York frosh cheer Blue Jays to victory

Almost 3,000 York University fans – mostly first-year students here for orientation – cheered from SkyDome bleachers as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees, the No. 1 team in the American League, Sept. 3. The victory was especially sweet because York student Ryan Jarvis had thrown the first pitch and the Blue Jays had made a big show of presenting a giant cheque worth $5,226 to York for student bursaries.

“It was fabulous,” said Matt Milovick, manager of affinity services, Alumni Office. “There was lots of spirit. It was certainly a rambunctious bunch. They outcheered U of T. It made you proud to be from York.”

At Milovick’s request, the Blue Jays also agreed to dub the event University Day and designate York as host. Along with red-clad York frosh, hundreds of first-year students from the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University attended what turned out to be a three-and-a-half-hour game. Jarvis (left), Chair of the York University Orientation Directors Association, threw the first pitch and was then escorted off the field by the Blue Jays mascot.

Tickets sold like wildfire right up to the last minute. “With that kind of demand, it would be remiss of us not to do it again next year and double the numbers,” said Milovick.

For each $7 ticket sold by York, the Blue Jays donated $2 towards a student scholarship. Before the game started, they presented a giant cheque for $5,226 to event organizers Jarvis; Chris Luckhardt, York is U director of signature events; Tanya Mustachi, York is U director of special events; and Taye Maddison, orientation Chair, Atkinson.

The Blue Jays’ donation will be designated for the York Pass it On Bursary. (Recipients are asked to pass on spare change from their bursary once they’re in better financial shape and it has served its purpose.)

Right: Also cheering on the Jays were York University Chancellor Avie Bennett (left) and President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden

The Jays have been great supporters of York University, says Milovick. In addition to offering York alumni discounted tickets to several games this season and donating $2 for each ticket sold to bursaries, they provided giveaways during GradFest 2003 and donated 100 complimentary seats and T-shirts with the new Blue Jays logo at the Sept. 3 game.

“Ultimately, the success of Wednesday’s event was typical of the cooperation between departments and people at York University,” said Milovick. “The Alumni Office and York is U worked closely with the Foundation and the York Orientation Directors Association to make the event the success that it was!”  

Photographs by Chris Luckhardt, York is U director of signature events, physics major and assistant coach of York Lions baseball team