Interesting stuff this morning from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, who spoke to R.A. Dickey on the eve of his final start of the season, which will be tonight at Rogers Centre. The weather forecast currently says it will be clear, 16 degrees Celsius, with a light wind– a perfect early-autumn evening– and yet, if Dickey gets his wish, the dome will be closed.

Kennedy notes that Dickey “ stopped short of saying he wants a say on when the roof will be open or closed next year,” but for tonight, the pitcher says that it’s his “hope they will so it’ll give us one more measurement before the year’s up.”

“Ultimately (team brass) will want that information,” Dickey tells Kennedy. “I would think that winning is the thing they place the most emphasis on.”

They might… they might…

But they might not risk pissing off the paying customers who’ve already suffered so much this year and may be unimpressed with the idea of spending a nice fall evening indoors. In a way, though, tonight may be the perfect test– the Jays have the almost-plausible pretext of cold to use to quash whatever anger the closed roof might engender. If this upsets fans, imagine asking them to sit indoors on those sticky plastic seats, squirming in futile attempts to escape soaking in their own sweat, in the oppressive humidity of a mid-July afternoon.

In that sense I’m for it. And the fact that it’s even a conversation is rather interesting– we’ve always wondered just how much control the Jays can exert over their own roof, and this suggests it could potentially be quite a lot. Unfortunately, as far as the core point of the exercise goes– the little extra nugget of data Dickey hopes get– I just don’t think it really matters.

As Kennedy correctly asserts, “even after a full season it’s still a small sample, which includes plenty of non-roof-related variables, namely the quality of the competition and the quality of Dickey’s knuckleball.”

I wrote about this last week, as well, explaining that, crucially, “the bulk of Dickey’s indoor [home] starts came when he was at his healthiest– in April and early May, and again in late August and September. Almost the entire run of mid-season starts when Dickey was struggling with his velocity due to an ailing back is included in the data for his outdoor starts.”

Obviously, though, Dickey knows himself better than we do. If he thinks that he should have been better during that less-than-stellar mid-season run, and that there were factors other than his health that may have been at play, then sure, give it a crack with the roof closed. Even if he just thinks there’s some kind of tangible Dome Effect and that helps him, by all means, close the fucker up!

Shit, I keep thinking back to the interview I noted in a Daily Duce this week, between pitching coach Pete Walker and Scott MacArthur of TSN.ca, where we were told that at some point early on he had “some things that he was tipping,” and the game against Boston where he threw batting practice for an inning before settling down– an inning which, if you remove it from his sample of closed-roof starts, brings his closed-roof ERA for the season down to 2.79. Or, at least, it brought it down to that point as of September 19th.

But obviously there are some huge, huge variables here. And data sets that are woefully small, and still quite volatile– as the removal of the single inning against Boston, which drops Dickey’s ERA a full run, demonstrates. So… yeah, I’m just not sure how badly I’m into stewing inside the oppressive humidity of the closed dome in mid-summer for some superstition. And right now, that’s all it is.

If it works, though, I guess. Can’t be much more miserable in there than it has been this year, right? HEYO!

Comments (106)

  1. Ill admit that sometimes dickeys shit is occasionally annoying. But I do like that it seems he’s more interested in gathering data to make improvements going forward rather than using it as an excuse as to why there was struggles this year

    • The line between simply answering reporter’s questions and making excuses is pretty arbitrary. It probably has more to do with whether the person judging likes him or not.

      If you need a long tough fingernail to throw a knuckler and your fingernail is fucked… what should he do? Throw with his feet?

  2. Before the season started, Beeston was asked by McCowan on PTS, whether he had,in the past, opened or closed the dome because of a player’s request.
    Beeston answered that yes he had.

  3. “I would think that winning is the thing they place the most emphasis on.” — Dickey.

    Then perhaps they shouldn’t have acquired a pitcher who can only pitch well indoors.

    • He pitched well outdoors last year. What’s wrong with trying things to see what effect it has?

    • Mets played outside.

      You’re making a false dichotomy out of this.

      • I wasn’t really trying to say he only pitches well indoors, but he obviously wants it that way. I just think it’s silly that it’s come down to this. The issue is that he doesn’t pitch well at this particular stadium, because the ball flies out when the Dome is open. Citi Field in New York is outdoors, but it’s still pitcher friendly.

    • +1.

      It’s bad enough that we have to give him a special catcher who only hits 150.

  4. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have control over it if they decided to.

    • League rules. I can’t remember for sure who it was now but years ago some team was on a huge winning streak with their dome closed at a critical time and the league stepped in and stopped them from closing it arbitrarily, be it effective for psychological or other reasons.

  5. Let’s get actual scientific data on his picthes. Bring in a team of people, have him throw, measure all measurable vairables, and see if it’s an advantage and by how much. If it does prove to be right, then why should we be pissed that the closed dome gives us a chance to win. If what the fans want is wins, then fans should be happy with a closed dome when Dickie pitches IF there is proof it actually works. LET’S FIND OUT PROPERLY!!


  6. It’s not like the Rogers Centre experience is somehow better if the dome is open. You still can’t see anything except the sky and the cn tower. And it’s not the most visually appealing neighborhood anyways – even if you could see it. Also, Toronto weather is shit – either too hot/too cold – for all but maybe 8 weeks out of the year. And then there’s the smog warnings all summer. Rogers Centre will never be like Safeco. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind if it was just always closed.

    But closing it when Dickey starts with hopes of snatching a couple extra W’s shouldn’t even be up for debate, they should just do it. Even if it’s merely a possibility they could snag a couple extra wins, they should do it.

    • Dude, for the 4th largest city in North America, Toronto has decent air quality, the CN Tower is an engineering marvel, and one of the GREAT Lakes would be in view if you could see out of the dome (and either way, have you ever seen the area around where the White Sox play? Yike).

    • Well I actually find the Dome pretty unbearable when it’s closed, especially on a hot day (the A/C is very inefficient IMO). I could be the only one but to be perfectly frank whether the dome is open or closed is a HUGE factor in whether or not I attend a game on a given day.

    • As someone that has gone to a few hundred games at the Dome, and went to over 10 this year… The experience of watching a game at the Dome is hugely improved when the roof is open.

      Beautiful sunshine, nice skies, skyscrapers in the distance the CN Tower hovering overhead. It’s awesome.

      Dome closed is miserable and the vibe and place is dead.

  7. Why not let the fans/customers decide?

    Build a Rogers Centre app, on days that are not calling for rain or other extreme conditions either qr code or enter the bar code your ticket and pick…..

    Roof open or closed.

  8. It’s too bad Dickey has never played in an open air North Eastern stadium before…

    • He was awesome almost everywhere he pitched last year indoors or outdoors, but IF he pitches 10% better in a closed Rogers Centre, and there is actual proof, I think we’d all be for that. It doesn’t guarantee wins, but we can all get behind increasing our chances for victory.

  9. Didn’t someone (I think Dirk Hayhurst) said that Halladay and Burnett used to get the roof closed on their starts?

    • Someone might have said that but I definitely remember both of those guys pitching with the dome open on multiple occasions.

  10. Technically, the customer is paying to watch the product on the field, and not to watch the rays on the sun burn off their chest hairs. I’m sure Rogers has a clause in their ticket purchases that they can open and close the roof whenever they want (if not, they should). I mean, it’s THEIR roof.

    The point of a professional baseball team in any city, from the fan perspective, is to watch a winning team. Not to enjoy the weather. If people gripe because they have a sense of entitlement, that’s their problem.

    I personally want to watch a winning team. More than anything. If that means closing the roof, then dammit, close the roof.

    • Sure it’s their problem. But their solution might be to stop going to games… which makes it the team’s problem.
      Doing things to please your fans is usually a good idea….

      Obviously WINNING will please fans most, but for some fans, the environment they have to sit in for 3+ hours might be important.

      • No doubt. Which is why if we know it improves his performance we’d all be ok with the dome closed and embrace it for his starts. If it’s some magical tale and hearsay, then that means nothing.

      • The reason we have a retractable dome in the first place was to attract fans.
        The debate at the time was whether to have an open air stadium or an enclosed dome.
        Then it was decided to have both.
        The problem with open air was that many out of town vistors couldn’t plan months in advance due to weather uncertainty. It’s still that way.
        The compromise guarantees that a game will always be played and thousands spent by visitors making the trip won’t be lost.

      • But their solution might be to stop going to games… which makes it the team’s problem.

        Doing things to please your fans is usually a good idea….

        There’s no disputing these two points. But generally, actually producing a winning team pleases the fans more than anything.

        I doubt there’s many out there who pay the $30-100 to enjoy the weather when they can get that for free in their own backyard.

        • All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t presume to fully understand the motivations of a fan for going to the game.

          I, for example, would absolutely still go to games even if we had a full time covered stadium. But I’m pretty sure I’d go to fewer games and just watch more on TV.

          I go… let’s say 90% for the game and 10% for the atmosphere. Other’s may be 100%/0% (like you perhaps), but even others again might be 60/40

  11. Anyone read what award Jason Stark over at espn gave the toronto bluejays?
    And the pathetic part is all of it is true.

  12. I have no problem with him wanting the roof closed. Teams have long tailored their fields/strategies around their strengths and weaknesses. (Short porches, long grass for speedsters to beat out bunts etc…)

    If it helps Dickey then close it up. I’ve been to open air and closed games at the RC, I go there to (hopefully) watch my boys win, if you want fresh air go walk your fuckin dog.

  13. Might as well close the thread, I’d say Smasher sums it up rather succinctly and rather quite nicely.

  14. I’m for it – if the fans have an issue with it, they should consider that they’re potentially playing a part in future team success with their sacrifice.

    Wondering though….could this have been accomplished in a non-game scenario? An off-day? Morning of a game day? They throw bullpen sessions between starts, no? Could they have been gathering this data every day that Dickey has pitched (between starts as well) since the beginning of the season?

  15. R.A. Pickey

  16. From a TSN poster, enjoy boys and girls:

    The games dribble away like a ground ball between Lind’s legs and the Jays are facing a team with real-life baseball people in charge. Tampa is a team who can identify talent,draft it or trade for it and manage it while our team goes with more of a hope and prayer. There are so many changes needed that we will not sniff the play-offs for at least five years. The Yanks will make a deal for Tanaka and we will once again be on the outside looking in like the Darvish opportunity and adding experienced starters does not seem to work well in TO. It is a sad and heart wrenching season and to expect a guy who has created it to fix it is asking too much. Report this comment!report this comment

  17. Do we know which (if any) opposing pitchers have problems pitching when the roof is open or closed? How about the Jay’s hitters, what do they prefer?
    RA, how about Open and it’s humid? Open and it’s dry? Open and the wind is swirling? Open and it’s sunny? Open and Thole is Catching? Open and your back is sore? Open and you have a hangover?
    There’s so many variables in any game…
    I hate to sound like I’m channelling Jack Morris or something, but just fucking pitch – the guy on the other side has to do the same. What conditions exactly are causing RA to serve up meatballs? Talk about needing a large sample size – 1 season is not sufficient, except for making excuses.

    See you Sunday! Isolated showers in the forecast, what does Redmond prefer?

    • I don’t know any of the science behind it, but I think the idea is that less air movement (ie wind) makes the knuckler less predictable. Something about less resistance allowing the ball to move in various directions instead of being forced in one direction by the wind?

      • But I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.

      • I’d buy that. Theoretically, the knuckler has totally random movement because one of the seams just ‘catches’ and pushes it one way or the other, but it’s possible that with the wind blowing one way, it would always (or much more often) start going that way. And damn, pitch f/x has both direction and speed of wind for every pitch. I’ve always thought it was pretty pointless to try and figure out if the “movement” was more or less with the dome open, but you could totally figure out if that was happening. If only someone had a giant pitch f/x database and way too much time on their hands now that the season is over…

  18. For fucks sake……they waited an entire cock sucking season to deal with this?

  19. If the guy threw so well in domes prior to this year what the fuck were they waiting for? All people could talk about was his in-dome record when he came here. Is this front office / R.A. Dickey stupid or what?


  21. The Blue Jays are one of 4 times with .453 records, a few convenient losses could give us a better pick in the draft

  22. Go Raptors?

  23. I think KyleZ echoed these thoughts the other day, but I feel like a real dick that a part of me is happy to see them lose.

  24. And the roof is closed. Hmm.

  25. Just heard an interesting stat from Buck on the radio driving to the store to buy milk. Since his call up in August, Ryan Goins has turned 24 double plays. Here’s the stat: this places him 3d in the major leagues during this period. All together now!: small sample size! small sample size! But … still. Pretty impressive, no? And how often do we have a large sample size when needed to make the judgment calls that need to be made on the fly? Not that often, I’m thinking. Thoughts? Radar? Are you out there? AS? Other intelligent DJFers care to comment?

    • Poorly phrased. Sorry people. All DJFs are intelligent.

      • It’s not just small sample size (though it’s partly that), but a number like that is based entirely on opportunities, and doesn’t really tell us anything at all. He’s looked good defensively, and yes, he can turn DPs better than the others playing there this year, it seems, but he’s still kinda terrible on account of how he also has to take at-bats. A great defensive second baseman who can hit a little would be perfect for this team, but fans getting all enamoured with Goins because he happens to be here right now is pretty silly.

    • I like Goins. He’s sharp with the glove. Having said that, I’d prefer he not be the top option at 2B going into next season. But it wouldn’t look quite as terrible if the black hole at catcher was eliminated.

    • According people smarter than me, you really need to see a guy go through the league a couple of times to get a true idea of what he’s capable of offensively. It’s unusual for a player to out perform his minor league stats until he matures and learns how to adapt as the league adapts to him.
      Defensively on the other hand, Goins has adapted the Show very impressively. He’s certainly outperformed both his predessors both in range,quickness,postioning,etc.
      Whats amazing is that he’s a SS with only ( I think) 24 games at 2nd in the minors.While the skillset used at SS is transferable to 2nd, usually there’s a bit of a learning curve with postioning and timing. Especially with the DP.
      Think of how exceptional Lawrie is at third, his athletic abilty,reaction time, his quickness getting rid of the ball.Now remember his difficulties playing 2nd earlier this year.
      I’ve rarely heard Howarth rave about a player as much as he has with Goins defence.
      SSS or not, he’s seen a lot of baseball and his opinion carries weight( at least with me). He’s even caught himself say Goins is “Alomarlike”, then quickly recanted. as not to offend or make too quick a judgement.But he’s that impressed.
      Sorry about being wordy but the kid can play defense better than many.Certainly better than Boni and Izturis have shown us. And people don’t like to hear this but the truth is he works really well with the rest of the infield and that produces confidence in the pitchers and how they pitch.( sorry people it’s the truth)
      Hitting equally well against both RH and LH pitching does hurt either.
      One caveat, as the old school guys like to warn about, be careful of Sept. stat lines.
      We’ll see what the offseason brings but I wouldn’t have a problem with Goins being the opening day 2B and turning the SSS into a larger sample.
      I think he’s earned the shot.

      • People don’t like to hear the stuff that’s bullshit, you’re right.

        If people think Arencibia is a disgusting waste of a hitter in this lineup, they have no idea what they’d be in for if Goins came back and played full time. The idea is completely ridiculous.

        • Given your record of predicting the future performance of players,I’ll stick with my opinion.
          Defensively,Goins makes the team better.
          Offensively, let’s see what happens, if and when he goes through the league a second time.
          If AA can obtain a better 2B in the offseason then all the better.
          And did you suggest that Goins would be as bad as JPA offensively over the course of a full season?
          Wow, I’m glad you don’t select stocks.

      • I don’t know about worse than JP, but the minor league calculator gives him a .223/.267/.314 line. That’s not a starter.


        Yah, guys adjust to the league after a couple times through, but the league also adjusts to them. There’s no particular reason to expect improvement the next time through, it’s just that you don’t really know anything the first (mostly due to sample size, but also some unfamiliarity on both sides). Without any other evidence to the contrary, there’s no reason to think he’s going to outperform his AAA numbers minus 15% or so, and his AA numbers are in line with that. Starting Goins and hoping for replacement value offence out of him would be hoping that he vastly outperforms his career arc to this point, i.e. counting on a miracle. Nice hands, though.

    • It’s not impressive in the slightest, actually.

  26. Quick, open the roof!

  27. Here’s a thought from the twentieth century:

    air conditioning.

  28. The Globe is reporting that the Dome is closed tonight as part of this experiment.


    Jays down 2-0 in the 3rd inning.

    We are playing the Rays, not exactly an offense juggernaut.

    As another poster said earlier, what about other players on the jays. Dothey play better with the dome closed or open?

    If the jays make it to the playoffs in the next 2 years, we shouldn’t have to depend on a Dickey closed dome to win.

  29. Pretty play on both sides there.

    And now–one not so pretty.

  30. Sierra you magnificent bastard

  31. wow! That was cool!

  32. Just WOW!

    Baseball is fun.

  33. Rays’ jerseys look a bit sucky

  34. Sigh…
    Game Threats used to be about the conversation, the give and take in the moment.

    Now they’re about the sound of one hand clapping.

    There’s always next year…(he said hopefully.)

  35. Jesus, it’s a bit late in the game to attempt to tank, no?

  36. How bout that Goins kid, eh?

    • Goins, Gose, Sierra, Pillar…

      They’ve all given the Jays (and others) a decent chance to evaluate their talents.
      We should know best.
      Hopefully we use our proprietary knowledge wisely.

      • +1. Gose would be a good 4th OF or valuable trade chip if Colby is not signed long term.

        At least the jays have some depth for 2014

  37. *sigh* This year.

  38. I’ve been laying low while Stoeten plays whack-a-mole trying to ban me. Got my VPN set up for AA’s next mistake.

    See you guys during hot-stove season!

  39. Santos = filthy

  40. They snapped our winning streak. We snapped theirs.

  41. I guess the dome closed ended up helping Dickey after all.

  42. [...] also have a year of empirical data to suggest that he absolutely, unequivocally needs to pitch the with Dome closed at Rogers Centre. If he pitches with it open this season, that is absolutely indefensible and the [...]

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