Awesome stuff from Minor Leaguer at Bluebird Banter that ruined/saved a speculative post I’d been working on last night and this morning on the same subject — which I am currently trying to salvage with this mailed-in one — as he nails down what’s going on with the Jays’ turf for the upcoming season. This comes on the heels of a BBB post with fan quotes from Paul Beeston at the State of the Franchise and a whisper in the direction of the Blue Jay Hunter earlier in the week, suggesting that something indeed was happening with the Rogers Centre playing surface — which was especially being speculated about, since the turf wasn’t on the field during the SOTF event, as it has been for at least each of the last several years.
Short story: the club is attempting to wring one more season out of the surface before bringing in a new turf next season, which will cover the field until real grass is finally installed, by “replacing the infill layer in order to soften the turf.”
So… uh… this was possible all along? Because while the turf definitely became more of an issue than ever before in 2013 — in an earlier post on the subject, Bluebird Banter pointed to a tweet from Mike Ferrin, who relayed that Emilio Bonifacio was “freaked out” by fielding on the surface, though he supposedly played well at second when he moved over to Kansas City — it’s not like we haven’t known for a while. Shit, it was two years ago that Paul Beeston first admitted publicly that a grass field was a possibility, and at the time he said that it had been under consideration for ten years!!
Speaking of that — not to mention horseshit — as far as getting real grass, apparently 2018 is now “the goal,” according to a quote in the BBB piece from Jays senior vice president, business operations, Stephen Brooks.
Ugh. Remember that, when it was first being discussed two years ago, Dave Perkins reported that “they are serious about it and possibly as early as 2013,” though that’s not something the club ever said. Also remember: they’ve been considering it for ten years!
Yet now we’re hearing, via Brooks, even more about the sorts of engineering complexities Paul Beeston has recently let dribble into his statements on the subject.
“We are currently going through a process investigating that, although the logistics for that—things like lighting, humidity levels, airflow, and the engineering of the stadium that would need to be done to address any issues that may arise as we proceed with our investigation,” he says.
Will this somehow turn into a new excuse to keep pushing back the goal posts? Seems sadly possible, seeing as they’ve had years, and have years in which to figure this stuff out.
I mean, if MLSE can be talking about a massive undertaking at BMO that would land them the Winter Classic in the 2016-17 season — the Leafs’ 100 year anniversary — and would require a roof on the stands, a massive increase in both permanent and temporary seating, and the ability to roll back an end stand to accommodate football, can we really be expected to believe that four years may not be enough for the club to get its shit together on this?
As I wrote about last week, the spectre of the NFL looms, and if the city lands a team in the near future and they need a temporary home while a new stadium is being built, the Rogers Centre is the only logical landing place — at least until it goes baseball-only. I hope to fuck this has nothing to do with the talk shifting towards a farther-off goal, despite the fact that it simultaneously seems increasingly likely that BMO could be ready to host the Argos sooner than the end of their lease at Rogers Centre. Shit, Leiweke has suggested making changes at BMO to do with the 2015 Pan Am games! We’ve been told that the Argos leaving Rogers Center would expedite this whole process, and it’s a little unnerving that such talk has become a quieter part of the discussion out of the Jays’ front office, while the engineering concerns and 2018 has become louder.
Or at least it seems as though that’s the way those aspects of the narrative have diverged of late. Maybe it’s just a matter of the Jays wanting to under promise and over deliver, but I’m sorry, it’s not exactly like they’ve earned us suspending our skepticism. There is no excuse not to get the Argos out and get this done as soon as possible. None.
Glorious image still via James_in_TO.