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Published: July 21st 2016
The past two days have been awesome! I essentially decided to come west this summer before the cruise because I wanted to see the Jays play somewhere on the road. They didn't disappoint - two big wins! But first off I want to give major kudos to the fans in Arizona - they're good sports and they're super friendly.
So yes, yesterday was a recoop day - get final things organized for the cruise, repack some things and just veg in air-conditioning before heading off to Chase Field. I went early because I wasn't sure what time the gates opened. Turns out it's 1.5hrs before instead of 2hrs... but that's ok, I just hung out with all the Jays fans. I met people from Vancouver to Moncton, but the vast majority of people were West coasters. And judging by the lines outside, Jays' fans were out-numbering DBacks like 5:1 lol. We sure do like to travel to see our boys.
I decided to try my luck down along the first base line to see if any of the players would do autographs. Often they will, but there was a hella big gang of us... I was standing beside a nice couple from Edmonton with a baby. She was a freakin' cutie pie - only 5 mths old. The Jays were in the middle of their batting practice - the pitchers were out in the outfield catching. Well, Grilli and Cecil were catching... the others were just kind of chatting. Cecil was really going for some of them. I couldn't help but smile... I so want him to succeed and refind that magic from before. Grilli was good with the fans in the outfield - he was sassing some DBack fans lol and played a game of catch with a little boy up and over the wall. He waved at us, but didn't come over.
I was skeptical that anyone would sign since the group had really grown, but out came JD. He has the rep of signing a lot - good on him because he really doesn't have to. It's crazy watching the attack of the fans... people throwing/waving things in his face, constantly yelling his name, men pushing kids out of the way... ahem. Me and my Edmonton fans were near the end of the section, so we weren't really sure he'd come all the way down. But as I watched him, I noticed a bit of a pattern of who he'd sign for and who he'd skip. I loved it. Love, love, loved it. Good on you JD. Some guys he skipped near the beginning tried to come wedge their way near me and the Edmonton girls. One of the moms was like "I dare you to even brush a finger against my baby". Yesssss you go mama bear. The guys moved a little bit further, on the other side of me.
Josh did make it down to us - signed for the Edmontons, for me (my god his voice and his eyes... I just can't) and the kids nearby, but totally iced the guys. A thing of beauty. Be respectful and you'll get respect back dudes.
No one else came out to sign or chat, so I went in search of food and beer. While getting my beer the lady was remarking how many nice Canadians she was meeting today haha. Yes, we are quite the number.
The game itself was great. We started off strong - you could hear more people singing along to O Canada than to the American anthem lol. I had seats near first base - excellent view. Jays fans were all over our section so we had the MVP chant going, along with Tulo chants and "let's go Blue Jays" on more than one occasion 😊 Wonderful! The poor DBack fans in our area just kind of grinned and beared it. One funny moment was when Tulo struck out and they tried to start a Tu-NO chant after our Tulo one lol.
Today I went back for a day game and once again opted to try for autographs. I was standing with a guy from Ottawa (what are the chances..!) who now lives in TO and a family from Calgary. Every time someone would walk by, they'd ask who they were - yes, I'm the keeper of all important info like that.
We had pretty good luck. Grilli started signing almost right away - he was a champ, saying hello to everyone and asking "how are you" and actually responding back. He has the best accent. He was great with the kids too - really taking the moment to connect. The best was this couple of kids that had drawn on Bautista beards - he offered them a razor before then razzing them a bit about how he hopes they didn't use Sharpies lol 😉 A couple people asked Grilli how he liked TO - "oh man I love it man" was his answer both times haha. The fans, the atmosphere, the desire to win, the guys - and how he grew up a Jays fan, so obv loving it.
I had a good laugh when he got to me - I don't think he knew what our towels looked like from last year, so he was a little perplexed. "Are we coming together? I think we are. We're climbinnnnn' on upppp" Indeed you are.
Drew Storen then came out to grab him. He literally came up behind him and hugged him to get his attention - wish I had my camera out haha. They had a pitchers meeting, so Grilli had to bounce. Oddly enough Osuna came out not long after - he didn't sign, but he said hello to the crowd. He then started playing catch with the coaches. Towards the end he was throwing from almost the opposite end of the outfield - the coach had to be good and certain he got his glove up in time... otherwise there would have been quite a few kids in the ER. It was more fun watching the short throws, when he'd really let it fly. I love the sound of the fastball hitting the glove.
Biagini lumbered on over after that. A part of me has wondered if he's actually that awkward... or if it's a tv/camera thing... but yeah, no, he's that awkward haha. Good heart though. He spent so much time with the kids - really chatting them up. I actually didn't think he was going to make his way down towards us since he was spending so much time, but he did. When he saw the towel he made a bit of a face and kind of twisted and turned it around. "Oh a towel. Are you sure you want me to sign it?" I laughed and said yes, please. "Ok, if you're sure... but what if it bleeds? You know, where you use it... because it's a towel... and it's hot out... so maybe you'll need it... since it's hot." I just looked at him - I had no words. He is so freakin' odd, but in a sweet way.
I abandoned my post after that - I figured no one else would come out since most of the guys didn't do BP. I grabbed a beer and a churro dog which was my odd-food-item-of-the-park. It's... what you'd expect, I suppose: a churro, in a pastry ("bun"), topped with whipped cream, frozen yogurt and choco sauce. It was ok. The churro didn't taste very fresh, but otherwise it would have been amazing.
As the game got underway I had fun watching the mascot (Baxter the bobcat) torment a few of the Jays 😉 He chased after Tulo and started hugging him, walking alongside. Tulo looked so unsure about what to do lol. Baxter then danced in front of Thole (who was leaning over the dugout rail) - to up the ante, Baxter pulled his pants down and started shaking his ass in Thole's face - his ass had 'boxers' that said "got heeeeeeeeem". I was laughing so hard. Thole was laughing too. Baxter then moved on to Sanchez and started stroking both sides of his face. What a gem. Another fun DBacks moment was a karoake bit they had on the big screen - one of their players was belting out "Hello" and it was the funniest thing ever. Way to commit, dude. Kudos.
The game itself was great, once again. Donaldson made it rain (literally - his HR landed in the pool) and EE hit another no-doubter. Stroman running the bases was a thing of beauty, especially watching him slide. Once again I was sitting in Blue Jay territory - we had quite a few chants going throughout the game.
And that's that. Tomorrow I make my way to Miami, and I won't be posting during the cruise since I won't have wifi, so that wraps it up for another summer!
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