Tonight, as part of the full ‘Canadian experience’, we saw our first baseball game – the London Majors vs the Kitchener Panthers (I’m afraid, in my ignorance, that I have no idea where Kitchener is). The Majors were playing in their pristine white, stripy pyjamas (it must have been a real pain to get the mud out of them afterwards) and the Panthers were wearing all grey (a little bit like the overalls which mechanics sometimes wear).
The game was commented on and sound effects and music was played at appropriate moments over the sound system. Each inning was sponsored by a local business, which was enthusiastically introduced before their inning started, sometimes with appropriate freebies being handed out to the spectators. Chocolate was thrown about and fought over courtesy of a confectionary company and a free pizza voucher was handed out to a family in the crowd for the Dominoes Pizza inning. My ears pricked up when the next inning was sponsored by a cupcake shop, but I was disappointed that cupcakes were not liberally distributed amongst the crowd.
There were also short entertainments between innings for the amusement of the audience. These included a tyre rolling race, a ‘dizzy bat race’ (spinning around with head on baseball bat, then attempting to run in a straight line), throwing and catching water balloons until they all popped and letting all the kids under 12 have a go at running around all four bases on the field. Catrin joined in with the run around the bases and, despite being the littlest one by far, she kept running as fast as her little legs could manage.
I sat next to my mother in law and we speculatively tried to work out the rules based on our knowledge of playing rounders as school kids. My mother in law was quite pleased that they were all allowed to have their own ‘stick’, rather than having to drop it before running to first base so that the next batter could use the same ‘stick’ (common practice when playing school rounders in the UK due to the lack of enough ‘sticks’).
The game went on and we grew more confident in our analysis of the rules; the crowed chomped their way through a small mountain of peanuts and popcorn; Canada geese flew over the ground in formation, honking loudly and flurries of flying bugs drifted in front of the floodlights like snowflakes being stirred by the breeze. The sky grew dark and my daughters fell asleep.
The London Majors appeared to be trouncing the Kitchener Panthers by the end of the 6th inning when I took both sleeping girls back to their beds. My husband stayed to watch the rest of the game and, when he returned, told me that the home team actually lost the game… Something must have gone seriously pear shaped for them in the last couple of innings. Maybe the other team sabotaged them by feeding them large quantities of produce from their sponsors?
* update: apparently Kitchener is between Toronto and London and there were cupcakes and I missed them!