Paul Beeston appeared on Prime Time Sports last night on the Fan 590, and dropped a steaming shit-bomb on fans’ hopes that getting the Argos out of the Rogers Centre could “expedite” the process of bringing real grass to the facility.
After mostly brushing off questions about the still-possible improvements to the roster — he says would never say he’s satisfied and doesn’t want to get better, declined to answer about whether he’d be surprised if they got to Opening Day without a major addition, but actually came around to admitting that, based on both offense and defence, they’re looking to improve on Ryan Goins specifically — and addressing the whole The Policy thing again (and, as usual, sounding more firm about it as a guiding principle than Alex Anthopoulos ever does), the issue of the upgrades to Rogers Centre came up, as Stephen Brunt pressed the Jays’ president and CEO on the confusion that has reigned as the story out of Rogers has changed.
After letting Beeston give his spiel about the many obstacles that will need to be overcome, Brunt went to work:
BRUNT: If the Argos were not part of this discussion, and I said to you, ‘Put grass in there as fast as you possibly can,’ how long do you think that would take?
BEESTON: I think it would take three or four years.
BEESTON: Yep. Because we have a lot of work to do. We just can’t put grass in there and see it die. So, we know that we can put grass in, because we’ve done it before, but that grass that has been put in before has been brought in, laid on top of the concrete, and they played soccer games on it. But you can’t continue just to put the grass in, because it would never mend properly so that you had a clean surface. So, the idea would be that you would have to take the concrete out, dig down, have — and this is all — there’s a lot of engineering work in this. This isn’t just a matter of putting grass on the concrete, this is a matter of making a grass field, and then making sure that it can grow.
BRUNT: So, Argos or no Argos, you’re saying 2018.
He continued, with respect to the obstacles, by adding that, “I wasn’t aware of this, it’s not just he light and the sun, because you can take care of that to make sure it gets the proper lighting, but it has a lot to do with the air currents. And, you know, our air comes from the top down, and we’re going to have to put something in so that the air goes along the surface of the grass to grow.”
Yeah, I can’t imagine what kind of marvel of engineering it might take to get the air to flow along the surface.
I also can’t imagine where fans might have got the fucking grand idea that the team may be able to “expedite” the process if the Argos were to leave the building earlier.
And now it’s not even so much that it will be done, but it’s that “We think that it can be done, but we’re going to have to find out,” and ”We’re examining this very, very closely and we want to do it.”
It’s not all bad, though. Last week Beeston’s boss, Rogers Media president Keith Pelley, was also on Prime Time Sports, and his comments were a little more grass-friendly. Sort of.
He agreed that the goal was to have grass in the stadium by 2018 “in a perfect world,” and added, “you know, in a perfect world we’d like to have grass in next year.” However, he went down obstacle road himself, continuing:
It’s just there are so many — in the way Rogers Centre was built, without the drainage, to actually grow grass in there we’ve now brought in some experts, and working with a couple of universities, as they analyse all aspects of it, and what it would take to actually make it happen. But the plan is, we would like to get grass into the Rogers Centre eventually.
He later added — after discussion potential destinations for the Argos, including a suggestion of Lamport Stadium (!) — that “if we wanted grass in there a little bit earlier, yes we probably would have moved them out, but that’s certainly not in the spirit of the relationship we’ve had [with the Argos].”
Pressed by Bob McCown on whether, if the Argos were to move out after the upcoming CFL season, the Jays could get grass for 2015 or 2016, Pelly explained, “Certainly not for the ’15, but you never know for the ’16. We’ll know more once we get all the research done in the coming months.”
The fact that they’re (supposedly) spending money to research it is at least good, right??
A couple extra tidbits from Beeston’s chat last night:
- On attendance, he explained: “We’re behind where we were last year, no question, but we’re ahead of where we were in 2012.” So… unexpected.
- Regarding the Jays’ spring home in Dunedin — which Beeston and McCown both lauded as being like home for the team, which I tend to agree with — Beeston said, “I think we’ll get to where we want to be over the next two or three years.” He was non-committal about whether that would necessarily be in Dunedin, though, as he said that minor upgrades to the facility wouldn’t suffice, and that significant ones were needed. As for looking elsewhere, he added, “The one thing is, when we got out of Palm Beach Gardens, we probably heard from every realtor down there.” And he ruled out the club ever even considering a move to Arizona while on his watch, given that Florida is so much more convenient for the fans.
- One more non-Beeston thing, because I don’t want to write a post about it: Jon Heyman tweeted this morning that the Orioles had, indeed, signed Korean pitcer Suk-Min Yoon, while O’s MLB.com reporter Britt Ghiroli added that it’s a three year deal for just $5.75-million, and Ben Nicholson-Smith reminds us that the Jays supposedly bid. Given the injury concerns — the former starter lost velocity in 2013 and moved to the bullpen — I’m not crying over the loss. It could be a good thing, even. If Baltimore sees him as a starter — even just a stopgap one until Kevin Gausman is ready for full time duty — this may take them out of the running (if they were ever even in it) for Santana or Jimenez. O’s fans, however, would prefer to take the opposite view, hoping the club sees him as a reliever and continues to pursue a starter (though Jim Bowden tweets that there are incentives in Yoon’s deal based on the number of games started).
Glorious image still via James_in_TO.