When Paul Beeston deflected a question from a fan at the Jays’ State of the Franchise event by suggesting there was a possibility that real grass could be brought into the Rogers Centre, if they could convert the building to a baseball-only facility, “it sounded like an easy answer to an annual question,” writes Dave Perkins in the Guelph Mercury, “but they are serious about it and possibly as early as 2013.”

The issue, of course, is what would happen with the Toronto Argos, should such a conversion take place, but as the club’s lease at Rogers Centre is up after the 2012 Grey Cup, I’m kinda inclined to say… fuck ‘em. And BMO absolutely ought to stay a soccer-only facility (and probably can’t be converted anyway), so fuck ‘em on that front too.

Shoulda split a stadium with the Ti-Cats in Burlington while the getting was good, Argos!

No, but seriously…

Actually, I’m totally serious.

“They want to make the experience better for their fans, the same way we do. They think grass would be part of that. So if grass becomes a reality, we will deal with it,” said Chris Rudge, new CEO of the Argonauts, following a breakfast with Paul Beeston in which the subject was broached– a turn of events that probably didn’t faze him, given that he said he wasn’t surprised by Beeston’s grass talk at the State of the Franchise.

“I know how much the ballplayers hate it. They have real issues with it. So there could be a lot of challenges where we will play,” Rudge added.

Perkins adds that the Jays began looking into the issue in earnest when last winter they were rejected outright by free agent Carl Crawford, who told the club he wouldn’t play on turf– a tidbit Paul Beeston revealed at the State of the Franchise, and that I was sure I didn’t make up. “There’s the question of lost revenues from truck shows and concerts and such, but if it’s worthwhile in terms of over-all business, the Argos will need to do theirs elsewhere.”

If this progresses, it’s a hell of a signal that Rogers is taking the Jays a lot more serious than they’re typically given credit for. Of course, anyone paying attention already knows this: the MLSE deal shows that the company is clearly willing to invest boatloads of capital when it sees a long-term payoff, but try telling that to the clowns who see the failure to convince Prince Fielder to take their money, or perhaps the extremely legitimate disinterest in signing him to a contract so ginormous, as some kind of trump card of evidence that Rogers are nothing but greed-headed cheap motherfuckers with no interest in anything but mediocrity. After all, if they haven’t spent on a big free agent yet, they’re obviously never going to and were never interested in it in the first place– right, jackass?

Comments (62)

  1. Read the headline and though:

    Who the fuck is Grass?

  2. I really thought the grass and baseball-only dome talk at the SOTF was overlooked by many on here.

    It wasn’t that long ago I remember reading some quotes from Beeston where he was very adamant in referring to the dome as a multi purpose facility, and talked about the importance of keeping the place booked with different kinds of events.  This was a serious about face.

    McCown said on PTS that the change might be due to the MLSE purchase by Rogers/Bell.  Rogers has a stake in the ACC now, which is booked far more often for concerts etc.  So it doesn’t really make sense to use the dome to compete for events anymore.

    If Rogers is willing to to put natural grass in the dome, and perhaps make some other baseball-only changes (remove some seating to make it more intimate? take out the hotel?) it would represent a major show of commitment by Rogers to the Jays.  If we aren’t seeing it in payroll yet, it would be nice to see them invest in the in game experience/stadium like this.

  3. I honestly believe the Argos might get mothballed, Ottawa Renegades style, if they’re kicked out of the dome.

    BMO apparently isn’t an option.  Where the hell else would they go?  Couldn’t possibly imagine a new CFL sized football stadium getting built in the GTA.

    Combine that with the fact that they haven’t even been able to find local ownership the last couple years, and they’re in a seriously fucked position.

    Yeah – they absolutely should have looked at sharing a facility with the TiCats.

  4. some grass and a few renovations to the dome would go a long ways.

    I’ve only been to one game at the dome (I’m from western canada) but I thought that it wasn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be sometimes. a few changes could make it a reputable ball park. the view of the dome looming above along with the cn tower is a site that is unique to baseball.

  5. When they say they want to put in grass to up the enjoyment for the fans what they really mean is theyre going to put in grass so free agents dont turn down offers and the young legs in the system dont become old legs faster.

  6. Instead of removing seating, why not angle the seating towards the infield like a proper stadium. The hotel can stay but what about the restaurant in centre field. Just turn that whole thing into a giant window for natural sunlight to shine in. 

    OK that last point is getting a bit carried away.

  7.  Agree 100%.  It’s ridiculous how the outfield seats don’t face the plate.  If you’re in the corner you get neck-ache just from trying to watch the game.

  8. The whole grass thing was a poor attempt to mislead and appease the fans. Check out the interview Beeston did after the state of the franchise where he explicitly states that: (I’m paraphrasing)

    http://blog.rogersbroadcasting… 

    3:24 – 6:32

    -right now we couldn’t do it because we have the argos in here, rock concerts in here, soccer games in here, etc.

     -If you made the decision to make it a baseball only stadium it could be done, theoretically.

    He later backpedaled saying the question I was asked was “could we do it” not is it practical/realistic.

    It’s not happening people, unless Rogers loses their minds and decides grass is more important than making money on other “stadium only” events. I hate how he tried to sell hope in order to please people, just be up front. Ugh.

  9. I’ve been to around 100 games at the Dome over the past 15 years and it will always have its problems. However, the only major “problems” holding it back now are the hotel rooms in the outfield (worst idea ever), unused covered seating in the upper deck and the lack of grass. It’s improved immensely over the past 10 years.

    Do something about the above and create more of historical sense of the franchise in and around the venue – statues, a hall of fame, anything to do with the history of the franchise and baseball in Canada. Anything to make it more like a real baseball specific facility and to give away fans (and home fans) a real sense that this is the house that Gillick built.

    As for the Argos – what about Lamport Stadium? If the Argos are attracting an attendance of around 15k a game, it couldn’t be that far-fetched to get the capacity up from the 10k. At least it would be a start, it would make for much a much more intimate and fan friendly environment.

    I also don’t understand the BMO Field problems – Wembley Stadium has one of the worst pitches in professional football yet gets used by the NFL. The NFL has far harsher regulations towards pitch quality compared to FIFA.

  10. I heard AA was looking at the trade route in order to acquire Grass, and that it would likely be a mid-season acquisition

  11. Doesn’t this prove the exact opposite of what stoeten is saying about Rogers? They’ve owned the team for 12 years. It’s not like the turf wasn’t a shitty knee wrecking eyesore in 2000. 

    But now that Rogers owns a competing venue for non-baseball events they’re willing to entertain the notion of putting legitimate money into making the stadium less of a mausoleum and addressing something that’s both become a real negative in the fan experience and has become a deterrent of some nature to attracting FAs? 

    If anything, that re-enforces people’s notion of just where the Blue Jays are in Rogers priorities. I appreciate and understand that the Jays are not a charity but, ignoring the Fielder crap, the real legitimate criticism of Roger’s ownership of the Jays is that Rogers is less concerned about the Jays(and the team’s profitability) than they are with other areas of their empire. Just like the Jays as a media product are used to bolster the profitability of Rogers media as opposed to the other way around, it’s hard not to look at Rogers ownership of the Dome and not take away that they seem more interested in the profitability of the Dome than the Jays. Rogers’ ownership of the Dome, and their interest in making money off off it as a multi-purpose venue, means that the Jays have a different relationship with their ballpark than just about every other major league stadium. If Rogers’ interest in the Dome was primarily revolved around the Blue Jays we wouldn’t be, right now, talking about how maybe, in the future, they could have a grass field. 

  12. Carlos Beltran & Carl Crawford are two most recent FA’s who would not come to TO because of the turf (oh, that and this other thing called more money).  Troy Glaus at first balked about coming to to TO but the Blue Jays convinced him that everything would be allright (and I think they bought his wife a horse or something).

    It’s certainly a factor for FA’s.  But more importantly, installing real grass as an investment that also protects the lifespan of the current players on the roster.  Take a look at Vlad Guerrero.  He can barely run.  When he first came up with the Expos, that dude could fly on the baseball field.

  13. Get that Jack- ass off the grass

  14. The Argos could go play at Varsity stadium.  I don’t think it holds very many now, but there is space to add seats, and it use to seat close to 20,000.

    But get them out of the Rogers Centre and make that a baseball only stadium.

  15. I know an “insider” that knows as good as anyone about what is going to happen down at the Rogers Centre.

    He told me about 6 months ago that they really want to redo and make the Rogers centre a much nice stadium.  He told me that they talking about:

    - Getting a new HD  big screen, that will be North America’s 2nd largest to the one in Dallas
    - New seats in the 100′s
    - A new roof (or something like that, that will make it open and closer faster)
    - A grass field (though, he wasn’t as confident about this one as the others) 

  16. It will make the field look nicer.  Big plus for the fans.

  17. They have a few options really. York is building a stadium for the PanAm games and the Star suggested that could be ideal, along with the below mentioned possibility of using Varsity Stadium at UoT. They could even build something to put on that giant wasteland called Downsview Park. 

  18. Can find him in baseball reference. Anyway, who would you give up for him?

  19. stoeten…your like a broken fuckin record bitching about the people who bitch.  shut the fuck up already. we get it.

  20. This is really an interesting development.  It’s weird that Beeston didn’t bring this up on his own, and it’s all because someone happened to ask.  Maybe the questioner was a plant (uh, pardon the pun).

    I agree with Tyler.  The last paragraph is unnecessary.

  21. Anyone know the Argos can’t use the Rogers Centre if it’s grass? Is it too difficult to reconfigure, or do they worry about the field getting torn up from football?

  22. Jays are serious about grass? Considering changing your blog name to Stoned Jays Fans?

  23. In other news: Law ranks D’Arnaud as the 6th (!!!) best prospect in baseball. Hutchison 42, Marisnick 47, Gose 59, Sanchez 96. 

  24. That’s three spots ahead of where he has Jesus Montero, by the way.

  25. Real grass in the dome would be huge. Not only would we not have to look at that faded rubberized mess of a field every game, having live grass would change not just the look, but the FEEL in that lifeless concrete convertible. Grass breathes and has a natural smell that’s always pleasant. And it’s alive. It’d be a whole new experience and it would sell a lot more tickets than they even realize. 

    While they’re at it, the old dome could use some renovations and adjustments … as well as a policy or two … like having those nazi-like armed swat-team cops that jump out between innings and stand around the perimeter staring into the crowd, daring someone to … I dunno, jump onto the field and run the bases, maybe? Always irks the shit outta me. 

  26. And if I was a player, I’d (also) absolutely refuse to go to a team that used artificial turf on their home-field. No lie. 

  27. I’m sure Carl Crawford would have signed a 5 year contract with the Jays if they had a real grass field.

  28. Brett Lawrie already tweeted he’s happy to play on the turf with the predicable hops….at least that’s what I think he meant…I didn’t have the Lawrie translator last week……so there’s that.

  29. Screw the Jays,  ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSS!!!

  30. There’s a few real grass stadiums with problems housing both football and baseball. The re-sodding of the baseball infield is always a problem, but the main problem is the 22 behemoths pasting each other for 2.5 hours between the 20 yard lines.

  31. Multiple AL Execs say AA “checked in” with Fairgreen Sod
    http://www.fairgreensod.com/
    There’s “buzz” that Toronto has a “whopper of an offer” on the table and it’s reportedly “sky high”.
    Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays, ordered the team to make a “monster” bid for their services, George A King III of the New York Post reports.
    Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star suggests the Blue Jays would have done well to “go big or go home” in the bidding for Fairgreen Sod.
    If the high bid for Fairgreen Sod is substantial, “they will be far less likely to settle on a contract they believe fair,” Yahoo’s Jeff Passan writes. Fairgreen, who believes the posting system is unfair, would prefer to lay sod for the Toronto District School Board’s multiple athletic fields, Passan reports.
    “We’re talking about having a family meeting once the Madison Homes contract is over,” said Cam Fairty. “At this point it’s about 50-50.”
    AA supposedly “set a price” on what he thinks grass at the Roger’s Center is worth and he will “not go past it”.
    Kevin Gray of the Manchester Union Leader tweets that it’s “soon to be official” that the “Blue Jays win the bid on Fairgreen Sod.”
    A Fairgreen Sod announcement of some sort appears to be coming in about ten minutes, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
    Don Nomura, one of Yu Darvish’s agents, tweets that he doesn’t know if Toronto will put grass in the Roger’s Center.

  32. It’s not either/ or. The stake in MLSE (and, hence, ACC) is introducing the possibility of shifting the focus from multi-purpose utilization of the Dome towards the Blue Jays. The sounds we are hearing are just those of the possibility being investigated.

    You are correct that the key issue is Rogers’ focus: i.e. where they think they can make the most money. You are wrong to immediately assume that this process is impossible just because it has not occurred yet. The trigger is the MLSE deal, not the fact that turf sucks on its own.

    No change in the approach by Rogers (why would they?) but a change in circumstances which may well work out in favour of the baseball team and its fans. Fingers crossed legitimately, I think.

  33. Wonder if anyone’s quantified the average career span of an athelete on grass vs turf

  34. And I’m sure the Jays would’ve signed him.

  35. I think the whole grass thing is something the Blue Jays might have kicked around in the past. Now that they’re getting outright refusals from prospective free agents, maybe now they’re considering it much more seriously.

    If putting in a grass field is all that’s preventing certain free agents from coming to Toronto, then it’s imperative the Blue Jays move forward with this.

    As other commenters have indicated, I wonder if Beeston would have even brought it up had the folks at the State of the Franchise not asked about it.?

  36. The Argos and the CFL have been around for a very long time and survived countless threats to their existence. They can (and will) survive whatever threat this poses too.
    They used to play games in Rosedale Park 100 years ago. Course in those days they were called “Balmy Beach” or something like that…..
    Having said all that, they deserve much better treatment than Toronto gives them.

  37. Green side up

  38. Me too. Liked it when I visited, course I was in the upper deck and couldnt see part of the field, but it was a great experience.

  39. Houston and Milwaukee are both the comps – indoor, retractable roof with grass. In Houston they have had soccer games and concerts (Madonna and Taylor Swift mentioned on the Minute Maid Park wiki page) and in Milwaukee they had a big Farm Aid concert. So, grass does not stop “multipurpose” events.

    So how many other events actually occur at RC, and more importantly how many would NOT be able to go ahead with grass.

    Last year, in December – Disney on Ice for two weeks (if Citizens Bank Park, Fenway and Comerica can host Winter Classics, no reason to imagine any ice shows can’t be put on grass here),  in November 3 football games (1 was high school) and a Deadmau5 (concerts not really a problem), in October, 2 football games, the Police Games and 2 Barney shows, and in September there were 4 days of Canada’s Got Talent (probably just warehousing wannabe contestants).  Not much on schedule for this year. In January, they had 3 days of some Disney theatrical production for kids, 2 days of Monster trucks (Angels stadium just had a two day Monster Jame also, so not a problem really) and a 3-day Slo Pitch tournament (obviously compatible use). In February, 2 Harlem Globetrotter games and 3 days of “Family Fun Fair”. In March, 5 days of  Disney on Ice and 4 days of another fair (with rides) and 1 day of Motocross (same as Monster Jam).

    Far be it from me to tell Rogers how to run its business, but in the six months since the season ended there have been with only 42 events in 182 days**, and of those 42 perhaps only the football games could not be held, though realistically you may not want those March events too close to the start of the season. I guess there are a total of 12 or 13 football games in the year that would be lost. It may be true also that you are less likely to schedule any or at least some types of events during the baseball season. But, how many are we really talking about. I don’t remember too many “other events” at the dome during the baseball season (U2, but what else??). )

    The supposed important “multipurpose” role of the dome cannot really be a reason for not installing grass. A renovation of the dome with grass among other amenities, and a better team (with addition of the odd free agent or two for whom turf was a deal-breaker) may more than off-set the revenue from this random collection of events. Though perhaps I underestimate the “Fun Fair” lobby.

    ** 10 events in 31 days in March, 5 events in 29 days in February, 9 events in 31 days in January, 8 events in 30 days in December, 3 events in 30 days in November, 7 events in 31 October days.

  40. That is a fantastic breakdown.

  41. I’m hearing that he’s looking to trade the veteran turf for some prospect grass(which I take to mean seeds) and hope for organic growth that way.

  42. You mean like how they haven’t made the playoffs in years despite being in a 7 team league? Or how about that they have usually one of the lowest attendances in the league despite being in the biggest city in the country? Even when they are having Grey Cup years it is not like the Dome is being filled to capacity every game.  I’m sure they could deal with being in a smaller venue that actually filled up once in a while. 

  43. I know what would offset the other events:  90 or 95 games instead of 81.

  44. Can’t wait for the controversy when Lawrie posts a pic on Twitter of him kneeling down giving the thumbs up next to the exposed ass of a bent over, overweight sod layer during the installation…

  45. Finally people starting to acknowledge how much of a joke it is to play on rolled out turf put together like a jigsaw puzzle after every concert. Combine that with being the only team that doesn’t have a dirt infield and baselines and you get the joke that is the Rogers Centre field.
     
    As far as the Argos go I’m inclined to say fuck ‘em too but if we want a practical solution I’m sure an expansion to varsity stadium or birchmount stadium could be done in time for July 1, 2014 (I’m pretty sure there’s no way they’d have grass in Rogers Centre a year from now). Also, isn’t Toronto supposed to be hosting a Pan Am Games in 2015? Why the fuck wouldn’t the Argos be doubling up with that to get a new field??

  46. Fucking awesome about D’arnaud. Surprising about Hutch, but good for him, hopefully a marcum with maybe more velocity. 

  47. Stoeten, don’t get your shit in a knot. You are a pushover for their cheap talk….Rogers hasn’t agreed to the grass yet… and likely won’t until some ungodly time in the future…

  48. Stoeten, you posted an article mocking Rogers for being apathetic, and you said on the Fan (before State of the Franchise, mind you) that AA is probably hamstrung by Roger’s, Beeston said that they couldn’t spend money until fan’s showed up, yet you still keep throwing this ‘Jay’s fan’s are ignorant asshats when it comes to their view of Rogers and their unwillingness to spend money’ bitterness around. I don’t get it. Maybe 2% of the posts I’ve seen around here are people who are bitter the Jays didn’t sign Fielder because Rogers wouldn’t pony up. Where is this angst coming from?

  49. Don’t see it happening.

    I suspect we’ll see the Dome sold and torn down for condos with a new open-air, grass stadium being built on the lands that currently occupied by Ontario Place before we’ll see grass at the Dome.

  50. Yeah…I’ll believe this when I see it. Don’t see the Jays giving up all that revenue to put in grass.

  51. Not sure what you’re getting at but they’ve actually been around since 1873. The oldest sports franchise in North America (under the same name). In spite of the fact they havent been winning recently, they’ve won the most Grey cups in CFL history and their last was 2004. But thats apparently not recent enough for you. Btw They went to the Eastern Final in 2010 so that thing you mentioned about not making the playoffs for years?…well…. Like I said, The Argos deserve better than they get.  

  52. Rogers won’t commit to the cost of grass, but I’m sure they have the third best grass seed sitting around waiting.

  53. What happens if AA acquires some “low cost, controllable, high ceiling” seeds that rank high on the Farmer’s Almanac – but it “just doesn’t develop at the rate that was expected”?

  54. Stoeten, for the last fucking time…
    There’s a big difference between signing Fielder for over $200 million and having AA’s largest ever free-agent signing be Oliver at $4 million.
    How about instead of your bullshit straw man arguments about how bad free-agency is by using one of the worst contracts of the offseason you actually realize that some free-agents signed not insane contracts this offseason and could have helped the Jays.

  55.  I’m not trying to shit on the Argos.  I’m not really a CFL fan, but I certainly don’t hope for them to die off or anything.  It would just seem like a really tough situation for them unless a suitable stadium pops up (like this one at York maybe).  I would think it would have to have at least close to 20K seats to be viable.

  56. i would rather them go back to that neon green crap they had in the 80′s and early 90′s lol, brings back memories. even though a number of theories exist concerning injuries on natural grass compared to astro turf, according to a number of studies on athletic injuries there isn’t that big of a difference in the number of major injuries reported while playing on grass or artificial turf fields.

  57. Bring back Puffers!!!!!!!  Best smoking room ever.  I remember being 16 and going in there with my buddy.  Walking into the haze of smoke so thick no one could tell we were too young to be in there.  Ahh memories.  Maybe they could let us smoke some real grass in there too?

  58. Did anyone else read laugh when they read the Argo douche so that the Argos ‘have about the same number of season-ticket holders and roughly the same sized average crowd’ as the Jays. He can’t expect people to swallow that. Watch an Argos game at the dome on TV (actually don’t) there can’t be more than 2000 people, even that is probably generous.

  59. Can you fuck off with the vegetation theme now?

  60. hmm, too bad they couldn’t invent away to have grass and still be able to do all the other stuff they do there….they have a retractable roof… why couldn’t they have a retractable surface..

  61. In fact the Arizona cardinals have just that …the grass field rolls in and out of the stadium on a tray

  62. i always get a kick out of the announcer touting the grounds crew as ‘ the fastest grounds crew in the world’ or whatever nonsense… pretty easy job when they have no grounds to crew if you ask me.

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