Baseball Diaries: Days 5-7

At the the Blue Jays game in Toronto.

Day 5 – August 6 “Education Day”

The Player Development Group spent the day at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. On the one-hour car ride to the interactive museum, we passed the Rogers Center and the CN Tower.

Excitement is building as the boys wait to see their first LIVE Major League ball game on Tuesday.

You enter the museum on the second level. Then there is one above you and three below.

The team went crazy. There is a section on biggest and smallest. We saw a model of an 8-foot giant and shrunken heads. We saw the jaw of the largest shark and were offered to eat cricket parts as bugs may become a big source of protein in the future.

As we walked together from exhibit to exhibit the boys got to touch everything from meteors to moon rocks.

There was a craft room where the boys learned how shoes were made and were able to try it themselves. There were optical illusions and a whole section on sound and another on exercise.

There were skeletons and even photographs of a human body that had been sliced into tiny parts so it could be studied.

There was a machine that could shoot paper high into the air, and a set of wrenches made into a xylophone.

Outside was a life-sized sample of the new Metrolinx electric train coming to Toronto. We took the tower and the guide asked Puppy if he wanted to drive. Silly question.

Puppy climbed into the driver’s seat, grabbed the microphone, and started shifting back and forth saying “we’re going fast, we’re going slow.” The guide showed him the joystick, but Puppy preferred the mic.

Meanwhile, Adonis tried all the seats out to see which is best, as we are going to take the high speed train to the baseball game.

Saw a liquid nitrogen show. Nitrogen is a liquid at -200 degrees. It is so cold it looks like it is boiling. The science lady froze a flower and it broke. She talked about science safety, doing experiments, documenting results and then thinking how that helps and what is the next step. Then it was back to more freezing things and a discussion on the states of matter.

Throughout the museum there were lots of things for the children and adults to try. Stacey and Breana tried out the static electricity demonstration and showed the boys their hair sticking straight out.

There were lots of places for photo ops. Kids could put their head in a circle and look like everything from an astronaut to an ant. Lots of photos taken.

The museum trip finished with an IMAX movie called “Our Beautiful Planet” and was shot from the Space Station.

Back to the house to clean-up, then Lezlie hosted us for steak, corn on the cob and some tennis.  The boys tried tennis until dinner, and after dinner it was back to baseball.

Rob’s son, Rob is the local Little League coach joined in and everyone had a blast.

Day 6 – Sunday, August 7

Split decision: Part educational and pool party 

The day started with the boys writing in their journals as the day before we went late.

After breakfast we went to the Harriett Tubman Public School to see the statue St. Catherine’s dedicated to her.

Triston noticed she was smaller than he envisioned and was dressed like a man. Triston thought of Ms. Tubman as a Super Hero as she helped so many runaway slaves to freedom. She was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman brought a lot of slaves to Canada, as in the US if they were captured in the North they would be returned to the South. Not in Canada. If a man, woman or child crossed into Canada, they were protected by law.

Next we traveled a few minutes to see the church that Ms. Tubman and the fee people gave thanks at. The original church, a log cabin, is long gone, but the replacement stands tall, but is unassuming commemorating Tubman and the railroad with several plaques.

The boys had learned the Underground Railroad story in preparation for the trip. They had watched a video, made a diorama with Ms. Lisa and learned the drinking gourd (big dipper) song.

The railroad did not have real trains. The people had to run on foot and hide. It was called a railroad as the freed people ran from tree to tree tracking the signs carved in the bark in case clouds covered the North Star.

Next stop, the canal to watch a big freighter enter the lock. The back gate was closed. Water was pumped out and this massive big boat that towered above us was quickly below us.

We did a not so quick stop at a mall. We went into a Bass sporting goods store. The place was decorated like a wilderness with bears, deer and moose everywhere. They even had waterfalls and a fish tank with fish bigger than Puppy.

The day ended with a great pool party hosted by Rick and Jayne. There were hot dogs, hamburgers, choice of three salads and for dessert homemade cookies and butter tarts.

Rick and Jayne are dedicated Rotarians that do a lot of work in Brazil. They raised money for a hospital to purchase a vehicle to pick up and drop off cancer patients. Then they helped build and supply a school. They even donated musical instruments for a music room in the school, and as a way to give thanks, the room was named in Jayne’s honor. Turns out Mr. Rick was on the committee that championed and approved funding for our visit. A big thank you.

Day 7- Monday, August 8

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Player Development SXM went to Niagara Safari. In keeping with our theme of education, we started with the Birds of Prey show. The Safari staff showed the group several different birds including owls, hawks and falcons. We learned why farmers like birds. Barn owls keep the rodent population down, and falcons are used to police orchards so the fruit is not eaten up by hungry birds and other pests.

The boys saw big cats, a rhino, two hippos, a two-hump camel and some bears. In the middle of the park was a go-cart track. We paused to let the boys race. The carts ran on peddle power.  Little 6-year-old Solanio did four laps, and was ready for more, but the bigger boys wanted to move on for more adventures. After seeing several more animals, including reindeer and a giraffe, it was lunch time.

We sat and ate looking at a Sky Quest rope climb. Most everyone wanted to try it, except Theo. He admitted he was afraid of heights. But he remembered our class by Miriam Laundry about holding yourself back with the words “I can’t.”  It took Theo a little time, but he REACHED THE TOP!

As we prepared to leave, Skylar remembered he left his phone in the bathroom. It was not there when he returned. We went to the lost and found and reported it. The nice lady asked Skylar for a number he could be reached at in case it was found.

The boys are all wearing emergency tags with “In case of emergency contact…” where the coach’s local Canadian number as well as the numbers of the Rotary and Baseball hosts. We were hoping not to need the tags, but this time it came in useful. A few hours later we got the call. The phone had been found.

Back to the house to clean up and change, and it was off to the baseball field to play St. Catharine’s Blue Jays, a 13-14 team.

Our boys played great. They struggled in the first inning, settled down and went on to win 11-7.

Everyone played, including Solanio. He drew a walk in his first at-bat. Big King, batting cleanup, was on fire going 3-3 with four RBIs (runs batted in). Tre went 2-2 and had a walk with two runs batted in.

Our 9-year-old catcher, who has worked behind the plate even for our older pitchers, drew two walks and had a single. He scored three times.

Our pitching was good. As this was originally going to be a 12 and under squad 9-year-old Triston had his heart set on pitching in Canada. So we gave him the honor of starting the game.  Due to last minute changes, we ended up with a half under 12 and half under 15 team.

Rob, the St. Catherine’s coach and our baseball host, has been great. He got us time in the batting cage, lent us equipment and let his boys play us.

The team had a great time and after all that Jansen bought the boys pizza.

Next Post will have the trip to Blue Jays game in Toronto. !!!!!