TORONTO - During the Blue Jays heyday, the early 1990s, Laura Schmidt, and her father Jon, regularly made the drive from Oakville to the stadium once known as SkyDome.
Little Laura got hooked watching Joe Carter lift people out of their seats with home runs or seeing Robbie Alomar make another acrobatic play.
At age 10 she even appeared with Carter in a television commercial for Post cereal - standing by her locker while the Jays’ World Series hero pitched his autographed 1993 baseball cards in all those specially marked boxes.
“I had the chance to meet Joe Carter and he was fantastic,” Laura said of the experience. “He signed my baseball glove, it was just the coolest thing.”
Laura and Jon, a Toronto Police staff sergeant, never stopped attending Blue Jay games - they are still regulars.
Only now, Laura gets to watch her husband, Jason Frasor, pitch the seventh or eighth inning for Toronto.
There won’t be any ERAs, blown saves or holds mentioned in this piece, although Jason and Laura have had a hold on each other ever since Frasor arrived in Toronto.
After graduating from Oakville Trafalgar High School, or 'OT’ as the cool kids call it, Laura enrolled at the University of Toronto and landed a summer job working for the J Crew, the gaggle of gals responsible for in-game promotions and leading the seventh-inning stretch from the top of the baseball dugouts.
Laura and her J Crew teammates used to make $100 per game.
Around that time, general manager J.P. Ricciardi, desperate for relief help, traded Jayson Werth to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jason Frasor.
It was the spring of 2004 - and a few months later Laura bumped into her future husband while giving a local school class a guided tour of the Rogers Centre. They spoke briefly, then went about their business.
They wouldn’t go out on their first date until September.
Frasor, meanwhile, was like manna from heaven, registering a team-high 17 saves that first season with the Jays. Laura was soon his No. 1 fan.
“Back then it was exciting, surreal,” Laura recalled. “I’d always loved the Jays. I’d been a gymnast, coached gym in Oakville and at the U of T. But the Jays were special.”
This would be a slow courtship, accelerating in the fall of 2007 when the pair went on a trip to the west coast, checking in at the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C.
“I thought for sure he’d ask me to marry him, but he didn’t,” Laura recalled. “We came home and I thought, 'OK.’ ”
Her family, figuring he’d pop the question too, couldn’t wait to ask Laura about the trip: “We went whale watching,” she told them.
About six weeks later, Frasor invited Laura to dinner at Morton’s in Toronto. It was Nov. 8, 2007. As she started walking in the direction of the restaurant, Jason called her back.
“No, this way,” he motioned. And, there it was - “This beautiful white limo.”
Laura was hopeful Frasor would propose during dinner. Didn’t happen.
Afterwards, they slipped back into the limo and drove around the city for a while.
“It was that time of the year, lights were out, we went by the lake and he proposed,” Laura said. “I said, 'Of course.’”
Then, they headed to their favourite Toronto jazz club, The Reservoir Lounge, to celebrate.
“Jason had already asked my father for permission while I was at work,” said Laura.
The pair called his parents in Chicago with the news.
They wed Dec. 20, 2008 ‹ nearly five years after that chance meeting at the Rogers Centre. The wedding took place at the Midlothian Country Club in Midlothian, Ill., outside Chicago.
The terrace was tented - chandeliers hung above the aisle - with a white-lit arbour at the top. The room was decorated in white lights, candles, white birch branches, pine trees and poinsettias.
Then this past summer – July 23, to be exact - Laura gave birth to Jackson Frasor.
“Action” Jackson attended his first Jays game a few weeks later.
“Daddy pitched,” Laura said. Proud papa took Action into the clubhouse after his scoreless outing.
Of course, being the wife of a major leaguer has its ups and downs.
“It’s good because you get to visit so many cities, I usually go to Tampa and Chicago, I’ve been to New York,” Laura said. “But you’re here, you’re gone for a week. Now when Jason comes back from a trip, Jack is a pound
“We’re so looking forward to the off-season and spending time with him.”
And Jason Frasor, reliever, husband and father, enters the world of free
agency two weeks after the World Series.
“On one hand it’s nerve-wracking and exciting, we realize how spoiled and
blessed we’ve been, being in the same place so long, with my family (which
also includes sister Christine and mom Carol) in Oakville, along with my
best friend from high school, Katelyn.”
On the other hand ...
“We love the city and the organization,” Laura said.
“The possibility of what is out there is exciting too.”