July 22, 2011 - The Midwest Plus tour got off to a great start in Toronto. After meeting up with all our participants here at the Four Diamond hotel, we took the short walk over to the Rogers Centre. Yes, it was a hot one, with temperatures expected up at 37! (That's about 105 fahrenheit if my math is right.) The walk over was early enough that it was actually pretty pleasant as we walked over.
We were met at the Rogers Centre entrance by Buck Martinez, longtime player with the Blue Jays, Brewers, and Royals and now the TV play-by-play man for the Jays. Buck took us into the baseball stadium and gave us the story of what was originally called SkyDome. We were there for the first time the dome had been closed for heat, so that's some history. Buck took questions for about half an hour, then walked us up to his TV booth. Then we went down to the TV Truck, a place most people don't get to see. (We went back during the game to see it working - very cool!)
As Buck went off to call the game, we took our seats for a close game between the Jays and Mariners. We were sitting a couple rows back near third base, a great place to see Jose Bautista normally, though he was DHing due to his ankle injury last week. It was a pitchers duel for the first seven innings, a tight 1-1. Then Doug Fister fell apart and the Jays pounced on the opportunity to ring him up. Quickly 5-1, the M's struck back even more quickly. Reliever Casey Janssen walked a couple, gave up one blooper, then Miguel Olivo tied it up with a line drive to dead center. It was the M's first grand slam of the season!
The M's, in the midst of a 12 game losing streak, couldn't hang on. Rajai Davis hit a long line over the CF's head to score a couple, but got the laughter from his teammates as he raised his hands after the hit. Yes, Rajai thought it was the ninth inning instead of the eighth and that he had hit a walk off. No, Rajai - run! (He made it to second on the throw, but he'll get a fine in kangaroo court for that one!) The Jays closed it out with big Jon Rauch, getting the win, 7-5.
Most of the tour group headed to the hotel attached to the stadium to meet up with Buck Martinez again. (I missed this part, staying behind to take part in the Blue Jays post-game show with Mike Wilner. The show goes out not just to Toronto, but is a nationwide broadcast in Canada.) Buck brought along his TV partner, Pat Tabler, for a drink before they jetted off to Texas. The group walked back to the hotel and had a night in beautiful (but hot) Toronto.
We'll be packing up and heading for Niagara Falls this morning, so I'll wrap this up for now. It was a great start to our small group tour. At one point, one of the participants turned to me and said "It's going to be tough to top this!" I had to just smile - while we had a great time in Toronto, Rogers Centre is the "worst" stadium we'll see on the tour and we've got a lot planned for the next four days.
January 1, 2010 Here's a great sports trip that everyone will love. Our group will be based in the heart of San Francisco, within walking distance of shopping and restaurants and just a short trolley ride away from the Wharf and Pier 39. The first day of this baseball stadium road trip, we'll take in a game at McAfee Stadium where the A's will host the Cincinnati Reds - a throw back to the 1990 World Series.
The second day, our travelers will be able to explore the sites of the city on their own. Visit the Golden Gate bridge, take a wine tasting tour of Napa Valley, our shop till you drop in San Fran's fashion district. The third day of the tour will feature a game between the Red Sox and Giants at AT&T park. Schedules permitting, we'll take a private baseball stadium tour of the park that sits right on the bay.
This is one of our baseball travel tours that also offers an interesting optional add-on. Come in a day early to catch the Cubs take on the Mariners at Safeco Park in Seattle. We'll add on game tickets, a hotel stay, and airfare to get you to San Francisco in time for the game at McAfee.
This is not only one of our sports travel packages that would make great baseball gifts for men, but it's tour that will make a great tour for couples! To see more about this and other MLB Tours being offered by Big League Tours
, visit our website now to get all the details.
March 27, 2009 - Big League Tours is headed to Seattle in August to see the Yankees take on
Junior, Ichiro and rest of the Seattle Mariners. While it's always fun to visit Seattle or take in a series wherever the Yankees are playing (love 'em or hate 'em), one of the highlights of this MLB tour is that we're being joined by Dave Henderson, former outfielder for the Mariners, Red Sox, Giants and A's.
Here's a clip of his biography from baseballlibrary.com:
The Red Sox acquired Henderson during the 1986 pennant drive. He hit a two-out, two-run homer for Boston in the top of the ninth inning of Game Five of the 1986 LCS with the California Angels one strike away from their first World Series appearance. The game was won on Henderson's sacrifice fly in the 11th inning and also featured a home run by Bobby Grich that popped out of Henderson's glove and over the outfield wall.
Traded to the Giants on September 1, 1987 to make room for rookie Ellis Burks, Henderson helped the Giants to a division title and then signed as a free agent with Oakland that winter. The centerfielder posted career-high totals of 24 homers, 38 doubles, 100 runs, 94 RBI, and a .304 batting average, (51 points above his previous career average) for the AL champion 1988 A's. In the 1989 WS, he hit home runs in consecutive innings in Game Three after just missing one in the first inning (a double off the railing).
Henderson was the Mariners' first pick in the 1977 free-agent draft. At the time of his trade to Boston, Henderson was Seattle's career leader in home runs and was tied for the team lead in extra-base hits. He is the nephew of Joe Henderson, a pitcher with the White Sox and Reds in the 1970s.
Join us on this Seattle Tour
for what promises to be one of our great baseball vacation packages for the year. You can learn more about this and our other MLB Tours by visiting our website, bigleaguetours.com