A Spectator Weekend with the Edmonton Capitals and Eskimos

It was a bit of a coincidence that the first two sporting events Mack and I had the chance to attend this summer both fell on the same weekend, but it worked out wonderfully given how beautiful it has been these past few days. Surprisingly, the mosquitoes weren’t bad on either night.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

First up on Friday was an Edmonton Capitals game with some of my fellow Downtown Edmonton Community League members. Given we were playing the rival Calgary Vipers, we expected a larger than usual crowd, but the good weather (and promise of fireworks) also seemed to be big draws – there were over 3,000 people in the stands that night.

Edmonton Capitals

Play ball!

The game went pretty quick – the Caps seemed to put up a fight in the first half of the game, making a dent in the Vipers’ 4-0 lead amassed in the first inning, but in the end, they just couldn’t muster up the runs. The Capitals fell 9-6.

Edmonton Capitals

Captain Capital’s superpowers weren’t enough

In between innings, on-field antics kept the crowd entertained, including my favourite – a race featuring several mascots. I had no idea giant perogies (named Chee and Mo for one of the sponsors) could be so hilarious.

Edmonton Capitals

Mascot race

It was to be the last “Fireworks Friday” game until August 12, so we were fortunate to catch it that evening. Although Mack and I can see glimpses of the fireworks from our balcony, there was no doubt the best views are from the seats at Telus Field.

Edmonton Capitals

Light show

And no trip to Telus Field is complete without beer and a “gourmet” hot dog. Since The Dawg Father closed, the ballpark is the only place that I’ve come across in Edmonton that offer creative hot dogs (menu here). Mack’s Mexicali Dog ($5), topped with chili, nacho cheese, jalapenos and salsa cream was spicy, but texture wise was one-note. On the other hand, my K97 Dog ($5), with chili, cheese, fried potatoes, bacon and onions was a definite winner – I loved that they used bacon strips instead of bits, and the crispy fried potatoes made all the difference, adding a delicious salty crunch.

Edmonton Capitals

Mack tries his first Molson M

Edmonton Capitals

Mexicali and K97 Dogs

Football Frenzy

Mack’s Dad was in town again this weekend, and as Kim was able to secure us some free tickets to the Edmonton Eskimos game, we spent Saturday evening together at Commonwealth Stadium (curiously, it was the first-ever “Ladies Night”, with the first 1,000 women through the gates eligible to win a diamond ring. We didn’t arrive early enough to cash in, but we had to wonder if it was a draw at all).

Edmonton Eskimos

All decked out in Esks gear

This was the first time we’ve ever had seats on the east-facing side of Commonwealth, and boy, does it make a difference. Protected by shade, it definitely made watching the game more pleasant.

Edmonton Eskimos

Hanging in the shade

The Esks have been actually doing pretty well this year, undefeated at 2-0 so far. Playing the BC Lions, we were hopeful that they would continue their streak. After the first quarter, we were even more optimistic.

Edmonton Eskimos

Ready, set, hike!

Their momentum carried the length of the game, and the Esks beat the Lions 33-17.

Edmonton Eskimos

Touchdown fireworks

Because of how one-sided the game was, some fans had the need to find other ways to entertain themselves…such as building a pyramid out of empty beer cups.

Edmonton Eskimos

How high can you go?

Of course, we had to indulge in some stadium food. We chose mini doughnuts (thinking they would be a nice pre-cursor to the midway fare at Capital Ex). The doughnuts were crunchier and had less cinnamon sugar coating than Those Little Donuts (our favourite), but made a decent snack.

Edmonton Eskimos

Mini doughnuts!

Thanks again Kim for the free tickets!

Baseball Night in Edmonton with Homeward Trust

Last week, Homeward Trust treated their Homeless Connect volunteers to an Edmonton Capitals game. It was a very different kind of volunteer appreciation evening, but one that provided a refreshing change from the usual appetizers and drinks, and as Mack said, the formal thank-you speeches. And really, what’s better than a local agency supporting another local organization?

Edmonton Capitals

Batter up!

As Mack said in his write-up, this was our first visit to Telus Field in a number of years. I know the last time I attended a baseball game, the team that played here was called the Edmonton Trappers! Much has changed since then – the team that calls Telus Field home is now the Edmonton Capitals, a part of the Golden Baseball League. Their season has been great so far, with a record of (as of today) 29-15.

That night, they were playing the Tijuana Cimarrones (I had no idea the GBL included teams from as far away as Mexico and Hawaii). The Capitals pulled into an early lead, and helped along by a few home runs, won easily 14-5.

Edmonton Capitals

Let’s play ball!

Though baseball is far from my favourite sport, I thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace and the venue (with a perfect line of sight of both the High Level Bridge and the Legislature). However, it felt a bit like the opposite of what we experienced at our last Eskimos game – instead of being underdressed, we were overdressed – in jeans and without any sun protection, we absolutely baked in our west-facing seats.

Edmonton Capitals

It was HOT

To escape the heat, we spent a lot of time wandering the innards of Telus Field to check out their reasonably-priced food menu. We had eaten a full meal at home before the game, but couldn’t resist a slurpee and an ice cream as efforts to keep cool. And, well, when I saw their gourmet hot dog offerings (which they claim to be the most extensive in the city), I just had to try one.

The perogy dog ($4.50) came topped with cheese, bacon, onions, fried potatoes and loads of sour cream. I could have done without the latter, but other than that, it was pretty tasty, and definitely something creative that I wouldn’t have expected to be sold at the ballpark (Telus is no Citi Field).

Edmonton Capitals

Perogy dog

I also have to applaud the Capitals for being ahead of the curve when it comes to promotions. Though their regular tickets are quite affordable at just $10 each, between their 4 for $44 Thursdays (4 tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 drinks for $44), movie nights (watch a movie screening out on the field following the game), and innovative ideas such as offering free parking to those who carpool with four or more individuals, I think the Capitals will be around for years to come.

Edmonton Capitals

Mack and mascot Razzle

Thanks again to Homeward Trust for the tickets! It was a great way to unwind on a summer evening in Edmonton.