As the stadium lights shined and a voice boomed over the loudspeaker to announce the next batter, a group of 48 singles sat in the Rogers Centre bleachers.
They were watching the Jays battle it out against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, all the while hoping not to strike out themselves.
This is the latest promotional manoeuvre by the Blue Jays: First there was Toonie Tuesday, then Bring Your Dog To The Park, and now there’s 25 Dates, Nine Innings Speed Dating.
Speed dating has been around since the late ’90s, but Regina Stamm’ler, president of 25dates.com — which has teamed up with the baseball club to organize the events — believes this latest evolution of the quick-encounter style of dating holds a little more charm than the usual format.
“There is something really romantic about the whole take-me-out-to-the ball-game approach,” says Stamm’ler.
Although the bright lights illuminating the field below weren’t nearly as endearing as a candlelit atmosphere, the group of singles didn’t seem to mind.
The women stationed themselves in the assigned bleachers, and the men moved from one seat and one date to the next (which gave the ladies a chance to check out the men’s ass-ets as they squeezed past.)
And so, as players like Vernon Wells stepped up to bat, this group of single Jays fans were keeping track of their own standings with whomever was sitting next to them during the three minutes allotted to each date.
“Speed dating at a baseball game works really well because there are enough breaks in the game to transition (from one date to the next),” says Laurel Lindsay, vice-president of consumer marketing for the Toronto Blue Jays, who, along with her team, came up with the idea of the integrating speed dating into a Jays game.
Inning after inning, the conversations seemed to ebb and flow with the pace of the game.
“It’s a little more exciting than a regular speed-dating event because there is something going on … you have the game to watch,” said speed-dater Patrick Gray, admitting he would try one of these events again. “Although hopefully I won’t have to.”