What started as just another travel baseball tournament weekend quickly morphed into one of the better trips we’ve had as a family in a while. A week before we were scheduled to leave for London, Ontario for my son’s baseball tournament, I was already whining in my head about the 6+ hour drive ahead. You see, I love the actual tournament experience, I just don’t like the driving part. It’s not even because of the kids because they are excellent passengers, it’s just the physical act of driving that I don’t enjoy at any time whatsoever.
To break up the trip a bit, we decided to take in a Toronto Blue Jays game the day before the tournament began. Through an exclusive opportunity from both Rogers and the Toronto Blue Jays organization, I managed to get passes to watch the Jays batting practice before the game, which I figured would be a cool way to make my son’s experience that much more special.
The batting practice sounded like it was going to be fun as we would get access to the stadium before the gates opened and I assumed we’d sit in the seats behind home plate, watch them hit and then leave. Imagine my surprise as they walked us out onto the field, right behind home plate, and plopped us mere feet away from the whole Blue Jays team, who were warming up right in front of us.
Had that been the whole experience we would have been more than happy, but then the players started coming over with game balls, signing them for the kids and taking pictures with them. My son stood, wide-eyed, as his favourite players passed by, high fiving the kids, and then it happened. While wearing his Aaron Sanchez jersey, my son looked up to see none other than Sanchez himself. I was so excited for him that I forgot to ask Aaron for a nice photo but I guarantee it’s something my boy will never forget.
All in all we got to meet players like Ezekiel Carrera, Ryan Goins, Danny Barnes, Roberto Osuna and manager, John Gibbons. Oh, and the fact that after the Jays finished batting practice, the potential MVP of the league from the Houston Astros, Jose Altuve, came over and posed for a picture with my son and signed his ball. I can’t say enough good things about these players and the Blue Jays organization for putting these kinds of things together.
The game itself was everything we could have asked for as well. A few other boys from the baseball team were there and the kids had a blast. We saw a Russ Martin homerun, Kevin Pillar made some Superman-like plays, we got the full Roberto Osuna experience and the Jays beat the best team in baseball! Oh, and our hotel, the Radisson Admiral, was a 3 minute walk from Rogers Centre, which, if you know downtown Toronto at all, is so incredibly convenient.
Speaking of the Radisson Admiral, I can’t imagine I will ever swim in another pool with a view like this one!
I woke up before the rest of my family the next morning, grabbed a Starbucks from the Radisson’s lobby (yeah, the Starbucks is IN the lobby!) and set out on a walk of Toronto’s Entertainment District. I can see why people love it there as it’s the best of both worlds, being so peaceful in the morning and so much fun at night. This is a trip I look forward to every year and it was magical as always.
Thank you so much to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Rogers and the Radisson Admiral hotel for helping to make this a weekend we won’t soon forget!