By HOWARD BERGER
TORONTO (Aug. 29) — I’ve always wanted to watch a sporting event from the Goodyear Blimp and I believe I came closest on Friday night.
If you wish to reacquaint with the divine presence in your life, order a pair of baseball tickets in Sec. 515 at Rogers Centre. Head up to Row 16 and you might see God. The ballgame will be a rumor but the noise wafting upward should indicate you’re in a stadium. I encountered such ambiance for the opener of a weekend series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers — learning afterward that the Jays prevailed, 5–3. I attempted to keep tabs during the game but had difficulty seeing the video–board above center field. Even with binoculars. We were so far from the diamond that events unfolded seven seconds after real time.
SETTLING INTO SEC. 515, ROW 16, SEAT 109 AT ROGERS CENTRE FRIDAY NIGHT.
The first 20,000 fans entering the ballpark on Friday received a souvenir Blue Jays cap. We, the denizens of Sec. 515, were handed boxes of Kleenex. Those above Row 16 wore oxygen masks. I tried not to bleed on the kid in front of me wearing a lily–white Josh Donaldson jersey. But, it wasn’t easy. The poor bastard selling beer in our area watched his cans explode from the pressure of such height. I could reach over my right shoulder and shake hands with the crazy edge–walkers near the top of the C.N. Tower. Pilots of jetliners at cruise altitude waved at us from their flight–deck windows. It was, indeed, quite the experience.
MY SON AND I MADE FRIENDS WITH THE CAPTAIN OF THIS BOEING–777 SOARING SOUTHWARD OVER ROGERS CENTRE. HE WAS MUCH CLOSER TO US THAN THE PLAYING FIELD.
Thankfully, my trusty NIKON survived the elements, though I think the lens began to warp late in the evening. As such, typical baseball–game photos, these are not. But, I hope you enjoy them anyway:
A QUICK GLANCE OVER MY RIGHT SHOULDER DETERMINED THAT WE WERE HALFWAY TO THE TOP OF THE C.N. TOWER. OTHERS, AS YOU CAN SEE, WERE EVEN CLOSER.
AS IF CONDITIONS WEREN’T DIFFICULT ENOUGH, WE HAD GLARE FROM BEHIND A TALL CONDOMINIUM. THIS WAS CLOSE TO 10 P.M. — TWO HOURS AFTER SUNSET IN TORONTO.
DESPITE THE IMPRESSIVE DISTANCE, MY TELEPHOTO LENS DIDN’T FAIL ME. NOT NEARLY AS MUCH AS EX–BLUE JAYS STARTER MATT BOYD FAILED THE DETROIT TIGERS.
FANS IN FRONT OF US EXULT AS THE WHITE SPECK OF JOSH DONALDSON NEARS SECOND BASE AFTER HITTING A HOME RUN OFF THE EDGE OF THE STADIUM’S FIFTH LEVEL.
IT WAS MINUS–23 CELSIUS IN OUR ROW, BUT A BANK OF LIGHTS NEAR THE TOP OF THE STADIUM KEPT US RELATIVELY WARM.
BLUE JAYS FIRST–BASE COACH TIM LEIPER APPLAUDS AS JOSE BAUTISTA PASSES HIM AFTER SLUGGING HIS 31st HOME RUN OF THE SEASON IN THE BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH INNING. IT PUT TORONTO IN FRONT, 5–1. THIS ALMOST LOOKS LIKE A SATELLITE PHOTO.
MIGUEL CABRERA OF DETROIT SPENT MUCH OF THE GAME IN FRIENDLY BANTER WITH BLUE JAY OPPONENTS (ABOVE AND BELOW) AT FIRST BASE.
NIGHT–TIME VIEW FROM THE EDGE OF SPACE.
AFTER A LONG HOME RUN TO RIGHT FIELD BY EX–BLUE JAY ANTHONY GOSE CLOSED THE GAP TO 5–3 ? IN THE SEVENTH INNING, TORONTO MANAGER JOHN GIBBONS ? TOOK THE BALL FROM STARTER R.A. DICKEY, WHO EARNED THE WIN AND IMPROVED TO 9–10 ON THE SEASON.
ONCE KILLER OSUNA WENT TO THE MOUND, IT WAS LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TIGERS. CATCHER JAMES McCANN STRUCK OUT TO END THE BALL GAME.
APPARENTLY, WE WERE ONLY 27,000 MILES FROM THE MOON WHEN WE LEFT OUR SEATS.
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