Place: Toronto, Canada.
Date: April 29, 2012.
Camera: Panasonic TZ3.
I'm not much of a one for sports, but to experience a new culture there's no better way than attending a sporting fixture. If you're in Melbourne, you go to the MCG to watch an Australian Rules Football game (or Test cricket match); if you go to Canada you check out the baseball at the Rogers Centre in the shadow of the CN Tower.
We saw the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Seattle Mariners, 7-2. And despite not having played baseball (or softball) since I was at school, I had a basic grasp of the rules and really enjoyed watching the match. The best way I can describe it is that it was a bit like cricket on acid.
I also quite enjoyed watching the crowd — quite smallish and very family-orientated — who behaved a bit like a cricket crowd, doing the Mexican wave and slow-clapping when the action was thought to be too slow.
The venue felt quite small — but then any sports arena is small when you compare it to the MCG. We had great seats, quite close to the action, near the batting pitch. It was a Sunday afternoon — the match began at 1.07pm and lasted several hours — but it was all undercover and despite the chilly air outside the dome, it was snug and warm inside. (This was important: I caught a horrendous cold on the journey over and spent the first four days of our trip feeling quite sorry for myself: thank goodness for cold and flu medication, boxes of Strepsils and Vitamin C tablets is all I can say.)
The branding was pretty awesome, too: you couldn't move for Blue Jay tops, baseball caps and beer cans! Now there's an idea for the Australian Cricket Board!