Monday, April 4, 2011

Fans' Heads Are Bobbling Over Jose Bautista


By
Bautista staredown pic courtesy of TheRealJeffS
First, let me begin by addressing the Jose Bautista Bobblehead debacle. I'm sure you saw on Twitter that these items were in very high demand this year and some folks were lined up for them as early as 10am.

In previous years, getting to the ballpark about 60 minutes in advance of the game is usually plenty of time to receive your giveaway at the gate. This year ... not so much. I waltzed up at about 11:50am to Gate 2 only to find all the Jose Bautista Bobbleheads were gone by around 11:45am.

I tried a couple of other gates just for kicks to see if they had any, but it was to no avail. All the "Baubbleheads", as Navin so cleverly coined them, were all gone. I learned from this experience that if you want your giveaway, make sure you're there when the gates open or prepare to go home empty-handed.

I'll admit, it was a little disappointing, but at the same time there was a silver lining to it all. It was very encouraging to know there were 10,000 fans who were already into the Rogers Centre at 12:00pm.

That just goes to show you that folks in Toronto either really love their bobbleheads or really love Jose Bautista. It might actually be a combination of both, but more so the latter than the former.

As far as the game was concerned, it was a very exciting contest. Other than the first few innings, Brett Cecil didn't really seem to be on his game. As the pitch count progressed, his fastball velocity trickled downward, which lead to him being yanked in the fifth.

The errors by Edwin Encarnacion were a little disheartening, but it was to be expected. Earlier in the game, fans were cheering him as he came up to bat. By the time his third at bat rolled around, they had already turned on him and were beginning to boo.

As questionable as some of Toronto's infielders have been during this series, they weren't nearly as bad as Minnesota's. Just ask the Twins how they feel about Tsuyoshi Nishioka after his big league debut this past weekend.

When the game rolled on into the late innings, the fans were on the edge of their seats. The air was let out of their sails when Jon Rauch gave up that solo shot to Denard Span in the top of the ninth. However, that didn't keep them from standing on their feet for nearly the entire bottom of the ninth.

With runners on second and third with two out, Jose Bautista came up to the plate poised to be the hero on his very own bobblehead day. He didn't tie the game, but he did extend the inning with yet another walk.

Adam Lind promptly swung at the very first pitch he saw from Joe Nathan which was ultimately the game-ending out. I'm not going to nitpick and say Lind should have known better than to swing at the first pitch, but obviously he was sitting fastball and Nathan countered with a breaking ball.

It was a comeback attempt that fell short, but it was an exciting game nonetheless. If the Blue Jays were going to lose that game, I can't think of a more exciting fashion for them to do it in.

22 comments:

  1. very exciting game, even those sitting in the 34th row in the 500 level were standing up. I'd rather a crowd of 35,000 people who enjoy watching baseball than 50,000 made up of idiots who ruin the game. Hopefully the excitement stays in the heads of the fans and more of then come out to weekday games now.

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  2. I didn't get to see this game as I was traveling yesterday. However the folks I've talked to who were there had the same opinion you did. If you're going to lose, that's the way to lose.

    I was a little worried about Cecil this spring, but brushed it aside as it was Spring training. A friend asked me last week though if I thought Reyes would be the odd man out when morrow comes back. I told him I kind of thought it would be Cecil. What are your thoughts on that one?

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  3. If at first you don't succeed, find a girl who is clearly not a baseball fan and offer her 5 bucks. Score!

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  4. Sadly, I have seen in past years (and saw yesterday) what happens with figurine/bobblehead giveaways. People show up, get the giveaway and leave. I assume they buy tickets for the sole purpose of getting the figure (since there are no in/out privileges) and then promptly head home to post them on eBay. I saw one guy walking away from the Dome with two bobbleheads when I was walking up (luckily, I got one). I saw the Bautista bobblehead on eBay the day before the game! It's a new form of scalping, I suppose. Disappointing for the real fans (especially the kids).

    Cecil looked amazing the first inning (and we were hopeful for pizza) but seemed to lose some punch after that, not being able to dispatch guys with as much authority. That fifth inning was bad and E5 was terrible. Neither play was anything but routine. I wanted EE to be our third baseman but now I'm pulling for Nix. I do not want to see Lawrie until September. Great finish to the game, though a win would have been even better. Excellent start!

    - Bart Wang

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  5. Anon, I found that while Friday's game was a sellout, the small crowd from yesterday seemed much more engaged in the game. Given it was a one run game on Sunday as opposed to a complete blowout on Friday.

    Ball Fan, although Cecil didn't really get "lit up" yesterday, he just didn't seem to have it yesterday. He was battling an ever-shrinking strike zone, and was lucky enough to be bailed out by some great plays from his teammates (namely Snider's arm in left field). If Cecil continues to struggle, I could possibly see him being sent down once Morrow comes back.

    Mr. Wenn, did that work for you? I tried to spot folks who had 2-3 bobbleheads in their hands figuring they'd be willing to deal, but no luck.

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  6. Same thing happened to me with the bobbleheads. Got to the dome at 11:45 and they were all out. Ended up getting lucky and found someone willing to sell their's for $20, so all's well that ends well. And it was an exciting game!

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  7. Bart, it's unfortunate but I guess some folks solely go to the game to get the giveaway and immediately sell it online to turn a profit. There's nothing saying you can't do that, but obviously it would be better a kid or a big Bautista fan to receive one rather than someone just looking to hock it for some quick cash.

    After the first inning, I thought Cecil was going to be dominant the entire game, but it didn't pan out that way. No surprises though from EE - he's going to take his bumps if he's at third base most of the year.

    The EE/Lind combo is going to be a little scary to start, I think. Let's hope the growing pains subside eventually!

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  8. robbgel, very nice sir! I figured 1 hour before first pitch would be plenty of time. Waltzed up at about 11:48 and they apparently were all out just a few minutes prior. Oh well, off to eBay or Kijiji for me!

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  9. One of the comments states that you would rather have someone that is a Big Bautista Fan end up with the bobblehead rather than someone trying to make some quick cash. Wouldn't it stand to readon that anyone willing to pay $70 on eBay for a bobblehead is a big Bautista fan? I live in the U.S., spent my vacation in Dunedin for Spring Break but I could not get to Canada on my day off yesterday on my day off. I'm proud to say I paid big bucks for one of the first ones that posted to eBay. Not arguing your original point.....I would have been mad too if I went to the game and didn't get one. Just trying to point out the ones selling them are meeting a need too.

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  10. Clearly my phone doesn't have spell check or grammar features...lol.

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  11. Ian - it sure did - guess i just got lucky.

    At the the Alomar event, I'm simply going to buy tix in advance so I can walk right in and get my bobblehead.

    I got there early on Sunday, but wasted at least a half an hour using my Season Pass to get tix.

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  12. Generally 10,000 is enough to cover a good portion of the crowd. I guess the Jays' bobblehead manufacturing plant (which I assume is in the basement of the RC) isn't lean enough to quickly produce another batch after seeing Friday and Saturday's attendance figures.

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  13. Anon, absolutely - anybody who's willing to pay that much is definitely a huge fan. You make a good point though - if those people didn't go to the game and sell them online, then there wouldn't be a way for people who didn't go to get their hands on a bobblehead.

    Mr. Wenn, I'm very impressed sir - I admire your negotiation tactics! And I heard things at the ticket office were a little crazy this weekend. I took a glimpse of the box office on my way in and couldn't believe how many people were still in line at 12pm.

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  14. Xave, another thing that crossed my mind is that I believe the Phillies for example usually have giveaways for everyone (40,000). I recall their Roy Halladay bobblehead was given away to nearly everyone, so most folks went home happy.

    I can't remember the name of the company off the top of my head, but I believe they do outsource their bobblehead production.

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  15. I was pretty lucky yesterday. I have a Star pass, so I got there before 10am in order to avoid the huge line-up for pass tickets on Saturday. The lines at Gates 10 and 11 were already huge; probably 100 people in each line.

    I ended up in line at 10:15 and got through the gates about an hour later, fully bobbleheaded-up.

    It must be tough for the Jays to plan something like this. Attendance of 35,000+ at the game was outstanding, and I've certainly been to giveaway games where only 11,000 fans bought tickets.

    I am sorry you didn't get one, though!

    As for Cecil, he needs to work on keeping that pitch down; worry less, focus more. I think it'll come.

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  16. I got down to the dome early and was going to drive around a bit and find a place to eat. But when I drove by Roger Centre and saw the lines, I was flabbergasted and quickly parked to make sure I got one for my kids.

    It was cool having the Leafs come watch the Jays play on Sunday. I could a good video of Dion Phaneuf celebrating Bautista's homerun: http://bit.ly/hu2l5e

    @2011mnbatigers
    www.beyondbaseball.blog.ca

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  17. They should've made Bautista Blow Up Dolls so the female fans could finally have a decent giveaway.

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  18. "but obviously he was sitting fastball and Nathan countered with a breaking ball."

    If Lind was sitting fast ball and swung at a breaking ball, than he shouldn't have swung..

    Especially not on an 0-0 count..

    Lind tried to hit a breaking ball and didn't... That's the only OBVIOUS thing here...

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  19. Amy, that's incredible. I admire you for your zen-like patience for not only standing in the ticket lineup, but then the lineup to get into the dome as well.

    Anon, I don't blame you - if I saw lines like that, I'd start freaking out, too. I noticed they had some Leafs players in the TD Comfort Zone, but had no idea Phaneuf was also in attendance. Good catch!

    Miranda, who says it should just be limited to female fans? I bet there are some males (yours truly included) who would use it as a sleeping companion.

    Anon, that was just my guess but Mike Wilner made a similar comment as well. Since Nathan was throwing so many breaking balls, maybe Lind figured he was due for a fastball to start the at-bat.

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  20. Great weekend for the Jays on the field, but, man, some serious customer service issues on Opening Weekend.

    I still can't believe Lind swung at that first pitch after Bautista worked that walk. And I mean worked it. If I had a Baubblehead, I'd probably have thrown it at Lind.

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  21. Oh it definitely doesn't need to be limited to female fans. I just meant something that's more catered to us as opposted to gigantic over sized t-shirts and ill-fitting hats!

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  22. Nav, I heard/saw on Twitter that there were quite a few hiccups. It's to be expected on the busiest baseball weekend of the year, hopefully they learned their lessons and the experience can be improved upon for 2012. And I don't blame you for wanting to throw the Baubblehead. I was convinced Juan Rivera was going to be the rally killer, so maybe that's why I wasn't as disappointed when it was Lind who had the last at-bat.

    Miranda, do the Blue Jays still do Ladies Night? I think I recall a few years ago, women could get tickets at a discounted price, plus a meet and greet with a few players before or after the game.

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