Friday, October 24, 2014

The Blue Jays and Rogers have some nerve raising ticket prices again!

I’m pretty surprised they had the audacity to raise the ticket prices this much . . . They have the longest streak of playoff futility in the league, and after Game 2 of the World Series they hit us up with a price increase? It’s par for the course for what people expect from Rogers.

Mike Wilkomirsky, a disgruntled Blue Jays fan, as quoted in the Toronto Star

Sixty bucks might not seem like much, but when you’re on a tight budget you have to think twice about what you spend on leisure.

- Vishala Shembedasie, another disgruntled fan whose 20-game 500-level ticket package increased from $200 to $260 this season, as quoted in the Toronto Star.

I won't mince word either.  The decision by the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers, the mammoth telecommunication company that owns the team, to increase ticket prices is absolutely contemptible. This is a team that has failed to make post-season play since 1993 and they have the unmitigated gall to ask fans to shell out more of their hard-earned money.  It's disgusting! Worst of all, the price for 500-level tickets is increasing the most.  The fans in the nose-bleed seats are going to be hit the hardest.  Talk about gouging the public!

Here's the deal.  Your Toronto Blue Jays chose the 21st anniversary of the last day they were in the post-season to increase ticket prices almost across the board for season ticket-holders in 2015.  Prices in the 500-level were the hardest hit, where costs for a 15-game flex pack rose a whopping 50 per cent compared to last season.  Other price increases ranged from five to ten per to 35 or 40 per cent. Prices in the 200-hundred level outfield seats decreased slightly. Single-game tickets don’t go on sale until January, but Stephen Brooks. Blue Jays senior vice-president, confirmed that those prices will go up as well.

According to Brooks, prices had to be raised in order to "get consistency in product pricing relative to other products by section.”  All that corporate bafflegag doesn't mean a thing to fans. All they know is that the Blue Jays organization did not even have the decency to give season ticket-holders any prior notice about the price increases.  Subscribers were merely informed of the increases when they received their invoices.  Is that how the Jays show their respect for the team's most loyal followers!

What a great sense of timing!  What great appreciation for the fans who have supported them during all years of frustration and losing!  Is this Rogers' way of rewarding such patience.  It's time someone stood up for the much-maligned fans.  The players have agents and a union to support them. Rogers is a huge corporation and billionaire owners have wads of cash.  Tell me, please, who speaks for the downtrodden fans?  Who will be their advocate?  When was the last time you heard a baseball player express concern about the affordability of attending a game for fans?

These ticket increases are pocket change to the wealthy player and billionaire owners.  They live in in a very different world than most people.  For the ordinary Joe and Jane, with bills to play, higher ticket prices will probably mean that they won't be able to afford to take their children to many baseball games.  It's sad because these are the truest fans. They don't attend games because it's trendy and they want to be seen.  They attend because they genuinely enjoy the game.

Baseball used to be one of the most reasonably priced sports for live attendance.  Those days are quickly fading away, ruined by greed and selfishness.  Oh yes, sports teams pay lip service to the fans.  They use phrases such as "our wonderful fans" and they have "fan appreciation days" at the end of each season.  Big deal!  So they give away a few cars and cell phones, while at the same time receiving advertising revenue from the companies that provide the prizes.  What good is that when live sporting events are becoming more and more expensive?  If the owners and players really cared about the fans, they'd be concerned about the affordability of their product.

I write this as a longtime fan of the Jays, and I am no fair-weather fan either.  Here in Toronto, we are gouged more than almost any city in North America.  The cost of tickets for Leaf and Raptor games are beyond the reach of an increasing number of Torontonians.  The prices at the concession stands at the Air Canada Centre and the former Sky Dome are outrageous.  I call it highway robbery, pure and simple.

We all know about the soulless and silent "fans" in the platinum seats at the Air Canada Centre Most of the time, they just eat and talk business.  Often their chairs are unoccupied, a testament to their interest in the game.  Is this what Rogers wants for the Blue Jays too?  Perhaps, as long as the cash keeps rolling in.

- Joanne

Monday, October 6, 2014

2014 World Series Quiz

It's that time again, baseball fans.  It's October and the World Series is just around the corner.  To put you in the mood for the Fall Classic, Number 16 presents a 2014 World Series Quiz.  Are you up to the challenge.  Put on your baseball cap and find out by answer the following questions. Get ready to play ball!


1.  Which of the following statements is not true about the 1964 World Series between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals?

A.  The 1964 World Series marked the last Series appearance for both Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.

B.  The St. Louis Cardinals won in six games.

C.  Yankee manager Yogi Berra was fired after the Series ended and replaced by the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.

D.  The New York Yankees did not play in another World Series until 1976.

E,  All of the above.

2.  Name the youngest man ever to broadcast a World Series game.

A,  Vin Scully

B.  Ernie Harwell

C.  Red Barber

D.  Bob Costas

E.   Mel Allen

3.  What was the nickname of the 1982 World Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals?

A.  "The Beer Fest"

B.  "The Brew War"

C.  "The Big Brewsky"

D.  "The Suds Series"

E.  "The Battle of the Brews"

4.  When was the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series?

A.  1912

B.  1907

C.  1908

D.  1913

E.  1924

5.  Reggie Jackson, known as "Mr. October," played in 27 World Series games during his career.  How many home runs did he hit in those 27 games?

A.  seven

B.  ten

C.  twelve

D.  nine

E.  eight

6.  Have any of the various versions of the Washington Senators ever won the World Series?

A.  No team named the Washington Senators has ever won the World Series.

B.  Yes, the Washington Senators won the 1922 World Series.

C.  No team named the Washington Senators has ever even played in the World Series.

D.  Yes, the Washington Senators won the 1931 World Series.

E.  Yes, the Washington Senators won the 1924 World Series.

7.  Which baseball manager has won the most World Series rings?

A.  Connie Mack

B.  Joe Torre

C.  A tie between Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel

D.  A tie between Sparky Anderson and Tony La Russa

E.  Miller Huggins

8.  Did Ty Cobb ever play on a World Series championship team?

A.  No, Cobb never won a World Series ring during his baseball career.

B.  No, he never even played in the World Series.

C.  Ty Cobb won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers.

D.  Cobb won a World Series with the Philadelphia Athletics.

E,  Cobb won two World Series rings with Detroit.

9.  Which of these statements in false about the Toronto Blue Jays' back-to-back World Series victories in 1992 and 1993.

A. 1992 marked the first time a World Series game was played outside the United States.

B.  The Blue Jays' manager, Cito Gaston, became the first black manager to win the World Series.

C.  The Toronto Blue Jays became the first Canadian-based team to win the World Series.

D.  The Blue Jays became the first Canadian-based team to participate in major league post-season play.

E,  All of the above.

10.  When the New York Mets (dubbed the "Miracle Mets" or the "Amazing Mets") won the 1969 World Series, which American League team did they defeat?

The Mets celebrating their 1969 World Series win

A.  Detroit Tigers

B.  Baltimore Orioles

C.  Kansas City Royals

D.  Chicago White Sox

E.  Cleveland Indians

11,  What team defeated the Chicago White Sox in the infamous 1919 World Series?

A.  New York Giants

B.  Philadelphia Phillies

C.  St. Louis Cardinals

D.  Boston Braves

E.  Cincinnati Reds

12.  To date, the New York Yankees have won 27 World Series championships, the most of any team in Major League history.  Which team has recorded the second-most World Series victories?

A.  St. Louis Cardinals

B.  Pittsburgh Pirates

C.  Boston Red Sox

D.  New York/San Francisco Giants

E.  Detroit Tigers

13.  On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the World Series.  To date, Larsen's perfect game is the only perfect game in the history of the Fall Classic.  Until 2010, it remained the only no-hitter of any kind in post-season play.  Which pitcher threw a no-hitter in the National League Division Series that year?

Don Larson after his perfect game

A.  Pedro Martinez

B.  Cliff Lee

C.  Roy Halladay

D.  Cole Hamels

E.  Roy Oswalt


1.  B

The St. Louis won the 1964 World Series in seven games.  They won the seventh game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis by a score of 7-5.  Yogi Berra was fired and replaced by Johnny Keane, who had resigned from the Cardinals after the series.  It was the last World Series appearance for both Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle.  Mantle played his final major league game in 1968 and announced his retirement on March 1, 1969.  Ford  played his final major league game in 1967.  Their New York Yankees did not appear in another Word Series until 1976 when they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in four games straight.

2.  A

Vin Scully was only 25 years old when he broadcast the 1953 World Series, a rematch between the four-time defending champion New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He replaced Red Barber who was involved in a salary dispute.  In so doing, Scully became the youngest person to broadcast a World Series game, a record that still stands today.  At the age of 86, he is still the voice of Dodger baseball, but in Los Angeles.

By the way, the Yankees won that 1953 Series in six games for their fifth straight title - another mark that has yet to be equalled.

3.  D.

The 1982 World Series was dubbed the "Suds Series."  St. Louis and Milwaukee had never met in a Series before, but the two cities were beer market rivals with St. Louis being the home of Anheuser-Busch and Milwaukee the home of Miller Brewing.  The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee brewers in seven games.

4.  C

The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was 1908 - that's 106 years ago!  The Cubbies have only won two Series in their storied history - back to back wins in 1907 and 1908.  Both times, they defeated the Detroit Tigers.

5.  B

Reggie Jackson slammed ten home runs in his 27 World Series games, batting .354 with 24 RBIs. The Hall of Famer played on five World Series championship teams.  He won three times with the Oakland Athletics and twice with the New York Yankees.  On October 18, 1977, Reggie slugged three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 win over the Los Angels Dodgers and a victory in the Series four games to two.

6.  E

The Washington Senators did indeed win the World Series - in 1924.  They defeated the New York Giants in seven games.  In the above photo, Washington manager Bucky Harris presents U.S. President Calvin Coolidge with the baseball used to open the 1924 World Series at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D,C.  The Senators lost the first game of the Series by a score of 4-3 (in 12 innings).

Pitching great Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators made his first World Series appearance in 1924.  He was 36 years old.

7.  C

Joe McCarthy

Casey Stengel

Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel hold the MLB record with seven World Series rings each. McCarthy earned his rings while managing the New York Yankees in 1932, 1936-1939, 1941 and 1943. Stengel's victories were with the Yankees from 1949 to 1953 (five straight championships), and in 1956 and 1958.  Stengel won a total of 37 World Series games, while McCarthy won 30.

Connie Mack is in second place with five rings.  Joe Torre won four World Series and Sparky Anderson, Tony La Russa and Miller Huggins each notched three.

8.  A

No, Ty Cobb never won a World Series.  However, he did play in three straight World Series for the Detroit Tigers in 1907, 1908 and 1909.  The Tigers lost all three.  They lost to the Chicago Cubs in 1907 and 1908 and to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909.

9.  D

The Toronto Blue Jays had been in post-season play prior to 1992, but they were not the first Canadian-based team to participate in the post-season  That distinction belongs to the Montreal Expos. In 1981, the Expos made it to post-season play for the first and only time as a Montreal franchise. However, they lost the best-of-five National League Championship when Rick Monday of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a ninth-inning home run in Game 5 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.  In 2005, the Expos moved to Washington D.C. to become the Washington Nationals.

Cito Gaston, who spent his entire managerial career with the Toronto Blue Jays, became the first African-American manager to win a World Series in Major League history when the Blue Jays won the championship in 1992.

Cito Gaston

10. B

In 1969, the New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles in what is considered one of the greatest upsets in World Series history.  The Mets won the Series in five games, becoming the first expansion team to win a division title, a pennant, and the World Series.  Under manager Gil Hodges, the Mets captured the championship in what was only the eighth year of their existence.  They overcame a fine Baltimore Orioles club, managed by Earl Weaver.

11.  E

In 1919, the Cincinnati Reds defeated the heavily-favoured Chicago White Sox five games to three in the best--of-nine World Series.  A scandal followed (dubbed the "Black Sox" in which it was revealed that several members of the White Sox had conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the 1919 championship.

12.  A

To date, the St. Louis Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, the second-most Series victories.  The Boston Red Sox have won eight times, having appeared in 12 October Classics. The New York/San Francisco Giants have combined for seven World Series titles - five in New York and two in San Francisco.  The Pittsburgh PIrates have compiled five championships, while the Detroit Tigers have prevailed four times - 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984.

13,  B

On October 6, 2010, Roy Halladay tossed a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of their 2010 National League Division series against the Cincinnati Reds.  It was Halladay's  second no-hitter in 2010 and the first postseason appearance of his career.

NOTE TO READERS: If you can't get enough baseball trivia, why don't you also try a previous baseball quiz I posted on October 1, 2012.  It's called "Baseball and World Series Quiz."  Just click the QUIZ tab at the top of the page.

- Joanne