A Memorial Day In Canada

Yesterday evening, the Toronto Blue Jays played host to the Baltimore Orioles. Proving that the team could use some lessons in etiquette for treating guests, the Blue Jays proceeded to trounce the Orioles 6-2 like it was 2011 or something.

During the game, you may have noticed something peculiar about the baseball caps being worn by both teams. Or, perhaps, with the camouflaged logos being sported by the respective teams, perhaps you didn’t notice anything at all.

Seriously, you could be forgiven for not noticing, because for the first time in human existence, camouflage was used subtly for non-military purposes.

Take a closer look:

The Blue Jays, who are based in Toronto (which is Canada’s largest city) honouring the United States of America on a holiday for that nation apparently rubbed some Canadians the wrong way.


I’m all for barely provoked outrage, but it seems a bit excessive to hold any bitterness toward an organization comprised mainly of Americans participating in America’s national pastime while in a league comprised almost completely of American teams that chooses to honour America on an American holiday, even if that celebration takes place in Canada.

It’s probably a missed opportunity by the league schedulers to hold such a game on American soil, just as it’s a mistake not to have afternoon games in Canada on holidays that are unique to this country. However, it’s hardly deserving of the type of uproar some insecure Canadians would like to make of it, let alone any ire directed at Major League Baseball.

In fact, for those insistent on pointing fingers, some of the blame could be sent the way of the Blue Jays for not being more aggressive with the league in ensuring Canadian holiday games are played at home. During the Ricciardi era, I remember speaking with some ushers who heard through the grapevine that the attendance increases from playing on a holiday didn’t bring enough ticket revenue to justify paying staff an increased wage to work  on a holiday.

I don’t know how true that is, but as a commenter pointed out at NBC’s HardBall Talk blog, the Boston Red Sox have no trouble whatsoever ensuring that a home game aligns every year with Patriots Day.

Last season, Toronto fans were treated to games on both Victoria Day and Canada Day, and both games were against premium competition which makes it difficult to judge if the increased attendance was due to the holiday or the fact that the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were in town. Given the similar number of people at the game on the day following the holiday, I would guess it had more to do with the visiting team than the timing.

Before missing out entirely on Canadian holidays in 2010, the Blue Jays played a Canada Day afternoon game on a Wednesday in 2009 against the Tampa Bay Rays and drew a crowd twice the size of the previous night’s attendance. Surely, such numbers would justify the increased wages for staff members working the game.

This year, Blue Jays fans missed out on a Victoria Day game at Rogers Centre, but will enjoy seeing the Los Angeles Angels visit for a matinee engagement on Canada Day. And fans will also get to see those lovely camouflaged logos up close again when the Kansas City Royals visit on America’s birthday, and then again on September 11th when the Seattle Mariners drop by.

By the end of the season, Canadian baseball fans will know all the words to God Bless America.

Comments (19)

  1. “Surely, such numbers would justify the increased wages for staff members working the game.”

    Rogers Centre pays all employees time and a half for any non-weekend afternoon game, regardless of a holiday or not. So on a get away day, and the Jays are playing an afternoon game on a Wednesday, there will be a drop in attendance, but Rogers still pays its employees time and a half.

    • Wow. That’s impressive. Do you know how long it’s been that way?

      • That’s news to me as a current (but new) gameday staff member. Will have to ask around if this is true.

        I would also doubt that there is concern about paying staff on holidays. One extra 500-level ticket sold makes up for the time and a half of two gamedays workers. And given the much bigger attendance numbers that tend to coincide with the long weekends, such as what we saw last weekend against the Mets, it seems unlikely that they’d be that worried.

      • Not sure how long they have been doing it, but at the very least the last two years. I’m pretty sure (like 90% sure) it is for all gameday staff, but I know for 100% sure ushers at the very least do.

        They do it because most ushers have day jobs or are in school or having something going on during the day. Therefore, most ushers (and gameday staff) cannot make it for weekday day games, so to encourage everyone that can make it to come, or to provide incentive for some to take the day off their other jobs, they pay time and a half. If they didn’t, they would probably only have 1 usher for every 3 sections in the 500s.

      • I worked there 2005-2008 and never heard of, or experienced, this.

        • I’m a current usher, and thought I’ve never worked a weekend afternoon game, my supervisor has told me repeatedly when they are approaching that they will pay time and a half, and I have confirmed it with two ushers who have.

          But they could all be lying to me, trying to get me to come in cause they are short, but when my supervisor tells me, he seems pretty serious.

    • That must be a relatively new policy, working there as an usher from 2002-04 we never got any extra wage for an afternoon weekday game. In fact we wouldn’t even get extra pay for Simcoe Day in August.

      Any usher who told Dustin that this was the reason there are no holiday games was purely speculating as any other fan would, we (the ushers) just weren’t privy to that kind of inside information.

  2. “After missing out entirely on Canadian holidays in 2010, the Blue Jays played a Canada Day afternoon game on a Wednesday in 2009 against the Tampa Bay Rays.”

    Wait, after missing them in 2010, they played on Canada Day in 2009? That is impossible. I am confused about events, but suspect this sentence is just weirdly rearranged.

  3. For what its worth, I work at a jersey store in edmonton, and these hats arrived a few weeks ago labelled as the “Canada Day 12″ hats. I hope its just for memorial day but it looks like it might be the canada day hat as well instead of the awesome red ones from the last few years.

  4. Yeah these hats are for memorial day, canada day and July 4

    i don’t think having a camo background makes it a USA hat. Pretty sure our troops use this same dessert camo

    anyone who has a problem with it just has a problem

  5. people that complain are idiots.

  6. They’re using Canadian Camo if that helps

  7. we’re on the verge of June and only 16000 fans show up to see the jays beat the 1st place team in the AL East..
    if there were 30000 then i think it would matter what the fan thinks.
    ps. Memorial Day is an American holiday. The jays should always be on the road for this day and July 4th. and should always play at home on Canada Day and Victoria Day. it cant be that hard for schedule makers.

    • You can paint it like it’s glamorous to play first-place teams on special-hat days and attendance should’ve been higher, but it was still a Monday (ugh) on a muggy, hot day (ugh) against the Orioles (ugghhhh)

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