E is for EXCUSE ME, which is what a Canadian says when you step on his foot. Apology is the Canadian way, part of our national inferiority complex.
F is for Jane FONDA, last Friday's "Sunshine Girl" in the tabloid Toronto Sun. On its front page the paper ran a full-colour picture of Mrs. Ted Turner wearing a Blue Jay sweater, holding up her fingers in a victory sign. The Sun, known mainly for its pinup photos, right-wing views and bite-sized articles, explained in fine print that the photo had been taken a few years ago, when Ms. Fonda was not yet a baseball wife. Which didn't stop Torontonians from posting it on every fridge door in the city.
F is also for the folks at FITNESS ONTARIO, who lead the exercises that make up the seventh-inning stretch at SkyDome, a quaint custom of which we are sure Ms. Fonda will approve.
G is for Cito GASTON, who has so far brought three division championships and one pennant to Toronto in four seasons as the Blue Jays' manager. And every night on the phone-in shows, someone says he should be fired. Go figure. The players love him because he leaves them alone and lets them do their jobs. The know-all fans hate him because they can't see his wheels turning. That he is also one of only two black managers in baseball is something Canadian fans stopped noticing a long time ago.
H is for HANLON'S POINT, in Toronto, where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run. You could look it up. H, therefore, is also for baseball HISTORY, which I bet you didn't think we had.
I is for IGLOOS. There are very few of them in downtown Toronto. Ditto dogsleds, beavers, grizzly bears and moose. How can you tell an American tourist? He's the one who brings skis along for a holiday in July.
J is for Peter JENNINGS. Did you know he's Canadian? So are Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Oscar Peterson, Michael Myers, Alex Trebek, Robert MacNeil and Donald Sutherland. We may be an alien nation, but we're a bigger part of your culture than you know. Watch out.
K is for KILOMETRES, kilograms, litres and degrees Celsius. It's 100 metres from home plate to the leftfield corner at SkyDome. Like most of the civilized world, Canada is metric, so our measurements may seem a bit strange to you. Don't worry about it. We'll translate. (You may have noticed already that we spell like the British: Devon White labours in centre field.)
L is for LANGUAGES, of which we have two official ones, English and French. Atlanta rightfielder Dave Justice thinks he knows all about it. In a pre-Series interview, he described a visit to Toronto. "I didn't go walking around much," he said, "because if I got lost and I encountered someone speaking French, I knew I had no chance. So I just kind of stayed in my hotel room."
He needn't have worried. In Toronto he would have been more likely to encounter someone speaking Italian or Portuguese. But American fans should perhaps learn a few French phrases in preparation for next year's all-Canadian World Series, when the Montreal Expos will represent the National League. A strike is a prise, an out is a retrait, and a home run is a circuit.