THE SPORTING VIEWS
Baseball IS played in Canada
By JOE EWING
ITTAKES diehard - or crazy - baseball fans to follow
s their favorite team 265 miles into a foreign country.
'.Especially when that team is five games out and fading
At least that was what many Canadian diamond fans
thought when fellow Daily sports writer Jim Davis and I
sjourneyedto Canada last Friday to see the Detroit
Tigers split a doubleheader with the Blue Jays at
Toronto's Exhibition Stadium.
"Going to see a Jays game, eh?" smirked one gas
station attendant along the way. All the attendant's
friend could do was laugh at us hysterically.
"You mean you came all the way from Detroit," asked
another Blue Jay devotee. "You must be proud, or
It was probably a little bit of both.
It all started last Thursday night when J.D. returned
home all fired up from watching the Tigers and Jack
Morris whitewash the Minnesota Twins, 5-0, at Tiger
"Youmwant to go see the Tigers play in Toronto
tomorrow night?" he inquired. "Sure," I replied,
thinking he couldn't be serious.
At noon the next day we were on the road heading for
the border and the great white north.
We were making great time, doing better than 100
(kilometers per hour) all the way across southern On-
tario without one Canadian mounty in sight. We figured
they couldn't catch us anyway because they were on
horseback and we were in a Datsun 210.
Game time was set for 5:30 and we were sure we would
make it in plenty of time the way the kilometers were
flying by, that is until we ran into a big problem: The
Greater Toronto Traffic Jam.'
It was 6:00 p.m. before we even got close to Exhibition
Stadium and ran into another problem, the Canadian
National Exhibition. It seems our neighbors to the north
decided to have their giant, national equivalent to the
Michigan State Fair at the same time we wanted to see
the ba 11game.
We couldn't park within two miles of the stadium.
When we finally found a spot, (for $4 Canadian, eh) it
was in a lot that appeared to have been occupied by a
building as late as that morning.
At it turned out, the tickets, at $2 Canadian (eh), cost
the same as the parking, plus of course an additional $2
for the scalper. However, we soon found out why the
seats were so cheap - we had to sit in the boonies.
It's not to say that we were far away, but you start to
wonder if something is wrong when Lance Parrish looks
like a mole hill instead of a mountain behind homeplate.
Exhibition Stadium is one of those multi-purpose com-
plexes that is used-for baseball and Canadian football, as
well as an occasional concert. During the weekdays it is
also known as the Toronto International Airport.
The score was 2-1, Tigers when we finally arrived.
However this lead was soon erased and turned into a 6-3
deficit by the Toronto half of the sixth thanks to a pair of
homeruns by Jesse Barfield and a single shot by Jorge
The Tigers fought back and tied the game in the
eighth only to have Aurelio (Senior Choke) Lopez throw
two wild pitches in the bottom of the eighth, allowing a
Toronto runner to score from first.
The Tigers didn't roll over and purr yet, though, as
Parrish rocketed out a homer in the top of the ninth and
Larry Herndon doubled in two more in the tenth for a 9-
The outcome of the first contest, along with some
Detroit entrants infiltrating the banner contest the Blue
Jays planned for in between games, brought some of the
Toronto fans fnto an anti-Detroit frenzy. The six and one-
half percent Canadian beer didn't help much either.
Some Toronto fans even got involved in one of their
favorite between-game activities - Yank bashing -
where you grab the nearest U.S. citizen and make ham-
burger out of his face. Fortunately, J.D. and I didn't fall
victim to this cruel sport.
In fact, the fans around us were pretty well-mannered.
There was a group of about six locals sitting in front of us
keeping a collection of all the beer glasses they had em-
ptied. At last count, it was 84 beers between them at $1.85
Canadian (eh) per brew.
"What the (bleep) do you think of our Jays," yelled
one of the locals. "They've finally given us something to
cheer about. By next year they should be able to beat out
Detroit by 17 or 18 games." It's amazing what a little
beer will do to someone's ability to reason.
The Tigers lost the second game, 8-7, thanks to Sparky
Anderson's ingenious decision to start Kirk Gibsin in
right field. With two men on and two out in the Toronto
third, Gibby misplayed two fly-balls into back-to-back
triples, giving the Blue Jays four runs they shouldn't
Actually, nothing we saw Gibson do was worth
cheering (we had missed his home run early in the first
game). Still though, the Toronto fans felt sorry for Gib-
son and cheered him every time he caught a ball during
warmups. What a great thing to do to a pro baseball
player who should have played pro football instead.
Really, the road trip was pretty enjoyable. We got to
see some of the Canadian National Exhibition, as well as
munch on some Exhibition Stadium foot-long hot dogs.
Sorry, though, the Canadian dogs, which were pre-
packaged, couldn't beat the Tiger dogs served down at
the Stadium in Detroit.
On the way back we hit the border and crossed through
customs at 4:00 a.m., right when the customs officials
were the grumpiest. They asked us if we had anything to
declare and we said,."Yea, Kirk Gibson should be sent to
They sure didn't have a sense of humor.
The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 9, 1983 - Page 23
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