Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Top 10 Game Day Beer Sales in Toronto Blue Jays History

I was four Delgados deep last Thursday night during the Jays 14-3 trouncing of the New York Yankees, when I found myself thinking: "I wonder if they keep stats for the highest single game beer sales for each major league club?" (these are the thoughts you have while sitting in the 500 level, watching Marco Scutaro go 4-for-6). The more I thought of it (and the more I drank), the more convinced I became that game day beer sales are something that somebody somewhere should be keeping track of. Because when you get right down to it, if there's a stat worth keeping, it's the stat which unequivocally declares which have been the 10 drunkest crowds in your favourite team's history.

A little bit of shoddy web-based research revealed that there doesn't seem to be any kind of record keeping where record beer sales are concerned. Which is why we here at have taken it upon ourselves to do the research for you.

After gathering practically no empirical data or hard evidence whatsoever, we're pretty certain that we've come up with the indisputable top-10 drinking performances by Jays fans in the storied history of the franchise. So sit back in your favourite throwback Alfredo Griffin jersey, pour yourself an ICE COLD BEER, and take a hazy, stumbling walk down memory lane:

10 - July 30, 1982

Jays win 6-5 (12 innings) over Tigers (attendance: 18,262)

You're probably asking yourself: how in the name of Damaso Garcia did a meaningless game in late July that drew little more than 18,000 fans find its way onto this distinguished list of debauchery?

Believe me when I say that I was hoping to have the notorious franchise-opening snow game somewhere on this list, but some journalistic digging revealed an almost absurd tidbit regarding the franchise: You could not buy beer at a Toronto Blue Jays home game for the first 5 1/2 years of the franchise's existence. That's right. The Ontario Government banned beer sales at Jays games for some inexplicable reason. There was even a group called the "No Booze in the Ballpark Committee". As you might well expect, Toronto was the only major league franchise to have the archaic ban. Making matters even more mortifying (and inexplicable) was the fact that the franchise was owned in part by Labatt Breweries.

In any event, the Toronto Blue Jays happily stepped into the 20th century on July 30th, 1982, when Paul Godfrey himself poured the first beer in franchise history. The world's first Delgado (probably referred to as a "Barfield" at the time) sold for $1.75.

9 - April 4, 2008

Jays win 6-3 over Red Sox (attendance: 50,171)

A Friday night home opener versus the Red Sox with a stadium half-filled with obnoxious, arrogant Massholes. Needless to say, a great deal of imbibing took place. From my vantage point along the third base line, it was a drinking performance of epic proportions. Fisticuffs and quasi-streaking ensued. A good time was had by all.

8 - October 20, 1992

Jays win 3-2 over Braves (attendance: 51,813)

This was the first World Series game played on Canadian soil, and there was no doubt some serious celebrating going on in the stands. This game had it all. The U.S. Marine Corps carrying the Canadian flag the right way up; the Devon White catch and ensuing non-triple-play to Kelly Gruber; and Robbie Alomar mocking the Tomahawk Chop as he crossed the plate with the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

This game would have ranked much higher on the list, but I vividly remember it being absolutely impossible to get into the Skydome during the 1992 season unless you were wearing a three-piece suit, and as we all know: guys who wear suits generally drink less than guys who go shirtless. The corporate clientele for Game 3 of the Series was absolutely off the charts, meaning that there's no way that crowd was competing with...

7 - May 28, 1989

Jays win 7-5 (in 10 innings) over White Sox (attendance: 46,120)

If the crowd at Game 3 of the 1992 World Series personified the Jays' white collar fans, than surely the 46,000+ that packed Exhibition Stadium for the old yard's Swan Song represented everything working class about the Jays fan base.

Catching a game at the CNE was... well, it was something. I'm not sure if it was always pleasant (the cold metal benches beyond the right field foul pole where we invariably sat were hands down the worst seats in baseball), and I'm not sure if it was baseball the way Abner Doubleday had envisioned it (they were playing on a carpeted slab of cement that was designed to house the football team); but it was the first place I'd ever seen a ballgame, and I'll never forget seeing that brilliant shade of green (a colour I didn't even know could exist until that moment) as I walked up the concourse for the first time.

Even for all of its shortcomings, there were few places you'd rather be than at Exhibition Stadium in late August, with the CNE in full swing, the carnival lights of the Ferris Wheel and The Flyer illuminating the sky just beyond the right field fence, and the Jays in the heat of a pennant race. Not only was Exhibition Stadium the first place I ever witnessed the game of baseball; it was also the first place I ever witnessed public intoxication.

There were some world class drunks that used to inhabit Exhibition Stadium in its heyday, and they no doubt did the old girl justice at her last dance. One of my true regrets in life is not being able to be at the farewell-to-the-Ex game. The smell of vomit and urine in the right field bleachers must have been breathtaking.

6 - September 14, 1987

Jays win 18-3 over Orioles (attendance: 27,446)

You just know that there was a group of college kids at this game who decided they were going to chug a beer for every home run the Jays hit... and that they'd chug two for every one of Ernie Whitt's dingers... and three for every moonshot Rance Mulliniks deposited into the seats.

The end result? The Jays set a new MLB record for HRs in a game (10), with the bespecked one drilling two, Ernie Whitt belting a heretofore unfathomable three, and a group of college kids having their stomachs pumped as they muttered incoherently about the incompetency of the Orioles bullpen.

5 - July 1, 1987

Jays lose 6-1 (12 innings) to Yankees (attendance: 47,828)

Back when the Jays actually used to play at home on Canada Day, the franchise set a new single game attendance record on Canada Day of 1987... And... um... Canadians typically like to drink on Canada Day. I think it's safe to say that there was some old fashioned over-serving going on in this one.

(By the way, what must have it been like for these fans to bask in the innocence of the months before the collapse of '87? I still have nightmares about Cecil Fielder trying to steal second base{CECIL FIELDER!!!}, getting thrown out by 18 steps, and then having Manny Lee triple on the very next pitch... I'm pretty sure having my dad beat me with the blunt end of a rusty axe for a few hours every day would have been less scarring... Simpler times, my friends. That's why they're called the good old days.)

4 - April 9, 2005

Jays lose 6-5 to Red Sox (attendance: 50,560)

I'm not sure if this was the first Friday night home opener in the franchise's history, but after it was over, I was almost positive it would be the last (who knew that they'd give us a repeat performance in 2008?).

This was baseball debauchery at its absolute best/worst. From Slash playing the National Anthems on his electric guitar and the endless obscenity-laden chants, all the way through to the later innings when people decided it would be somewhat entertaining to throw the heavy and potentially-lethal-if-thrown-at-the-proper-velocity-and-angle magnet-schedule-giveaways from the 5th deck (each and every one aimed at Manny's head, to be sure), this was one of those nights where a death inside the stadium wasn't completely out of the question, and you could just see management cringing at their miscalculation with every frisbee-like launch from the cheap seats.

I still have no idea how they opted for the Friday night opener vs. the Sox again this year...

3 - August 2, 1983

Jays sweep double header over Yankees: 10-9 (10 innings), 13-6 (attendance: 45,102)

If there's one thing I've learned in all of these years watching baseball, it is simply this: more baseball equates to more beer consumption (see exhibit A). And on August the 2nd, 1983, the Blue Jays and the Yankees, in front of over 45,000 people at Exhibition Stadium, played a hell of a lot of baseball.

Rest assured, the 45,000+ who sat there for the better part of 8 hours, drank a hell of a lot of Labatt's beer, almost single-handedly making up for the previous 5 1/2 years of prohibition-like tyranny.

2 - October 5, 1985

Jays win 5-1 over Yankees (attendance: 44,608)

There's nothing quite like the first time.

For as long as I live, I will never forget the image of George Bell catching that lazy fly ball to left, falling to his knees, and having Tony Fernandez give him that awkward Rocky-and-Apollo-on-the-beach high five. I was 7 years old at the time, and had no idea what it meant to win the AL East pennant. The only thing I knew was that the players were piling on each other, they were spraying champagne in the dressing room, and the fans were going absolutely bonkers. I was running around the neighbourhood telling everyone that the Jays had won the World Series. That's what it felt like to me: that they'd won it all.

At the time, I imagine that's what it felt like for everyone.

1 - October 23, 1993

Jays win 8-6 over Phillies (attendance: 52,195)

If you don't think these fans were drunk when Joe Carter produced the single most important sporting moment of my life, you're kidding yourself.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Catch-and-Chug

The Afredo Griffins will be going for an unprecedented 4th consecutive 5th place finish in the TCSSC co-ed non-competitive softball division this coming Monday. As the interim GM (filling in for longtime manager Mike Foley who happens to be in Cambodia on his honeymoon), I have done everything in my power to motivate the team. I've gone out and recruited the best available "talent" to replace last-minute bailers. I've re-enacted obscenity-laden tirades. I've even refused to wash my jersey for weeks on end (there is now something indescribably foul growing on it).

But in the end, nothing can motivate a group of elite co-ed non-competitive athletes like the promise of a cooler filled with Lucky Lager, and the vow to re-enact the famed Wrigley "Catch-and-Chug" in the event of a win.

If this motivational ploy doesn't win me manager of the year, nothing ever will. Move over, Tony D'Amato.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Separated at Birth

I'm pretty sure that the kid sitting in the front row is my long lost soul mate, because that is exactly how I would be acting at one of these "religious" Hoedowns. To paraphrase El Prez at Barstool: the kid looks like he's watching PBS. Not impressed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Phil Collins Gets His Due

At the risk of sounding completely lame and the exact opposite of what it means to be cool, let me just go on record as saying that Phil Collins is a hell of a songwriter.

I have no idea where my obsession with break-up songs comes from, but this piece from Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" picks up where I have often left off, as Starlee Kine goes to seemingly absurd lengths to help herself get over her recent break-up. She goes to the heart of what makes a great break-up song. More specifically, she goes to the king of the break-up song: Phil Collins

This American Life: Break-Up

I'd never thought of Phil Collins in terms of being a great songwriter, in the same way that I'd never thought of Dusty Springfield as the Queen of the Torch Song. But listening to this piece, and hearing about all of the pain Collins has been through in his life (his third divorce was settled today!), you begin to realize that the man has so much more to offer than soundtrack songs from kids movies. In The Air Tonight, Another Day in Paradise, I Wish It Would Rain Down, Do You Remember... Those are all great songs that will get your eyes sweating in the right circumstances. And as for Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), as is well documented in the "This American Life" piece, you'd be hard pressed to find a better or more painful lyric than:

How can you just walk away from me,
When all I can do is watch you leave...
You're the only one who really knew me at all

This is essential listening for any Phil Collins fan. It's essential listening for anyone who has ever been through a painful break-up (as Laura Waterman puts it: "breaking up with someone is literally the most common thing"). And it's essential listening for anyone who has ever tried to write a song, or listen to a song for the first time all over again.

The Olympic Video Ban

Usain Bolt - 100m Final Beijing 2008 - Video
Uploaded by jeshc18

This world record was broken on Saturday, and I kid you not when I say this is the first time I've been able to track down any video evidence of it. And it's not as if I've only been looking on YouTube. I tuned into every sports channel I have access to (TSN, Sportsnet, The Score) on Saturday night and could get nothing more than those ridiculous still images with music playing in the background. That's right: still images. I half expected my neighbour to ride over in his horse and buggy to see if I wanted help sweeping my chimney.

To paraphrase the great George Carlin: In a country where you can buy cinnamon dental floss, cheese in a spray can, and edible women't panties, how is it possible that we live in a society that denies us access to video footage of the greatest sporting events of our generation?

Because it isn't only Usain Bolt's unfathomable world record that has been impossible to find. I'm not sure if you've heard, but apparently Michael Phelps has won a few gold medals in these Olympics as well. But just like with Bolt's world record run, video evidence of Phelps' astonishing accomplishments have been guarded more closely than Area 51.

I find it more than just a little ironic that we're all making such a huge story of the fact that the Communist Government places restrictions on access to online information in the People's Republic, yet right here at home, NBC is "bottling up" information in a similar fashion, and nobody seems to bat an eye. I guess we all just accept the "all in the name of profit" excuse and move on with our lives.

A sad time for democracy indeed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Canada at the Olympics: Day 9

So long, Tajikistan. Next up: Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe. And then the U.S. And then China.

There's no stopping us now.

(Let me tell you, the people at the bar I was in last night were transfixed by Carol Huynh's performance in the semi-final match, and that's no lie.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Obscenity-Laden Tirade by a Hall of Fame Manager Showdown



I honestly didn't think that Tommy Lasorda's "Duke, did you hear that? I just farted... Yeah, that's what it smells like: Slimfast!" routine could ever be topped. But I'm pretty sure the unearthing of Earl Weaver's spot on Manager's Corner may have done just that. The champ has officially been de-throned.

I mean, how can anyone expect to compete with: "Alice Sweet oughta be worried about where the fuck her next lay is comin' from rather than where her next God damn tomato plant is comin' from! If she'd get her ass out to the fuckin bars at night and go hustlin' around the God damn streets, she might get a prick stuck in her once in awhile!"

With all due respect to the great Sparky Anderson, the former Tigers bench boss is a distant third in this race.

The Secret to Staying Young:

And all this time, I thought it was plenty of exercise and a balanced diet... Who knew?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Canada at the Olympics

Countries with more 2008 Olympic medals than Canada to date:

Now, I'm not saying that Canada is inherently better than these countries... but come on.

Canada's GDP is estimated at $1.178 Trillion (2006). Togo's GDP? A little over $9 Billion. By no means am I a mathematics major, but isn't that like 1/130th of our country's economic power? How can we not compete with these guys? Mongolia's GDP? Slightly more than $5 Billion (1/235th of ours). In fact, I would venture to guess that if you were to add up every country's GDP on that list, it wouldn't even be half of what ours is.

(Some quick calculations have shown that the combined GDPs of the above-listed 10 countries is approximately $583 Billion - just less than half of Canada's $1.178 Trillion)

And yet each and every one of those G8 powerhouses are absolutely dominating us on the podium. I have oftentimes and unabashedly proclaimed Canada to be the greatest country on earth, and by no means am I rescinding that claim. But I think it's time we get our asses in gear with regards to athletics. This has gone far beyond the point of mere embarrassment.

(By the way, I've watched a total of about 20 minutes of the Olympics thus far. There's only so much men's gymnastics you can watch while completely shitfaced at 3 o'clock in the morning.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Friday Diversion

As we get ready for the second weekend in a fading summer's August, here are some of the best things I've come across in the past few weeks:

Dr. Kush: How medical marijuana is transforming the pot industry
by David Samuels

This is a fascinating look into the quasi-legal world of medicinal marijuana cultivation and dispensation in the Golden State. You'll learn more about growing bud than you ever imagined possible, and some of the pastoral images of new age Humboldt County hippies living off the land and making six figures are enough to make you reconsider this life in the legal fast lane. The author's gonzo tendencies make for some interesting reading, and his down-to-earth relatability lends to a style that you can't help but love. Also, this particular article contained a sentance that, in a million years, I didn't think I'd ever come across in the pages of The New Yorker:

"It was easy to see why the dispensary was so popular with young men: there was good pot, and Cindy 99, who is in her thirties, looks like an adolescent boy's fantasy of his best friend's hot older sister."

Serving the Goddess: The dangerous life of a sacred sex worker
by William Dalrymple

My girlfriend confirmed this week that she will be going to India in October for two months. Let's just hope it's not for the purposes of dedicating herself to the Goddess Yellamma.

I'll be the first to say that organized religion really isn't my bag, but that's not to say that I don't do my part when it comes time to respect the religions of others. I have no problem throwing a fin into the collection tray when I get dragged to church once a year, and I'll even sacrifice the odd chicken when it comes time to practice Santeria. But sleeping with 8 dudes each day just to appease the Holy one? Yikes.

The Eureka Hunt: Why do good ideas come to us when they do
by Jonah Lehrer

If for no other reason than the fact that it might one day save your life, read the first six paragraphs of this piece. It really is amazing when an idea comes to us: amazing in the fact that we unequivocally know that idea to be absolutely right the moment it strikes us, and even more amazing in the fact that we hadn't thought of it before.

There are some other interesting tidbits regarding left brain vs. right brain thinking, and the notion that we are better able to come up with great ideas when the mind is either relaxed, or in a wandering state:

Henri Poincare, the nineteenth-century mathematician, insisted that the best way to think about complex problems is to immerse yourself in the problem until you hit an impasse. Then, when it seems that "nothing good is accomplished," you should find a way to distract yourself, preferably by going on a "walk or a journey". The answer will arrive when you least expect it. Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, preferred the relaxed atmosphere of a topless bar, where he would sip 7-UP, "watch the entertainment", and, if inspiration struck, scribble equations on cocktail napkins.

TuckerMax. com

I'm almost afraid to post a link to the site which contains the stories of Tucker Max because I feel like I'll be losing most of my readers if I do so. I'll lose the first half because they'll be so offended that I'd ever link to such exploitative and offensive filth, and I'll lose the second because they'll be so thoroughly entertained by what they're reading that they'll never come back to this lowly webspace.

I have to say, some of what I read from Tucker Max was borderline-offensive to me, and that's really saying something. But the fact is, I literally laughed out loud in front of my computer countless times, and any writer who can accomplish that feat is a writer that I'll read for eternity.

I have no idea whether his stories are true or not. I suspect that most are part fact, part embellishment, and part old fashioned fabrication (particularly the part in The Absinthe Donuts Story [hysterically offensive, by the way] where he claims to drive some girl's car through the window of a donut shop); but as the late, great Hunter S. Thompson used to say: "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story". And good stories these are indeed.

For what you can expect content-wise, you need look no further than the introductory words on TMax's own site:

My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole.

I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead.

But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way. I share my adventures with the world. They are known as: The Tucker Max Stories

I came to the Tucker Max Stories by way of longtime West Coast reader J.P., who simply wrote the following:

Any epic soirees of besotted debauchery that you have either experienced or listened to have been savagely trumped most soundly.

Enjoy. But don't say that you haven't been warned.

World's Greatest Drinking Game?

You will be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Beirut than me. But I have to say, this video has me, at worst, intrigued; and at best thinking that Beer Die might just be the world's greatest drinking game.

The combination of being able to display one's elite athleticism (diving for the die off every throw) and capacity for binge drinking (chugging after a plunk in the tradition of Beirut) is almost too good to resist. It's like the biathlon of drinking games.

I will be doing more research in the coming weeks, but if the response is strong enough, we may just have to implement Beer Die as a Demonstration Sport at this year's Dornoch-a-Palooza. Stay tuned.

For a full rundown on the BBDO (Brownie's Beer Die Open) rules and regulations, check out their site:

For a quick primer on scoring, see below:

1. Die thrown over height requirement and lands on opposing side and is not caught by opposing team is 1 POINT
2. Die thrown over height requirement and lands in opposing teams cup that is a plunk and 2 points. Opposing team at this point finishes beer.
3. Die thrown over height requirement and lands on throwers side of table and is not caught by throwing team is 1 point for opposing team
4. Die thrown over height requirement and is coming down on throwers side and is going to land on table the throwers team may attempt to catch it before it lands but if Die is dropped and was going to land on their own side that is 1 point for opposing team.
5. Die thrown and tipped by defensive team and landing on table and coming to a stop is a point for throwing team.
6. Games are played to 7 win by 2 points
7. Game being played that has a team go up by 5 to nothing is a skunk and game is over.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Making an Entrance Showdown

Indoor Motorcycle Wheelie Goes Bad - Watch more free videos



This one is almost too close to call.

On the one hand, you have the idiot on the motorcylcle trying to pop a wheelie while at an indoor fund raiser. Nothing worse than having a Yamaha get away from you while careening out of control towards a couple of middle aged women and a table full of CDs.

And then you have the cameraman arriving late at the press conference and taking a header into the door. This guy gets bonus points for having sense of humour enough to post the clip himself, descibing the incident with the following: "I fell down at a presser. The guy in front of the mics is the DA of Albany County. Long story short, I didn't get hurt, but I broke the door." Bonus points for the incessant and gratuitous replays of the spill.

But I think you have to give the nod to Kris Kringle on this one. The combination of emotionally scarred-for-life children, collateral damage, and serious bodily injury is just way too much to pass up. I'm telling you, I did not see that one coming. A cracked windshield and at least three broken ribs? Now that is an entrance. It just goes to show that the old adage is as true today as it was a thousand years ago: put a drunk guy in a Santa costume up on an icy roof in front of dozens of hopped-up children as they chant "We Want San-Ta! We Want San-Ta!", and comedy is bound to ensue.