What a week that was — I mean the seven days following this year’s federal Election Day. Those of us who watched the results on TV that Monday evening already knew about the happy turnabout. But to see the big news spread over the front pages of the Toronto papers the next morning really brought it home.
With the election settled happily, we turned back to the Blue Jays and their pursuit of the World Series. Sadly, on Friday the 23rd, despite Jose Bautista’s heroic homers, Kansas City took the league championship. Photo courtesy: Pixabay
No more Harper after putting up with him for nine years. And the national rejection of him brought us vibrant young Justin Trudeau whose father us older ones remember well. His promises of an open and caring government obviously got him the unexpected majority government in Ottawa.
Betty and I had voted at an advance poll on Thanksgiving Day. It was the first time for us in the Etobicoke North riding to which we had moved last year from Willowdale in Toronto’s North York. The poll was at the Don Bosco Collegiate — yes, where Rob Ford had been a football coach. And our condo is in the area of northwest Toronto known as “Ford Nation.”
But the MP who was re-elected — Kirsty Duncan — is not only a Liberal but the 19,809 votes she got were more than twice that of the Conservative runner up.
And to think, on the weekend before Election Day the Toronto Star showed a front-page photo taken on a recent trip to Toronto by Stephen Harper: The group included him with Rob and Doug Ford, and it was also reported that Harper never mentioned the brothers by name at such gatherings. (The Star was anti-Harper and that photo would seem to have contributed to the Tory defeat in our riding.)
So with the election settled happily, we turned back to the Blue Jays and their pursuit of the World Series. On that same Election Day, they had beaten the Kansas Royals 11-8 in the American League championship series. But as the week went on, the Jays would lose, and then win. And then lose again — keeping fans across Canada up and down.
Then sadly, on Friday the 23rd despite Jose Bautista’s heroic homers, Kansas City took the league championship and the entry to the World Series. My immediate reaction was pain and depression as if I had been slugged in the gut. Betty, who knows baseball but is not the insistent follower I am, commented how well the Blue Jays had done after all these years.
And that got me gradually back to normal, and happy and proud of the Jays and not only of the sluggers Bautista, Donaldson and Encarnacion, but also of players like infielder Ryan Goins who in post-season games came through with timely hits in addition to steady fielding.
Yes, even though Goins was the main reason why Munenori Kawasaki was on the bench most of the time. However, Kawasaki-kun was kept in Jays uniform even after the number of eligible players were reduced for the series. So during the Toronto-Kansas series you could see the odd glimpse of him in the dugout watching, cheering or making one of his funny faces.
On the Kansas side, there was a nikkei, too. Although seemingly unrecognized by the jabbering announcers, during a game there would be brief glimpses of a guy who looked like a handsome hapa. He was Don Wakamatsu, the Japanese-American who was manager of the Seattle Mariners, and was bench coach of the Jays during 2011 and 2012, and is bench coach now of the Royals.
So when Monday, October 26 rolled around, I was back to normal again, if that is the right word. And at the weekly bowling of the Rexdale West End Nisei League I suddenly improved from my so-so performances during the first five games of this season. And after the bowling, Betty and I decided to celebrate at our favourite local restaurant, Wakame Sushi, which is in our neighbourhood.
When we arrived, there were four other nisei bowlers there, most of then team captains in our league, so we joined them as did one other couple, making eight of us in all. Apparently the others were trying Wakame for the first time, while I was having my unagi donburi and Betty her favorite oyako donburi. Yes, this Wakame Sushi restaurant is the one I mentioned in my September column when I raved about their unagi don, as they call it on the menu. It is one of a chain of three Japanese-style restaurants in GTA, and is on Weston Road in Etobicoke at a plaza called Cross-Roads.
How delightful it was for Betty and me to get together with some of the bowling gang. And we hoped that they would like what they ordered and become regulars at our Wakame, too.
I am writing this on October 27, (the deadline for this November issue and the day of the first World Series game between the Kansas City Royals and the National League champions, the New York Mets). Should I be cheering for the Royals whose names became familiar after watching the league championship series? Have to admit that they deserved their victory over the Jays— however, wait until next year!
Or should I select the Mets? There is a family reason for this latter choice. Brother Henry who is a news editor at Newsday, the Long Island daily newspaper, is a big baseball fan and has been following the Jays playoff series faithfully emailing us the American reports on their games, too.
On Tuesday Oct. 20th, his brief email message to his Toronto siblings was titled A Happy Night in Canada and consisted of two headlines:
BLUE JAYS WIN!
Henry has also been cheering for the Mets which rival the Yankees—that much older “downtown” team, so to speak.
So, let’s see the first Series game tonight and decide. If I can.