April 16th @ Free Times Café

It’s April and that means baseball is back. I realize that there are folks who think that baseball is dull, that nothing happens and that it takes too long. I get that and I respect the fact that there are people who don’t enjoy baseball. Those people, however, are wrong.

As wonderful as baseball is, and it is wonderful on so many different levels, it has become commercialized to almost the nth degree (and why the nth degree, what about the oth degree the pth degree all the way to the zth degree). There is almost no end of merchandise related to baseball – and not only related to baseball in general but also specifically to your beloved Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays will, for a price, add their logo to pretty much anything. Obviously jerseys and caps but also jackets, underwear, briefcases, lamps, wallpaper, toasters, carpets, towels, rocking chairs and caskets (I’m not sure if you can get all of these things with the Jays logo but if not, they’re coming soon). I was recently in an LCBO (for research purposes only) and saw little bottles of rum decked out in teeny tiny Blue Jay uniforms.

And the Jays are not only happy to paste their logo on products but they also allow themselves to be associated with products (for another fee I assume). Those products get to say they are the official (fill in the blank) of the Blue Jays. Some of these things make some sense. For example there is an official hot dog of the Blue Jays, as well as official peanuts and official sunflower seeds. And while there is a link between baseball and those foods, the Jays go a bit further, quite a bit further. There is, for example, an official vehicle of the Blue Jays. Now if you’re buying a car because that’s the car the Blue Jays drive you are probably going to be disappointed. The average salary for a major league baseball player is over $4,000,000 per year. I’m just guessing here, but I doubt many of them drive the official vehicle of the Blue Jays; you can, but they don’t.

This somewhat relentless drive to sell products and services linked with the Jays for me reached its pinnacle, or perhaps pit of hell, when I saw that there is now an official personal injury law firm of the Blue Jays. I must confess I am a bit confused as to how this works. Presumably if the back-up shortstop hurts himself falling down the stairs of the dugout the personal injury law firm of the Blue Jays is not going to sue the team on behalf of the player. And I’m pretty sure if a fan attending a Blue Jays game gets hit by a foul ball while eating the official hot dog of the Blue Jays or taking a swig from a bottle of rum dressed in a Jays uniform (that the person has managed to smuggle through the security perimeter around the stadium) the official personal injury law firm of the Blue Jays is not going to sue the team either. So this particular marketing arrangement makes little sense to me.

The reason I know so much about marketing and Blue Jays is that I did some (very) preliminary research into having Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room become the official 10 piece band (with bagpipes) of the Blue Jays. If the Jays were OK with dressing up bottles of rum in their uniform, I thought we could wear some branded Jays merchandise and play outside the Rogers Centre a few times, perhaps wow the crowd with a pedal steel guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner before a game and drive the other team crazy by firing up the bagpipes when they were up to bat.

Anyway, it seems that the Jays were not really that interested. OK, let me be more specific, they really weren’t interested at all. OK, to be perfectly honest not only were they disinterested, but the whole bagpipe thing kind of frightened them (and to be fair, the bagpipes do that to me too).

But that’s fine, I’m still a Jays fan. I can love the team without eating their official foods, or drinking their official drinks or driving their official vehicles.

However, if you are interested in hearing what the not official 10 piece band (with bagpipes) of the Toronto Blue Jays sound like, you have a great opportunity this Sunday, April 16 when we will play our regular monthly show at the Free Times Café, on College just west of Spadina. We will start things at 8 pm, after the Jays game has ended. As Monday is a holiday for many folks, you can enjoy both sets. And of top of all that, there is no cover charge if you are wearing Jays gear or an Easter bonnet (it is that time of year after all) or if you arrive at the show in a surrey with a fringe on top. What the hell, let’s just say there’s no cover for anyone.

Hope to see you there.


P.S. There is lots to eat and drink at the Free Times but they don’t wrap their glasses in teeny tiny Jays uniforms so if you want that touch you’ll have to bring your own.

April 16th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Calypso Piper
Stronger Beer
Almost Persuaded
Night Rider’s Lament
Mary Said She’s Coming
Still A Part Of Me
Wonderful World
You Win Again
Hank Williams Tonight
What Was I Thinking
Have I The Right
Unchain My Heart
First We Take Manhattan
I Only Want To Be With You
Gringo In Belize
World We’re Waiting For
The Baby Tree
La Llorona
Pussy Willows, Cattails
Home From The Forest
Fast Freight
Lay Down Sally
Rock And Roll Music
I Wanna