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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jays turf Argos in favour of grass playing surface at Rogers Centre

A renewed lease for the Toronto Argonauts to play at Rogers Centre will effectively serve as notice to vacate, clearing the way for grass to be installed for baseball no later than 2018.

The Toronto Blue Jays have determined it is possible to grow and maintain a grass playing surface inside the facility by digging up the floor, adding a drainage system and topping it with about 30 centimetres of dirt.

Thirty centimetres is about a foot, for the Americans reading this.

BrianBrianson Posted: September 11, 2013 at 03:56 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays

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   1. JE (Jason) Posted: September 11, 2013 at 07:32 AM (#4538671)
Alternate headline: "Jays: Argo F*ck Yourself"

Alternate closing sentence: "Yahoo!'s Michael Silver was unavailable for comment."
   2. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: September 11, 2013 at 08:36 AM (#4538692)
The Argos will probably end up at BMO, which is a much better venue for them anyway.
   3. BrianBrianson Posted: September 11, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4538698)
Or, the Argos could play nothing but away games, since no one in Toronto cares for football anyhow.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4538752)
What about their other tenant, the Buffalo Bills?
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4538756)
Wait, why can't they play football on grass? I've heard it has been tried before.
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4538757)
"Turf" is a verb now?
   7. Good cripple hitter Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM (#4538771)
Wait, why can't they play football on grass? I've heard it has been tried before.


Right now when the field changes from baseball to football (or vice versa) the seats down the first and third baselines move. If they change the surface to grass, they won't be able to move the seats.

This move doesn't really make sense to me, but the Jays have been obsessed with playing on grass for years so it was probably inevitable.
   8. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4538782)
"Turf" is a verb now?


According to etymonline, it is attested since the early fifteenth century as a verb.
   9. TerpNats Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4538785)
What about their other tenant, the Buffalo Bills?
Their annual game in Toronto could be played after baseball season concludes, just as college football games at Yankee Stadium are scheduled for November.
   10. BrianBrianson Posted: September 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4538818)
This move doesn't really make sense to me, but the Jays have been obsessed with playing on grass for years so it was probably inevitable.


The Argos pay less than half a million a year to play in Skydome, I don't think the money is worth worrying about. Presumably Rogers also gets a shore of the concessions, but for that to be significant, people would have to show up for Argos' games.
   11. RJ in TO Posted: September 11, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4538841)
What about their other tenant, the Buffalo Bills?

I thought that deal was expiring shortly. I'm probably wrong, as I really have no idea what's happening in the NFL anymore.
   12. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: September 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4538915)
It got renewed, much to the shock and dismay of Bills fans and players.
   13. RJ in TO Posted: September 11, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4538917)
Thanks. I apparently missed that news.
   14. BrianBrianson Posted: September 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4538952)
The Bills deal runs through 2017, and the Mop & Pail article says grass will by in Skydome by 2018. Some reading between the lines may be required. Are the Bills the only team that plays games in Canada? I could easily imagine the Seahawks playing a game in Vancouver, or any team in a town as rubbish as Buffalo playing a game in, say, Calgary, which has money and loves football.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4538960)
Are the Bills the only team that plays games in Canada?


Yes, and there was speculation that Toronto could be a full-time home before the Bills got stadium upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium.
   16. BrianBrianson Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4538976)
Huh. Buffalo is a pretty lousy town for the NFL (probably stretched too thin between the Sabres and Bills), but Toronto seems like a pretty poor choice for the Canada NFL franchise - city isn't very into football (the Argos are the only CFL team losing money), and anti-Toronto bias makes it hard to market Toronto teams outside of southern Ontario. Calgary or Edmonton seem like the most natural choices by far (although obviously Calgary's the same size as Buffalo, and has a NHL team, it's a wealthy and growing city, not a broke and shrinking city)
   17. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4538982)
The problem with Calgary and Edmonton - and I'm not suggesting this isn't common knowledge, but I figured I'd mention it - is that their CFL teams are wildly popular and a lot of people there would be furious if the NFL came in and squashed the Stamps or Esks.

At the very least, Toronto has a bunch of people, a bunch of money, and would (by and large) give exactly zero f***s if they lost their CFL franchise and gained an NFL team.

'Course, I'm a Bills fan and would go out of my way not to watch another down of NFL football if the team left Buffalo, so I'm hardly in favor of relocation.
   18. Papa Squid Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4538983)
city isn't very into football (the Argos are the only CFL team losing money)


I'd argue the city isn't very into CFL football... I know many people who are NFL fans who have no time for the CFL.
   19. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4538992)
Good. Baseball should always be played on grass.
   20. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4539009)
I'd argue the city isn't very into CFL football... I know many people who are NFL fans who have no time for the CFL.


Actually, the city isn't very into anything that it doesn't perceive as the top level league of the sport.

CFL < NFL, so no support.
Junior hockey (and AHL) < NHL, so no support.

The Raptors have sucked for a while, and they still draw middle-of-the-league attendance numbers, because the NBA is the top league.
Toronto FC have sucked for a long time, and they finish in the upper half of the league in attendance, because the MLS is the top league (in North America).
The Maple Leafs have only finally made the playoffs for the first time in 9 years, and they've been sold out every game since forever, because the NHL is king.
Even the Rock (lacrosse) are near the top of the league in attendance (and draw damn good numbers (11,000/game) for the #6 or #7 sport in the city), because NLL is tops.
   21. smileyy Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4539015)
I'd be in favor of the NFL in Canada if games played in Canadian stadiums were played by CFL rules.
   22. villageidiom Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4539017)
Right now when the field changes from baseball to football (or vice versa) the seats down the first and third baselines move. If they change the surface to grass, they won't be able to move the seats.
Not without first moving the grass. I think University of Phoenix Stadium (and other stadia in Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands) has shown that it is technologically feasible to have a "tray" of grass that can be moved as needed.

OTOH, Candlestick had a grass field and seating sections that rolled atop it for a different sport's field configuration. So did Mile High, IIRC.
   23. Rusty Priske Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4539019)
I can't see any reason that this isn't all-around good news.
   24. just plain joe Posted: September 11, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4539021)
OTOH, Candlestick had a grass field and seating sections that rolled atop it for a different sport's field configuration. So did Mile High, IIRC.


I'm reasonably certain that this was the case in Shea Stadium when the Jets played there. The box seats along the 1st and 3rd baselines would rotate so that they would be parallel with the football field, which ran from home plate to centerfield. Many of the other multi-purpose stadiums were configured in the same manner; of course they mostly had artificial turf so rolling over the grass was not an issue.
   25. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: September 11, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4539025)
The former Olympic Stadium in Sydney has a grass field and seating that rolls atop it. Here's a list of stadia with movable seating.
   26. boteman Posted: September 11, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4539295)
I'm reasonably certain that this was the case in Shea Stadium when the Jets played there

Old RFK Stadium in D.C. was convertible to accommodate both the Senators and Redskins, although from the descriptions above it didn't have anything to do with rotating the seats. There were sections of seats on rollers that could be retracted to allow for realistic baseball distances down to the RF and LF corners. It's a natural grass field, of course. Andy probably has more and better information on that whole arrangement.

As a funny anecdote, during those many, many, many exhibition games when they would kindle hope that baseball would return to D.C. the seats had been deployed for so long in football configuration that they were essentially rusted in place, so they just didn't bother moving them for one or two lousy exhibition baseball games. When it became clear that the Expos were indeed moving to D.C. they had to move those seats the heck out of the way. I assume they just cut them out and disposed of them since the Redskins had since moved to their new facility at beautiful downtown RalJon, Maryland.
   27. TerpNats Posted: September 11, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4539314)
As a funny anecdote, during those many, many, many exhibition games when they would kindle hope that baseball would return to D.C. the seats had been deployed for so long in football configuration that they were essentially rusted in place, so they just didn't bother moving them for one or two lousy exhibition baseball games. When it became clear that the Expos were indeed moving to D.C. they had to move those seats the heck out of the way.
That was true in the 1980s (remember the two Cracker Jack Old-Timers games and Luke Appling's "home run"?) and for a few exhibition games (e.g., Phillies-Mets in '87) -- but when Washington was a candidate for NL expansion in 1993, the "football" seats were fully removed for the two Boston-Baltimore games in 1991 and RFK was in a conventional baseball configuration, albeit rather barebones; the same applied for the two Cardinals-Expos games in '99.
   28. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: September 12, 2013 at 08:50 AM (#4539621)
Toronto would support an NFL team, but they would need a new stadium: Skydome is too small.

Let's see: expand to 40 teams by 2025, with 2 in LA and one each in Toronto, Vancouver, London, Mexico City, Portland and San Antonio.

You're welcome.
   29. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: September 12, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4539641)
I've brought this up a number of times, but I think London poses a huge potential PR problem in that the UK doesn't seem likely to get excited about allowing convicted felons to immigrate, live, and work in the country.

In just about any other sport, this would be me being a sarcastic jerk, but in the NFL, we're talking about multiple MVPs who have done time in the past ten years.
   30. Flynn Posted: September 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4539681)
Buffalo is a pretty lousy town for the NFL (probably stretched too thin between the Sabres and Bills),


What?

They freaking love the Bills. They do well to even come close to selling out their games, considering they play in a 74,000 seat stadium in a small, economically depressed city and have stunk for the past 10+ years.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4539686)

In just about any other sport, this would be me being a sarcastic jerk, but in the NFL, we're talking about multiple MVPs who have done time in the past ten years.


Does the NHL have this problem across the border? I don't know how many felons there are in the NHL, but I seem to recall a story or two about a player having trouble getting into Canada.
   32. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: September 20, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4546202)
Update: The Argos have signed a lease extension to stay at the dome until...you guessed it...December 31, 2017. According to the linked release, no extension past that date "is contemplated", which seems vague enough that something can change in the next three years, but ominous enough that the Boatmen need to line up Plan B, pronto.
   33. ursus arctos Posted: September 20, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4546219)
31, Bob Probert spent four years in the NHL without entering Canada for that reason.

24's recollection of how Shea was configured for football is correct. I recall it being considered somewhat of an innovation at the time, as the seats in older stadia that hosted the NFL (Original Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field, for two) didn't have this flexibility.
   34. zack Posted: September 20, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4546283)
They freaking love the Bills.

Also, football as a weekend sport draws from an area much wider than just Buffalo. Not that it isn't still a tiny market and that will stop them from moving to Toronto the day after Ralph Wilson kicks it. They were top-10 in attendance as recently as 2008, despite having sucked for much, much longer than that.

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