In the aftermath of last week’s State of the Franchise event I received the following tweet about the fate of Windows Restaurant– the once-swinging canteen that sits beyond the outfield fence at Rogers Centre, above the batter’s eye– which as you can see from the updated image above is being worked on in anticipation of the upcoming season.

It was tough to see back on Tuesday night, with the way the stadium was lit, and the event centred around the farthest part of the park from Windows, but it certainly looked to be so.

The restaurant, which in a piece last spring from Chris Toman of was described as “a three-tiered glass enclosure that offers a clear view of the game from right-centre field, is something that’s currently unoccupied. [Jays' senior VP of business operations Stephen] Brooks believes there’s enough space to make it another fan-friendly spot, and discussions have already taken place on a number of potential projects.”

Those talks must have gone well, as the Jays have indeed been up to something, as Minor Leaguer from Bluebird Banter got a chance to hear Paul Beeston speak this weekend at Bill Humber’s “Baseball Spring Training” course at Seneca College, where the Jays’ president “mentioned that some $250 million in retrofits and renovations will be required in the next decade to modernize the facility,” and specifically singled out the changes to Windows. As the tweet above indicated, in its new incarnation the space will become an be an open porch, accessible to all fans, not just those on the 200 level, and Beeston added that there will be tall tables provided there, for fans to sit and enjoy some food and drink while not missing any of the action.

Granted, it’s probably a little far away to be a significant draw as much more than a novelty, but it’s a huge step in the right direction– as would be anything that’s costing Rogers money and only serves to brighten the fan experience. Now let’s find a place for the Argos to play and we’ll be set!


Image via @docrivait.

Comments (82)

  1. Rents for windows done for 2013?

  2. Damn Rogers just throwing money around like it ain’t no thing now

    • You better believe Rogers isn’t spending money for the fans.

      • You mean a For-Profit organization isn’t just throwing money away but instead spending it in a way that they expect will net them a Profit!?!?

        Stop the presses!

  3. Miller Park in Milwaukee, for example, has bar-height tables in the outfield corners for fans to stop, have a look at the playing field, enjoy a beer, etc. This is a nice touch.

  4. It seems strange that they haven’t released Artist Concept drawings or something to show what it will look like. More PR to get people excited about the upcoming season and buy more tickets.

  5. My cousin works in field conversions (now a supervisor or some other promotion), and he was telling me two years ago that the worst-kept secret in Rogers was that the stadium only has maybe 15-20 years of life left without massive renovations. So this is a great start to those massive renovation plans. I’d love to see some kind of Jays history display in this area as well, that would really be a nice touch to a fan area.

    • Or knock out the entire windows area part with a clear view but that’s a pipe dream

      • I’d love to see them knock down the whole back part and really open the stadium up, but not being an architect I have no idea how you could do that without losing the roof. That’s my dream though.

        Hard to believe the Jays have been here for now 37 years, and this city still hasn’t had a real baseball park since Maple Leaf Stadium was killed, and that’s almost 50 years ago.

        • That was always my dream too. But I highly doubt that it could ever happen. It would probably be cheaper to blow up the whole thing and just build a new stadium with that feature included.

      • You could open it below and allow natural light without affecting overhead structural supports. Big glass in the back on the concourse with outside views joining to the new space?

        • Glass with a view would be great a la Miller Park, but like Milwaukee I think the stadium still needs to be enclosed for sure. Outdoor/wind-exposed April and October games in Toronto aren’t too fun.

  6. They gotta start doing something with the park – because for the most part, RC is a giant concrete mausoleum. All this cosmetic (if you can say 250M is “cosmetic”) should be a prelude to real grass in a few years.
    Argos…what can I say? We love you and all – but geddafugouttahere.

  7. So who thinks there will be any home opener tickets left when single game tickets go on sale this week?

    I feel like they have to hold back at least a few thousand. (Hopefully)

    Scalpers on Craigslist are asking 75-100 for one 500 level ticket so far.

  8. $250 million in renos? Seems like a lot… Target Field in Minnesota was built for $580 million and AT&T Park in San Fran was done for $480 million (both figures inflation adjusted for 2013 dollars).

    I suppose Rogers is spending that $250 mm over several years so its not the same as spending it all today, and surely tearing down Skydome would be expensive… but… I dunno

    • Remember how the roof showed signs it was breaking last season?

      Thing ain’t cheap.

    • Rogers is going to dip in and pay for renovations. You start up with a whole new stadium talk though, and then the public financing mess starts. I doubt Rogers will build a new stadium when they can redo this one for less hundreds of millions.

    • 250M over 10 years = 25M a year. For any stadium more than 15 years old that is probably par for the course.

  9. Yeah wasn’t trying to criticize the amount they were spending or being ungrateful they are doing the renos (I agree the place needs them). Just seemed like once you are spending that the incremental cost for a new stadium all of a sudden doesn’t look so crazy.

    Assuming Rogers’ cost of capital is ~10% that $250 over ten years has a present value of ~$150 million (also assuming the cost of renovations are spread evenly over the ten years).

    • Thing is, where do you put a new stadium. Despite being ugly as sin, the Dome is in an ideal location.
      So where do you build your new one that isn’t much worse?
      Then what do you do with the Dome?
      etc, etc.

      … For 250million i hope it LOOKS like a completely new and different ballpark by the time they are done.

      • If they were going to build a new one (huge IF) do it in the Portlands. You have new transit and other development being built out there (unless the city fucks that one up too), it’s a very quick ride in to Downtown, and for those coming out of the suburbs it’s at the foot of the DVP and whatever will be left of the Gardiner. It would be an incredible way to spur development in that area.

        Of course, like my idea to knock down the back of Rogers Centre and open it up, it’s all a beautiful dream.

        • Portlands would work in theory, yeah.

          Then we can fill the RC with water and make it the most super coolest aquarium ever!! (I realize that there’s actually an aquarium being built right next to it already… but… make it bigger!)

        • This much land in the Portlands alone would probably cost them $250 million. Anywhere else in the city won’t be much of an upgrade (and wouldn’t have the transit connections Skydome has). The dome’s not goin anywhere.

        • I live 100mi away and no longer drive at night.

          I buy two flex packs and see 20-25 games a year:
          all on weekends with an afternoon game on get away day.

          Having a dome assures me that the games will actually take place
          (barring a G-20 or a tornado.) That allows me to purchase “affordable’
          non-refundable hotel rooms using one of the discount suppliers.

          Rare is the trip to Toronto when I don’t run into
          dozens of fans at the hotel who have done something similar.

          To me the key things are:
          1) We need a dome
          2) It needs to be accessible by public transit
          3) It needs to have natural grass
          4) Customer “perks” like the Windows reno are welcome and long overdue.
          5) If there was any way of improving the view of the skyline while
          maintaining all of the above, I’d be all for it.

          • domes and natural grass do not work in toronto, until some magical grass is invented that doesn’t need light domes and natural grass do not work. don’t feed me a line about arizona, this is toronto, grass won’t grow like it does there, and how are you going to slide a giant diamond of grass outside.

            • forgot the ? at the end, sorry…

            • Closing the dome from 6PM to 10PM most nights would have almost no effect on how much sunlight the grass gets. As for day games, the dome is only closed if there isnt much sun in the first place.

              The issue that has been stated for years is a lack of drainage but they have said they have ways to install it. Now it just seems their co-tenant is the only roadblock…

          • Agree with stw. It has to be a dome. I drive 3 hours to go to a game.

            I love the dome. Closed or open is two very different experiences. Who wants to sit outside in April.

  10. Hopefully they get some good craft beers on tap at Windows!

    The beer selection at the Dome is pathetic. I’d love to see Steamwhistle, Mill St., Waterloo and other local brews available.

    • all the +

    • Seriously, Steam Whistle is 500 fucking feet down the street.

      • Clearly InBev pays them way too damn much to let that happen. But it would be a dream come true. Synergy bitches!

    • I’d love to see this, but with how much money the big beer makers are probably paying Rogers to stock only their beers, I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I’m sure they’ve had offers from Steamwhistle and other local breweries (Amsterdam, Mill St)

      I went to Citizen’s Bank Park in Philly last year and was blown away by how many beers they offer there, made me realize how terrible the food and drinks are at the Skydome

    • Agreed 100%. At least they’ve expanded the food selection somewhat in the last few years.

      I’d like to see a better selection up in the 500s for us nosebleeders though. You get kind of tired of either hot dogs or chicken fingers.

  11. If changing up Windows is good enough for Microsoft, it’s good enough for the followers at Rogers.

  12. imo they should remove all the seats from one section of the 500s and make some steepass slides

  13. So if I have tickets to the 500s I’m allowed to go to the old windows area in the 200s? How’s that going to work, from what I remember they direct you to your level by the gates. Maybe I’m taking that “everybody” part too literally.

    I’m in favor of the move regardless.

    • Easiest trick in the RC book.
      500 Level – go to the elevators behind home plate. Tell them the ATM on this level is out of service and the security personnel told you that you need to go down to the 100 level. The elevator operators couldn’t care less. Presto change-o, you’re on the 100 level. Find a half-empty section somewhere down the baselines, wait for an end of inning break, walk down with the crowd when there are too many people for the ushers to check everyone. Sit in an empty area. Do it with confidence. Enjoy the rest of the game unmolested.

      Seriously, it’s like spoon-feeding you lot.

      • You don’t even have to do that. You can access 100 level anytime if you only have 500 level. I think it’s 200 level they won’t let you on though.

        • My Dad once had tickets to the 500′s and said that he just walked down the ramps to get to the 200′s to sit at the third base bar there. Didn’t have any problems.

    • there is nothing that prevents you from wandering around the concourse of the 100′s if you have a ticket for the 500′s. You just cant sit in the seats as you will be stopped by the ushers at that point. The 200′s are a different story though, cause they have all the VIP and corporate stuff there. You need to show your ticket to get into that concourse.

      However, I assume once they have finished this renovation, they will have some direction for the fans to be able to get there.

      “Everybody” should really include everybody. Even us who buy the cheap seats.

  14. I like the dome (except for the fact they didn’t leave it as “Rogers Skydome” but whatever).

    The retractable roof is better than not having a retractable roof.

    All we need is real grass and better food and drink options in the 500′s (the lower levels are much improved already).

    Making an accessible area out of Windows Restaurant is great.

    • and some green walls.

      • Green Walls… I’ve never actually though about that, but yes, that would help. Change all of the blue padding around the field of play to green.

        Clash with the seats, maybe?

        • Green seats too then… I dunno. For some reason Green walls have always said “Baseball” to me more than the blue.

          • Some dark green tones would certainly make the park look more natural. Seeing the aging and greying concrete palate mixed in with bright blue can be a fucking eyesore.

      • I like the blue walls. It’s unique in the league. I’d rather not be cut and paste.

  15. Rogers, those cheap fucks.

  16. The final touch on giving every Jays fan their biggest maple boner in 20 years would be to rename it `skydome`. Rogers would (maybe) finally be loved by all.

    • it is kind of puzzling why Rogers (a company so brand conscious they have a corporate audio ID, like Intel Inside and Windows signoff) would not want Skydome in the name. The building was unique in the way that it was known internationally (at least in the sports world) by that one moniker.

      After making a bunch of signature changes to the building (ie. grass, some natural light, fan friendly features, a bomb-ass new HD video board) the return of Skydome name would be the cherry on top.

      DO IT NADIR, DO IT! (just no Alan Thicke this time)

      • I may be wrong, but isn’t it that they don’t want people saying Skydome? If you left Skydome in the name everyone would either call it ‘Skydome’ or ‘The Dome’ as they always did. By using “Centre” it forces you to say “Rogers Centre” which is exactly what they would want. They’d want everyone referring to the Stadium with their corporate name rather than another slang moniker.

        • Most people I know still call it the dome anyway, self included.

          • Right, for people like us it doesnt really matter what its officially called. But for new fans, kids, people new to the city/country etc. im sure they would call it by its actual name. Thats probably not a huge percentage of the fanbase, but its a number that can only grow.

            Still think its fucking stupid, im sure Rogers brand recognition in the GTA is ridiculously high with or without a stadium, but i can see the logic.

    • Rogers Skydome as a compromise?

      • Unsure why they didn’t do this in the firstplace, like Pengrowth and then Scotiabank did with Saddledome in Calgary.

        • If they would of changed it to Rogers Skydome, people would of still just called it “Skydome”.

          When you hear anyone call it the Rogers Centre, You’re forced to say Rogers, meaning it’s a win for Rogers!

  17. Nowhere in the article did the phrase “real grass” come up.

    Is that part of $250 million retrofit?

  18. Seems crazy to believe, but there are only 6 stadiums older than Skydome in MLB that are still in use.

  19. Great news! Just making it possible to walk all the way around is a great ,if not obvious, thing to do.

  20. They needs to fill the grey walls in 500s with some Jays logos or something. The grey cement gives me stomach pains!!

  21. I always thought they could do some sort of brick facing on the cement to make it feel more like a ball park.

    • The stadium needs an exterior veneer badly. There was talk when they first redid all the scoreboards and shit that this was the next step, but for whatever reason it never happened. It’s ugly and barebones as shit.

      Now, keep in mind that such an undertaking would absolutely cost a fortune. Just determining whether or not the concrete is stable enough to have brick/limestone anchored to it alone will cost millions. But it would go a long way to making the stadium look good.

  22. Fuck windows. We want real grass.

  23. 250 MILLION???? Just in renovations? What the heck? is it even worth the investment?

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