It was a very quiet night at the ball park on Tuesday. Fitting, actually, because it was a terrible game. The Jays lost 6 – 3 and it might as well have been 100 – 3.
But for my friends and I, it was an outstanding experience. The weather was hot, the beers were cold, and the entertainment level in the upper deck was high.
The row ahead of us was occupied by a group of guys wearing matching camouflage hats, identical goatees, and Pro Bass fishing gear. The seats beside were filled by three drunk girls, including one who openly poured vodka straight from a mickey of Smirnoff into a coke cup, yelled “Go Jays” in an extremely slurred voice before passing out on the railing and spitting up onto the ground. She was promptly ejected.
While that may have been the highlight for many, it paled in comparison to the eventual winner of the Fan of the Game award.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 500 Level Fan of the Game for May 31st – the Nicest Man in the World.
He showed up towards the 4th, blue shirt, blue pants, and white running shoes. He was carrying a shower radio, which he undoubtedly had tuned to Jerry Howarth. One look at his face was all you needed to realize that he was indeed the Nicest Man in the World.
He had kind eyes and an intelligent face. He was constantly smiling. He stopped to say a few words to those around him. He was happy when the Jays did something well, but he also appreciated good baseball by the Indians, rewarding them with polite applause when they made a nice play in the field.
A few innings after his arrival, a man wearing a full denim outfit walked up the stairs and sat beside Nicest. The two spoke for several minutes – about what we’ll never know. But it was plain for all to see that the Nicest Man was all ears, helping an old friend through some kind of problem. When the man stood to leave, Nicest gave him a firm handshake, a pat on the back, and a smile.
It’s a rare day when the Fan of the Game wins the award for kindness and not lunacy.
It didn’t matter that Toronto was being drubbed 6-0 at the time. The Nicest Man in the World made all of us feel happy and worthy.