My best memory of a game is the one I attended on July 26, 2016 in Toronto. This game was stuffed full of events that you don't typically see in an everyday game.
I usually get out to one game a year and so when I saw that the Padres were coming to Toronto for the first time ever, I wanted to make sure I attended one of those games.
In prior years I was fortunate to have a friend with season tickets in the 100s that he'd let me use. For this game though, that wasn't possible. So that meant that I was on my own for tickets. I found three tickets in the same 500 level section where I saw my very first Jays game back in 1993. In that game Joe Carter got tossed for arguing balls and strikes.
On game day my two older daughters and I left home with enough time to get to downtown parking accounting for the Toronto traffic. Turns out though that traffic was light and we were able to enjoy a nice slow paced street meat meal before heading into the stadium.
Our seats were down the right field line in section 515. Even up that high, the view was fantastic. The evening sun on this hot day was beaming on our seats and made things uncomfortable until about the second inning when we got the shadows.
The game itself was a great one. It was Andrew Cashner, who was the subject of many trade rumours that day vs. Marcus Stroman. The Jays got on the board in the first with a Donaldson two-run homer. I love being a part of a huge crowd when the Jays smack a home run. In the seventh inning, down by a run, we got to see Melvin Upton make his first plate appearance with the Jays. We gave him a "welcome to the team" standing ovation. He hit into a fielder's choice, with his speed keeping him out of a double play. We'd tie the game that inning on a wild pitch. It wouldn't be the last run we'd score that way.
In the top of the eighth we moved Edwin to 1B and lost the DH. There were these two twenty-something guys seated behind us that were a little confused. I usually keep to myself during games, but this time I took the time to explain to them how we'd now lost the DH and that our pitcher would have to bat or be pinch hit for.
The game remained tied and went to extras. Ordinarily this is cause for concern, because when I attend a game with my wife, it's understood that we won't stay for extras. But, she wasn't with us that night, so free baseball for me and the girls!
Skip ahead to the top of the twelfth. Jesse Chavez gets two quick outs, but then it's a double and home run and we're down by two. Russell Martin leads off in the bottom half of the inning and gets the count to 2-2. The guys behind me are sounding a little down. So I turn to them and let them know that so far that month, the Jays had only lost games on Fridays and Saturdays. The one guy says "oh ya?" and then, as loud as he could yells "Hey Martin, it's Tuesday!". Martin then hits the very next pitch to centre for a single and we're in business. A ground out and double later and Devon Travis is up. All of us got to experience the intensity that was a 14 pitch at-bat, with pitch 13 going just outside the foul pole nearly ending the game. Pitch 14 was ball four and it is bases loaded with Jose, Josh and Edwin due up! Jose walks and Josh grounds into a force out with a run scoring so we're tied up with runners on 2nd and 3rd, 2 out and Edwin at the bat. The second pitch to Edwin bounces away from the catcher and Travis races home with the winning run, barely beating the tag. We all go wild and celebrate the Jays getting to 13 games above .500 for the first time that season.
After that we exit the stadium into the muggy Toronto summer air and the girls and I go and grab some pizza before heading home. When we pull into our driveway at 1:00am our neighbour across the street is also pulling in. Turns out he was at the game too. We chatted about the game for a while before heading off to our own beds to ponder on the awesomeness that we had witnessed.