It was May 3rd, 1993. The Blue Jays had recently won their 1st World Series and were now starting the 1993 season (which they would also win). Somehow the Jays management had arranged for the Blue Jays to come to Regina, Saskatchewan on an off-day to play an exhibition game. My childhood best-friend and I couldn’t have been more excited both being massive Blue Jays fans.
We snuck out of elementary school early that day, I got my mom to cover my paper route, and we got a ride to Taylor Field which is the same venue that the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team plays out of. Many stadiums have standard football AND baseball configurations. Taylor Field… not so much. Essentially the staff had created a baseball rectangle. The left field home-run fence was approximately 450 feet away, the centre-field 90-degree corner was about 500 feet, and the right field wall was approximately 200 feet.
No one cared. Why would we? We just wanted to see our favourite baseball team and I believe it was a sell out. I can’t remember the details of the game well, but I seem to remember Roberto Alomar being the only one to hit a home-run. I think he even hit two. It was the after-game experience that I’ll never forget. It went like this:
Friend: “Let’s wait by the tour bus to see if we can get some autographs.”
Me: “What can we get signed?”
Friend: “How about our hats?”
Me: “You’re wearing a White Sox hat.”
So we waited patiently by the bus. Then all of the sudden, the window above us opened and it was like a heavenly light was shining upon us. Roberto Alomar looked out the window and started signing autographs for us eager kids. I took off my Jays hat and my friend took off his White Sox hat and we passed them to Robbie. Time passed, then slowed right down like in the scenes of Inception. Robbie’s hand emerged with the White Sox hat. One finger released. Two fingers released. Three, four, and finally five fingers released the hat into the air. It fell. It whirled. It caught a gust of wind and floated. Then it dive-bombed to the ground.
My friend picked up the hat and frantically examined it. Nothing… nothing… no wait……… nothing. I laughed as my friend stood there in dismay and I thought, Way to go Robbie! It’s Blue Jays or nothing!
When I got home, I immediately put the hat away and I told my mom that I would never wear it again because it had to be worth at least $100. I dreamed I’d never have to deliver another newspaper again and that I could retire at 14.
Happy new year and “lets go Blue Jays” 20 years later in 2013!