Sunday, May 20, 2012

Joey's World Tour: Weekend In Toronto

Hey, buddy!  This is Joey Beartran, fresh off a trip where I went north of the border to Canada - Toronto, to be precise.  Although my Studious Metsimus colleague didn't make the trip (he says he didn't have a passport; I think he was just afraid the Jason Bay fan club would come after him for all the negative posts he's written about him over the years), I was able to attend the series, bringing my ace reporter skills with me.

First, let's talk about the trip itself.  I flew into Buffalo, where I was supposed to take a bus to Toronto.  That didn't exactly work out as planned, as the driver of the bus must not have known he was supposed to leave at the time on the schedule.  Dang metric system.  (Yes, I know the metric system has nothing to do with time, but I just wanted to blame it for something.)

Fortunately, I had a friend in Canada, Mr. Ray Stilwell, who drove me to Toronto so I could make it to Saturday's game on time.  I also met a new bear in the Mets community, Megabuster Bison, who looked like he'd be ready to come into the game the next time Terry Collins picked up the bullpen phone (see photo below).

J.B. and M.B. (and a salt shaker)

Before making our trek to Toronto, we stopped for breakfast, where I sampled some delicious apple pancakes and blueberry pancakes.  After all, just like a certain brand of potato chip, I can't have just one type of pancake.  (Actually, that pretty much applies to all food.  I can't have just one of anything.)

After stuffing my face, we drove around Lake Ontario (mainly because I can't swim) and headed north to Toronto, where we stopped outside the Hockey Hall of Fame and then headed to the ballpark formerly known as the Skydome.

Now named the Rogers Centre, the Mets were making their fourth trip to that ballpark.  Although the Mets have never lost to the Blue Jays in New York - going 9-0 in three home series against Toronto - on the road, it's a different story.  After Friday night's 14-5 annihilation at the hands of the Blue Jays, the Mets were just a .500 team at the Skydome/Rogers Centre.  I thought my presence at the ballpark would push the Mets back over .500 in Toronto.  I thought wrong.

Apparently, my presence at the ballpark wasn't even enough to impress the Blue Jays' mascot, Ace.

Brandon Morrow, who had only pitched two shutouts in 79 career starts, blanked the Mets over nine innings.  Of course, he needed some assistance from the second base umpire, who blew a call on what should have been a Mike Baxter double in the ninth inning.  Had the right call been made, the Mets would have had the tying runs in scoring position with one out and Daniel Murphy coming to bat.  Daniel Murphy still batted, but it was with two outs and only one runner on base.  Unfortunately, I did not know the Canadian equivalent of 911, or else I would have called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate the robbery that took place at second base.

So the Mets dropped to 5-6 all-time in Toronto after their 2-0 loss.  Sigh.  However, they did win the series finale to move back to the break-even mark at the Rogers Centre, surviving another uneven effort by Frank Francisco.  Of course, by then, we had already crossed back into the States and didn't get to witness it firsthand.

Okay, that was the game recap.  Now it's time to take off my reporter's cap and put on my culinary expert cap.  Besides, you're really more interested in seeing the food photos then reading about a shutout loss, eh?  (Sorry, I'm still in Canadian-speak mode.)  Here they are!

Top photo: Apple pancakes and a shameless plug of Faith and Fear in Flushing on Ray's shirt.  Second photo: Blueberry pancakes with powdered sugar.  They were absolutely scrumtrillescent.  Third photo: Poutine, a Canadian delicacy.  It's actually french fries with cheese curds and gravy.  Bottom photo: They have chicken nachos in Canada!  (And service line signs to avoid confusion.)

Overall, I enjoyed my first road trip outside the United States.  The food was excellent, as always, but the baseball left a little to be desired.  I also wasn't too impressed with the Rogers Centre, as it doesn't have the charm some of the other ballparks I've visited have, such as PNC Park, AT&T Park and Camden Yards.  It's got a hotel in the outfield.  That's it.  I almost expected an usher to say "move along, nothing to see here" as I was making my way around the ballpark to see if there was anything else worth seeing.

I was also looking for the CN Tower while I was at the ballpark, but I couldn't find it.  I mean, it's the tallest structure in the country, so I thought it would be impossible to miss.  Oh, well.  There's always next time.

 I didn't find the CN Tower, but I did find a great place to shade myself from the sun.

That's all for this chapter in the never-ending Joey's World Tour.  I hope you enjoyed being part of my latest baseball stadium trip.  If everything goes as planned (unlike that early morning bus trip out of Buffalo), I should be making trips to Tampa, Phoenix and Milwaukee later this year, where I hope to bring you more news and nuggets from those cities' ballparks (including which ballpark has the shortest chicken nacho line). 

Hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of Toronto and the Rogers Centre.  Until next time, keep believing in your team and let's go Mets!  See you on the road!

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