Over the weekend, Jays PA announcer Tim Langton– who appears to have been doing duty at some sort of motorcross event– tweeted out the above picture of the current state of the changes taking place in the outfield at Skydome, and quite clearly the club’s new outfield concourse has come a long way since we last saw it.

On a related note, Paul Beeston showed up on Prime Time Sports back on Thursday and explained what was going with the changes in a segment that also included a bunch of chatter about the Jays’ dreams of another major change to the facility.

“Windows Restaurant doesn’t exist anymore,” Beeston told Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt. “Windows is out. The windows are gone, and anybody that comes into the stadium will be able to walk out there– there’s going to be no seating there, but you’ll be able to walk. There will be tables, and you’ll be able to watch from the outfield, as to what it is, and whether you’ll be coming from the 500 level down there or from the 100 level going up, you’re going to be able to watch it from centre field in an open area. I was out there the other day, Bob– it was fantastic. It’s got that feel– it’s kind of opened it up.”

“You’ll be able to wander in there, watch a little bit of the game. We’ll have some activation of things that can happen as it goes on… concessions in there,” he continued. He also said that they’d ”like to make it also an activation area for the kids,” presumably with kid-related activities nearby, giving parents on Junior Jays Saturdays the opportunity to take a bit of a breather from their screaming devil-children.

Langton added an image of the changes from another angle, as well as one of a redone 300 level concourse, in case anyone actually cares.

Something people do care about? Getting real grass in the stadium. And that’s something Beeston evidently cares about as well, as he made clear during his radio hit.

“We’d like to put in grass. There’s not even a question about that,” he said. ”They’ve made so much advancement in grass and how they keep it, we can do it. But there is some engineering work that has to be done, too.”

So, it won’t be easy, but according to Beeston, Rogers has “given a green light to examine it, and I think everyone recognizes that that’s something that would be good for the ballclub.”

What’s going to be disappointing to a lot of people, however, is the timeline he suggests, and the reason that this process appears to be set to drag on until long after Jose Reyes’ knees are shredded.

“No, no no no,” Beeston said when asked about 2014 being a possibility for the Jays to being playing on a real grass surface.

“That would even be pushing it,” he added when Brunt pushed back the year to 2015.

So what are we left with? “Sixteen, ’17 or ’18,” he says.

And the kicker: “The reason is to give the Argos fair warning.”

Uh… I’m pretty sure the Argos have known for a fucking long time that their presence in the Rogers Centre is untenable, and not just because of the Jays’ plans for the facility. No, there isn’t an adequate home for them just waiting to be occupied,  but who’s fault is that? At some point, don’t you maybe have to give them a damn push? And shit, perhaps the Jays will and Beeston is just being diplomatic here. Whatever the case, the big takeaway from all of what he said is a good one.

“There’s not a question,” Beeston says of the grass issue. “It’s going to happen, at some point in time. The question is, is it going to happen in 2015, ’16, ’17 or ’18. But it’s definitely going to happen.”

I guess we shouldn’t get greedy, but… yeah… sooner please!

Comments (68)

  1. Detroit has a similar patio like area out in right field which I think the Jays might be taking their inspiration. I hope they don’t police the area like they do the rails on the 100 levels. Dicks.

    • Every great ballpark has at least one big open concourse. Even Citi Field, with La Guardia shooting planes over your head every five minutes, is a great place to see a game because of concourse areas.

  2. This is good news. It’s clear that Rogers plans to extend the life of this building another 20 years or more.

    It’s hard to believe that SkyDome is one of the oldest facilities left in the major leagues.

  3. So would you be able to check out the new concourse if you were coming down from the 500s. Or is that still up in the air?

    • “whether you’ll be coming from the 500 level down there or from the 100 level going up, you’re going to be able to watch it from centre field in an open area”

      • Can’t wait to see how many ushers they have working there to prevent people from trying to sneak to the lower levels

  4. Theres no doubt alot of engineering and planning needs to be done before real grass happens but 4 or 5yrs??? Under the tenants law, cant we evict the argos with a 60 day notice? lol, i dont know what the actual tenant act says but fuck evict them already

  5. Coworker of mine (husband of a Jays employee) was there last night for something and said the gigantic new Rogers sign is going to annoy a lot of people who aren’t fans of massive corporate logos being the focal point of the stadium. Makes me worried that since we’ve stopped calling it Windows, now it’ll be called something like Rogers High Speed FanPorch©

    • Who fucking cares? Rogers is paying for it. They can put as big of a sign on it as they want.

      • Provided it doesn’t cut off any viewing angles for all the Reyes triples we’ll be enjoying.

    • Like the huge billboards that line CF at Yankee Stadium? Or the giant Coke bottles and other billboards at Fenway?

      Why in this day and age would anyone be surprised or upset at this sort of advertising? It’s not going away any time soon.

      • This is why I have no time for people who refuse to recognize the Skydome as the Rogers Centre. Rogers Centre bought a concrete piece of trash and have put millions and millions of dollars into it upgrading it and making it a better experience for everyone. They get to call it what they want.

    • Or in their idiotic fashion, “Fan Porch: Powered by Rogers”.

      I get very annoyed when I see that Echo Beach is “Powered by Rogers”. They seem to model it after places like Irving Plaza: Powered by Klipsch, but the thing is, Klipsch actually makes audio amplification systems, so saying “powered by” makes total sense. Not so much with “Powered by Rogers”.

  6. “make it also an activation area for the kids” FUCK! i knew it! why does rogers cater so much to children! you know how they make most of their money? Beer Sales. You know who can’t buy beer? Kids!

    If anything, this should be an area for people trying to enjoy the game to get away from OTHER people’s screaming kids and chair kickers.

    • really….fuck off….how did you become a baseball fan?

      • well, there certainly was no “jr jays” when i was kid, and look, all these years later and i’m still a fan and avid attendee who buys a lot of beers

        • Jr. Jays program has been a thing for decades. How old are you?

          • I would be more than happy if every single distraction at the game was for kids. It’s cute and I don’t need to be entertained by anything expect the action on the field.

            The ballpark should be a fun day/evening out for families. Too bad all the wastecases come just to get drunk. Not to say I never get drunk at the game (sun + beer = swaying), but sometimes it is out of hand.

    • I hate people complaining about kids at ball games. It’s a baseball game not the rippers. Of course there are kids everywhere.

    • I seriously doubt the Jays make most of their money from beer sales.

      How many beers would a person have to buy to make the team the same profit as a dad bringing his 2 kids to a game, buying them jerseys, popcorn or a hotdog during the game, 2 pops, an ice cream or whatever else they want, plus the cost of those extra tickets.

      • +1. Beer sales are profitable, but if you have 2 kids who want lunch, ice cream, t shirts, 7 other memoribilia , it adds up.

        The key for the Jays is to build a fn base that grows up loving the team, and bringing their families to the game.

        My kids loved JR Jays activites.

    • I thought this was sarcasm.

    • Hey, it’s the gross overgeneralization game, I like this one. Lets roll it in the other direction now.

      If anything, there should be a caged off area where we pen up all the drunken, obscenity spouting, fight starting jackasses who can’t find any enjoyment in life unless they’re experiencing it through the haze of overpriced alcohol.

      • As a person who probably used to get obnoxiously drunk from time to time in public to now a dad of two young boys I can say without a doubt that the kids are one thousand times less annoying than obnoxious drunks. If you want to get hammered and obnoxious and watch a a ball game, do it at home.

    • Yeah, who needs a future customer base? Let’s use the space to rape our 19+ fans to the tune of $11.50 a fucking beer.

      • we dont use that word in any context on the DJF blog…..didn’t you hear the reaction to old Lou the other day?

  7. How is the turf really going to affect Reyes’s knees? People run on concrete for their entire live without knee problems. I assume the turf is softer than the infield dirt he would be playing on in any other ball park. Grass would be better but I can’t see how turf is as bad everyone makes it out to be.

    • If find it all a little overblown as well. Grass is better but Reyes isn’t made out of stale pasta noodles.

    • go stand on turf for an hr, then on grass for an hr, tell me how your feet feel…..dont move around much, just stand around…..there is a difference.

      • Reyes plays short, the turf is softer than infield shale. So apart from running down pop outs to shallow left, I don’t see how it will mess him up from the standpoint of the hardness of the ground. I think its way less of an issue than if a player was an outfeilder.

        • Maybe I’m misreading your comment, but the Dome doesn’t have a dirt infield, it’s all turf except for right around the bases.

          I think the concerns about injuries on turf are completely overblown though.

          • its like running on frozen grass, its a real thing, but the turf of new is way better now, but its still not the same as running on grass.

          • Yeah, thats my point. Anywhere else he will be standing on a shale infield. The turf at the dome is softer.

    • Plus, Reyes’ problem hasn’t been with his knees. It’s been his hamstrings. There’s no reason to think his knees are more fragile than any other player’s knees.

    • It’s not about running so much as playing on an artificial surface. It has no give, which isn’t the best for knees and ankles and whatnot.

      I heard the two Beeston segments on the way home the other day and it’s the first time in a long time that I could listen to him without my eyes threatening to roll out of my head. He was clearly stating the objectives of the ball club without the usual Beesty Boy evasions and equivocating horseshit. GRASS BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I watched a Charlotte Stone Crabs game last year and in a similar area in Left Centre they have a huge bar with lots of open spaces and grills selling cheese steaks/sausages and various other tasty treats. The area was open to anyone with a game ticket and had lots of bar stools at the front with a ledge to set your drink. It would be a cool way to stretch your legs, grab a brewskie and something to clog your arteries without missing the game.

    • Agreed. They should up the quality of the concessions in that area because you’ll have stand-up tables/bars to put your food/beer down on while still watching the game.

      Not sure I’m going to venture over there on opening day, but will check it out.

    • They have a similar outfield area in Milwaukee – it’s great!

  9. I’m hearing that the Argos will be able to move into one of the facilities being built for the Pan-Am games. So 2016 sounds about right.

  10. Barajas jut got cut, wonder if AA wil contnue his Buffalo catcher stockpiling.

  11. Ok so real grass is like 20 years away fine.. what about a dirt basepath ala TampaBay? I’m sure that could be figured out much sooner.

    Infielders spend most of their time on the dirt portion of the infield anyway..

    • this.

      i assume not having a dirt infield/basepaths is due to the gargantuan task of…well, i dunno, i’m sure there’s some reason. i blame the argos.

      given that the base is still not ‘real’ (it’s concrete, after all, and you can only pile so much ‘dirt’ (or whatever passes for ‘dirt’ at RC) on it to soften it before it gets unlevel.

  12. So grass is coming, but it’s coming at some vague, indefinite point in the future. Beeston will be Beeston, all right.

    • Remember when he said Rogers was willing to open their wallets at some vague, indefinite point in the future? And then it happened? I’m willing to give Beeston the benefit of the doubt here.

    • I listened to the entire segment…he eventually made the statement that it is a question of when, not if. He then specifically stated 2015, 16, 17, or 18. Given the engineering (i.e. the initial study has yet to be conducted, iirc) and Argo issues tied to the project, that is about as definitive a statement as anybody could realistically make at this point.

  13. Does it not seem from like there is still a ton of work to do before next Tuesday…..!?

    • I’m sure they’ll have guys working around the clock if that’s what it takes. It’ll be open on opening day, it just won’t be 100% complete (as in vendors may not be in place, etc).

      • Kick out the fucking argos

        • What, the team that has actually won (multiple) championships for this city in the past 20 years? This really is MLSE’s fault for being such dicks about the TFC stadium situation.

    • I’m thinking most of what’s left of the part we can see is maybe just a glass installation along the rails. There isn’t room for too much there. Where I’m assuming most of the various goodies are going would be up top which is tarped off so we don’t really know how far along they are.

  14. Now keep the roof open unless it’s raining – or snowing, you know, like a ball park

    • Beeston addressed this. He compared it to (I think) Milwaukee, which has an open air stadium with a roof that can be closed in inclement weather. The Rog, however, was designed as an indoor stadium with a roof that can be opened in nice weather. He basically said nothing can be changed about the way the roof is used.

  15. So…30th anniversary of the stadium (when we should really be getting a new stadium) we get grass. Yippee

    • I dunno. I want a new stadium too, but 24 years is a pretty short amount of time to get a new one, realistically.

      At least they’re giving a shit and putting in grass etc. If they can do that and maybe take out some seats etc, I could see the dome being acceptable for another decent chunk of time.

      • The people want a new stadium , give your head a shake, shall we increase your taxes. Because in today’s world, John and Jane Q. Public would be paying for it.

        So stop whining about a new stadium , go to the game and enjoy it.

  16. I think this will be a wonderful addition. I love wandering around the stadium and seeing the game from different views but I always had trouble getting in to the 200 section. The doors are either locked or manned by an usher (Presumably because of the HSBC VIP section?). I wonder if this will loosen that security a little bit.

  17. People like to rag on the dome a lot, fairly in some cases because of it’s internal makeup, but when you consider it’s location right downtown, right at a major transit hub, it’s a damn good facility.

    When the dome is open, you get off the subway right at Union, walk down the street, grab a beer at any one of the numerous locations directly around the stadium on Front, and then hang out in downtown Toronto right after, it’s an experience that gets taken for granted way too often.

    I’d take the dome in it’s current state, in it’s current location over a brand new stadium in Downsview Park, or somewhere up by the 401 every day of the year.

    • Agreed. If the massive throng of hipster Jays fans had their way, we’d be watching them at Christie Pits. The Happster would be in heaven. The Rogers Centre might be the only thing holding us back from being the Cubs.

    • +25 million, FTC.

  18. Aren’t the Pan Am Games going to result in the construction of a couple of new facilities around Toronto that the Argos could occupy after they’re over?

  19. Read today that the Argo’s are in the process of negotiating a new lease at the Sky Dome. Looks like no grass for 4 or 5 years.

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