The seventh day of June may not seem an important date in baseball, but that date holds a unique role in the history of the sport. It was on that day when two teams played the first indoor and outdoor game in the same place.
The Skydome in Toronto had just opened a few days before in 1989, and the Blue Jays were matched up against the Milwaukee Brewers. The first part of the June 7 game was played with the retractable roof open, but the threat of rain caused it to be closed for the last few innings.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of that historic game, which saw Ernie Whitt get three hits to lead the a Jays to a 4-2 win. In spite of that victory, Toronto remained in last place with a record of 24-33.
Remarkably, the Blue Jays went on to take over first place on September 1, and they never looked back. They stayed in first for the rest of the season, advancing to the A.L. Championship series against the Oakland A’s.
Toronto’s miraculous ascension, beginning with that game that started outdoors and ended under the Skydome roof, should serve as a sign of hope for every struggling team in baseball. The team might be in last place in June, but it could very well end up at the top come September.
One such team in 2014 is Cincinnati, which currently sits behind three teams in the N.L. Central. The club has reached the post season four of the last five years, but it is drastically underperforming so far.
Their record, however, is much better than than that of the 1989 Blue Jays on June 7, and the Reds are one game closer to first. Also, Toronto had the harrowing task of overcoming six teams, four of which owned six of the past eight pennants. Cincinnati has to pass just three teams, and only one of those (St. Louis) had won a pennant since that indoor-outdoor game in 1989.
The Reds cannot start their resurgence with a game like that, Great American Ballpark lacking a retractable roof. However, Cincinnati could duplicate what happened the next night to help rev up fans in Toronto and bolster their team.
A popular singer performed at the Skydome that next night, a rock legend who appeals to fans of all ages and of both genders. He is still performing 25 years later, so perhaps Cincinnati should summon Rod Stewart to play a concert at Great American Ballpark and set the Reds back on their way to the postseason.
Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/7/14