To say that it was chilly outside during the Jays’ season opener would be an understatement. Fortunately—and it’s rare that this is a fortunate event—the Rogers Centre’s roof was closed. Underneath it, 48,027 fans awaited the start of what almost everyone is predicting will be a mediocre season, at best.
Unlike last year’s home opener against the powerhouse Boston Red Sox, yesterday’s game against the Detroit Tigers was expected to fall a bit flat. But that turned out not to be the case, after the Jays scored four runs off of Detroit’s starting pitcher, Justin Verlander (who was throwing at around ninety-eight miles per hour) in the bottom of the first. The streak continued, and the Jays found themselves up 9-1 after the fourth inning, before things got shaky in the top of the seventh, when the Tigers scored four runs. Fortunately, a late rally provided the Jays with a 12-5 victory.
In spite of the the win, Jays fans missed the mark on decorum. It seemed, at first, as though the crowd would be tame on a Monday night (last year’s home opener was on a Friday). With two men on base in the middle of the Jays’ eighth inning rally, though, fans started throwing paper planes and garbage onto the field, prompting the Detroit outfielders to head for the dugout. It’s not uncommon to see this happen if the home team is behind in a dirty game, but the Jays were winning. What’s worse, it quickly became apparent that fans were also throwing baseballs at the opposing team, and the game was halted for about five minutes as a direct result. The odd paper plane can be funny, but chucking baseballs is just lame.
But aside from this, the start of the 2009 season was mostly a positive experience: every Jay got at least one hit and the heavy bass in Travis Snider’s hip hop intro music was worthy of a laugh every time he went up to bat. Lines for beer and food were long, but fans should be happy that the ban against selling alcohol imposed on the Rogers Centre excluded opening day. As for the Jays’ level of play, hopefully it wasn’t too much of a tease. Halladay can’t pitch every game.