A warm summer evening, Blue Jays baseball and an abundance of spirit – a perfect combination for over 2,500 York University baseball fans. They rocked the 200-level of the SkyDome on Aug. 31 with cheer after cheer as the Toronto Blue Jays took on the Seattle Mariners. The evening represented a sweet victory in spirit for the cheering Yorkies even if victory was not to be had for the home team.
The event began when Heather Mountford, a fourth-year York University student was escorted to the pitcher’s mound by the Blue Jays mascot to throw out the first pitch.
Right: Heather Mountford
“I was a little nervous,” said Mountford, who is enrolled in women’s studies and communications studies in the Faculty of Arts. “I think that I threw a pretty good pitch. Some of my friends came to watch me.”
The Blue Jays then presented a giant cheque for $5,134 to York for a student bursary to assist students in need. The funds were raised from the ticket sales: For every $7 ticket sold, the Blue Jays donated $2 toward the bursary. The Blue Jays’ donation will be matched dollar for dollar through a federal government program for a total fund of $10,268.
Above: The York Mascots rally the crowd as Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons presents York students (from left to right) Lindsay Amyot, Prashanna Kantharasa, Heather Mountford and Tanya Mustachi with a cheque for $5,134.
“I think people had a really good time,” said Jeremy Greenberg, coordinator of student alumni programs and advisor to York is U one of the organizers of the event. “It was a colourful rainbow of York students from all of York’s colleges. They were cheering and shouting. The game was magical. Everywhere we looked there was York. They really showed their York spirit.”
Right: From left, York frosh Man Man Xu, Iris An and Runjing Wu
The event was officially dubbed York Day at the SkyDome by the Toronto Blue Jays. York Frosh who made up the majority of the crowd were clad in colourful t-shirts representing their colleges. Frosh Bosses for each college kept the cheers going and the students dominated the stands. Over 150 of York’s staff and faculty came with their families to the game.
York frosh Man Man Xu, Iris An and Runjing Wu came to the event and were thrilled with the energy. “This is so much fun,” said Xu. “I am so glad that we decided to come out to the party!”
“It was great to see so many people from York at the game – the faculty, staff, alumni, friends, family and – of course – our students, especially those who are just arriving to study at York,” said Naguib Gouda, executive director of alumni and advancement services. “This event was a great way to introduce them to the spirit, the pride and the fun of being part of this university. The York University community continues to grow.”
Right: From far left, Alison Robinson of the Alumni Office with her husband Gerry, Naguib Gouda, executive director of alumni and advancement services, and Jeremy Greenberg enjoy the game action along with other York faculty, staff and students.
“The Jays have been terrific to York University,” said Greenberg. “Their support means that York Day at the SkyDome will continue as an annual tradition at York and will continue to grow. Our York Lions mascots showed the Blue Jays mascot some new dance numbers.”
The SkyDome organization was also supportive of the University. “York students were featured on the JumboTron and in the ‘Stand up for the Blue Jays’ segment, the announcer said ‘Stand up York University for your Toronto Blue Jays’. That really got everyone going,” chuckled Greenberg.
The success of the event, says Greenberg, demonstrated the level of cooperation between organizers of York’s Orientation, the Alumni Office, York is U and all of the Frosh activity organizers and Frosh Bosses from each of York’s nine colleges.
“We are already planning next year’s York Day at the SkyDome,” said Greenberg.
“There are plenty of ideas already about how we can make this event bigger, better and louder!” said Greenberg.