500 Level Fans of the Game – September 5th, 2011

Baseball is, and has always been, a real father and son sport.  For decades, dad’s have been teaching their boys how to catch, how to throw, and how to watch the game.  It’s very common to see fathers and sons flocking into a big league stadium together, the kid wearing a glove, and a look of excitement on his face.

In this day and age, with so many different avenues available for kids to have fun – like videogames, skateboarding, football, and hockey – it’s nice to see that baseball still has the ability to bring fathers and sons together.  Mrs. 500 Level Fan and I witnessed it first hand yesterday.

It was unseasonably cool in Toronto on Labour Day, but the roof was still open.  The atmosphere was festive as the Red Sox, and thousands of their annoying and arrogant fans, were in town.  While Boston was trying to fend off the harging Rays for the Wild Card spot, the Jays were simply playing out the string, so the tension in the dome was almost non-existent.  It was a holiday and the last day before school – people were there to have fun.

And in the row in front of us, a father and his son were doing just that.  Having a blast. 

It started out quiet for them, with the dad reading the program, and learning how to keep score.  The son was quiet in his seat, watching the game.  But then, as the innings wore on, and the score remained tied, the anticipation and excitement built between them.  Suddenly the son was up and dancing in between batters.  In between innings when crappy Rogers Centre give-aways were happening, the son was again on his feet, dancing to the music.  The dad was clapping for him, egging him on for more.  When Jose Bautista was introduced for an at-bat late in the game, huge cheers erupted from both of them.

Then in the 8th, with the game still scoreless and both teams having missed great opportunities, the father reached over and put his arm around his son.  And there they sat.  For two whole innings, arm in arm.  During any musical breaks, they would dance in their seats, rocking back and forth.  Whenever a Blue Jay came to the plate, there was cheers.  If he struck out, unlike other fans who yelled “Come on you bum”, or “Seriously?”, the dad and son simply shouted “Next time Lind!”, or “Good try.”

It was great, and very refreshing, to see.

Unfortunately the dad didn’t follow the golden rule of baseball. 

Never.  Leave.  Early.

After the Jays failed to score in the 10th, the two of them stood up and headed for the exits.  It was all I could do to not reach out and grab them, tell them to stick around.  They missed the walkoff HR from Lawrie, which is a shame.

It would have been awesome to see their celebration.

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