their way easier that sitting next to a very quite couple whom received the tickets as a gift and are not into baseball much.
The best thing the Jays ever did for everyone was to open up the whole Rogers Centre to everyone. The 100s, 200s, and 500s, can all be accessed by anyone, of course you need a ticket to sit in the appropriate section. Just like most of the newer style Retro parks. Gone are the days of being a second class citizen if you had 500 Level tickets. I hated that so much, I would not go. I’d rather driver to see the jays in other parks. Why is this so good?? Options!
You can go watch BP, then leave. This give you a chance to get autographs, catch BP home runs from the outfield, get toss ups from players and brings the level of intimacy back to the best sport for it. Everyone and especially the kids get something special from being down at field level where they can interact with the players. Even if they are not sitting there for the game. Just knowing that you were down there, and now watching from a different view makes you feel more part of the whole experience.
Food Choices. Gone are the days of eating only whats available in your specific section. Now I can go to watch BP, grab a Tim Hortons Coffee , and a hot brisket sandwich and take it up stairs with me. I love that.
The 200 level porch. Again, everyone with a ticket can go checkout the view from just above the batters eye. This is a great place to meet up if you are with a big group who is not sitting together. Also great to Chirp the away teams Center Fielder.
Season Ticket holder Special Events.
State of the Franchise meeting– It was nice to actually meet the front office. There was complimentary food and drinks. I got to meet the front office. Paul Beeston, Alex Anthopoulos John Gibbons, Buck Martinez, and Jack Morris, all whom were very nice and took a lot of time with us. Wish I brought a baseball for Mr Morris to sign.
Season Ticket Holder Appreciation day. Getting to meet the Jays was AWESOME. I wanted a Jose Bautista signed ball in 2013. That was the goal and I got it. I wish I had known what to expect or I would have a lot more signed baseballs for the Man Cave. Yes it was busy, but hey, it was great. Playing catch in the outfield was great too.
Batting Practice. This was actually a let down. I really thought the Jays would interact with us a bit more. Ive seen other times where players come over and sign or take pics. It could be that they just came out of a meeting and were probably not in the best mood. I respect that. I did get some great pics, but some players came over to people next to me they knew, i mean right next to me, and would not even acknowledge us. I wish we could have stayed to watch the visiting team also. I ended up going over to the LA Dodgers dugout where I got Yusiel Puig, Andre Either, and Don Mattingly to sign some balls. That was awesome! Big fans off all three. I was quite surprised that the Dodgers were more approachable to the Toronto fans than the Jays were that day.
Jays Clinic, No clue, didn’t do it.
My 2013 Highlights
– Opening night was cool having never been before. I know its more of a Toronto social event but it’s still fun in your own seats.
– The Return of John Farrell night had one of the loudest crowds I have heard in the Dome.
– Taking friends from around the world and around Canada to games was great.
– Seeing the SF Giants and the LA Dodgers and getting some autographs was awesome, ( I am a NYC baseball history nut).
– Having my one of my favourite Jays of all time, Roberto Alomar on my flight was epic. Again, such a nice down to earth guy, ( total fluke but ill take it).
– Watching Kawasaki, pretty much all the time.
– The 11-0 run was great while it was going.
– Meeting the Bautista, Reyes, Dickey, DeRosa, Lind, and more Jays
– Getting to know other ballpark chasers who travel to all the other parks was a wealth of knowledge.
– Going to Target Field (one of, if not my favourite park so far) and finally watching the Mets Citi Field
-Eating a Shake Shack burger at Citi Field. Thx Mav.
– Catching an in-game foul ball from Chris Ianetta of the LA Angeles
– Finally waiting till the Jays Care Garage sale to get my new Henderson Alverez Authentic jersey the day he throws a No Hitter ( I miss ya Henderson ) for $75, proceeds to charity.
– The biggest highlight was getting a BP Ball that I caught minutes before having it signed by legendary Yankees Closer Mariano Rivera was beyond words. This was to be the last game he will ever close in Toronto and he the Save that night. It was surreal. Only time I was happy the Jays lost.
With everything listed above, plus a great birds eye view of the whole Stadium I had a great 2013 season. I ended up eating 5 games that went unused. I even tried to give them away for free. Still 5 out of 81, not bad. Because of all the support from my friends who came through to take the 51 games I could not attend, I will be able to renew my subscription for the 2014 season. If we can follow in Boston’s footsteps it should be a great year.
Thanks to the Jays staff for answering my questions and to all the players, fans, and support staff that makes Baseball awesome.