March 10, 2009
Italy. Italy! Team Canada, ousted from the World Baseball Classic, by Italy. No offence to Italy but, well, they're Italy. No matter how much I've been drinking the past few days, that's rough.
The World Baseball Classic tournament just began for Canada. And, just like that, it's over. Ended in our own backyard, no less. Cue immense sadness.
I'll be honest, I drank a lot during Canada's two games. But I'm pretty sure I didn't see Toronto Blue Jay, and The Blue Jay Hunter man-crush, Scott Richmond throw a pitch. Why not? What was he being saved for? I'm off Ernie Whitt. Huge.
It sucked to see the homeland go out like complete bitches, especially to bloody Italy, but the tournament wasn't a complete loss. After all, on Saturday afternoon, I got to experience firsthand what PLAYOFFS!!!!1 baseball would be like at the Rogers Centre.
My man Lloyd at Ghostrunner on First wrote about it, and the Drunks wrote about it, too. The atmosphere was electric. Everyone was on their feet, hanging on to each and every pitch. It was loud. It was, frankly, the opposite experience than you'd expect at the Dome for a baseball game. Sure, Canada lost 6-5, but it didn't matter. Meaningful baseball - for all intents and purposes, playoff baseball - was played at the Rogers Centre, and I was there. It was magical.
Canada may have been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic last night, but let it never be said that Toronto is not a baseball town. My city proved that it was, and is, on Saturday afternoon.
You know, there's still 162 games to be played, but it sure is a good thing the Toronto Blue Jays will be taking part in playoff baseball this October. The Cable Box will be rocking, much like it was over the weekend. The Jays are winning the pennant, after all.
UPDATE: Make sure you read Stephen Brunt's column, Arrivederci, Canada, in today's Globe and Mail.
Excerpt: "On Saturday it felt as if baseball had returned to Canada for real, for the first time in a long, long time.
"A big crowd filled two-thirds of the Rogers Centre. There was a crackle of emotion in a place not known for it in the past decade and a half. And the plucky underdog Canadian national team ... repaid the fans in full by battling to the last out against the all-star Americans.
"If you love the game, it made your heart sing. All of those wheel-spinning Blue Jays seasons when it seemed as if the sport would never again be first in the city's heart, and still when you give people a reason to really care, it seems they will."
Clearly, that shit made me cry. Read it. Toronto is a baseball town. Believe it. Brunt is a rudey.