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Road Trip to Toronto

August 23-25, 2004

SkyDome In August of 2004, we drove to Toronto to see the series between the Red Sox and Blue Jays. As usual, we arrived before the gates opened and waited on the patio outside with hundreds of other Red Sox fans. There was even a guy at a table selling Red Sox T-shirts and other souvenirs, which just seemed wrong. When the gates opened, we went in to our seats. The retractable roof was open, and the Red Sox were taking batting practice. I was surprised to see Jason Varitek during B.P., because I had heard he was going to drop his appeal of the four-game suspension he received for his role in the brawl with the Yankees last month, and sit out. It turned out it was OK for him to be on the field during practice, but he had to leave before the game started. It made sense to sit out now, in games against the Blue Jays and Tigers, rather than wait till September when we faced tougher opponents, but Tek had been on a tear at the plate lately, so I hoped the downtime didn't cool him off. The whole team had been hot, winning six in a row, and cutting the Yankees' lead from 10.5 games to 5.5 games in the past week. I had been saying all season long that a team that intends to win the division should have a good ten-game winning streak at some point, and they were more than half-way there.

SkyDome Tonight's matchup was Ted Lilly against Pedro Martinez. Orlando Cabrera hit a double in the first, but the Sox didn't score. When Cabrera first joined the Red Sox, he was received by the fans with a little skepticism, partly because he had played in Montreal and we didn't know much about him, and partly because of who he had been traded for. But in the previous homestand, the day after my last trip to Fenway, he had won a game with a double off the Green Monster in the ninth inning and was now on his way to becoming a fan favorite. Pedro continued the trend he had had this year of giving up a couple of runs in the first inning, surrendering a homer to the lead-off batter, then a triple and a sac fly. After that he settled down, but the damage had already been done. Meanwhile Lilly stymied the Sox hitters. Mark Bellhorn, recently activated from the D.L., hit a triple in the fifth, and Cabrera added a single in the eighth, but those were the ony hits the Red Sox had. Lilly wound up pitching a complete game and striking out 13 to beat the Red Sox 3-0. So much for the winning streak! We saw that the Yankees had won tonight, pushing us 6.5 back.

The next day we again arrived before the gates opened. Our seats were very close to where they had been the day before, behind third base on the lower level. Today I wanted to go up to section 540 in the upper deck, to see the spot where Manny Ramirez had hit a home run in 2001. Measured at 491 feet, it was the longest homer ever hit at SkyDome, and had landed a few rows shy of hitting the back wall. The section where the home run landed is marked with an arrow in the picture below. The second picture shows the view from that section.

Where Manny's home run went View from section 540

I had noticed a ramp to the upper levels as we had come through the gates, so my mother and I trudged up to the fifth deck. We were the only people in the area on that level, and the sections in left field that we were headed for were roped off. So we came out to the seats in a closer section and walked over. It's a really long way from home plate! We had seen NESN reporter Eric Frede go up to that section during broadcasts in the Sox' two other trips to Toronto this year, and both times security had asked him to leave. That was the reason I had dragged my mother up the ramp instead of asking if there was an elevator. I didn't want to be told we couldn't go up there. We stayed a few minutes, and then headed back down. We passed a staircase that was labeled "Stairs to street level", which was where we had come in. We agreed we wouldn't have wanted to walk up the stairs but that it would be faster to walk down them than the ramp. Unfortunately, when we got all the way to the bottom, it was indeed street level, but the doors led only out to the street, and not to the rest of the stadium on that level! We couldn't leave because we wouldn't be able to get back in, so we had to walk all the way back up the seemingly unending staircase to the fifth deck. After a quick breather, it was back down the ramp to our seats.

For more pictures, please go on to...

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This page and all photos copyright © 2004-2005 by Kristen D. Cornette.