Archive for the ‘If There’s Grass On The Field…’ Category


Well here’s something that probably should turn into a regular feature, but never quite seems to — but that I’ll make to look like one anyway in order to keep from having it seem too terribly out of place: a collection of Monday morning thoughts on what was going on over the weekend…

Noise Of Jays Being Out On Tanaka Just That

It’s a very long shot that the Jays will be able to sign Masahiro Tanaka. Notice, though, that I’m not saying it was always going to be a long shot for the Jays to acquire him, as though the club is already out. That was the prevailing thought on Saturday night, though, as MLBTR passed along a report from Nikkan Sports suggesting that a bunch of teams had made formal offers to Tanaka, with the Jays not among them. Bernie Pleskoff of passed what seemed like merely that along without attribution, simply listing the teams in the report, expressing surprise that the Jays wouldn’t have made an offer, and later half-heartedly walking it back, explaining, “Teams listed for Tanaka are those reported so far. Who knows, there could be even more. Doubt it though.”

Because this is the internet, that, apparently, was plenty to start sourpuss Jays fans tweeting at me about what an affront it was that the club wouldn’t even make a bid. Of course, as I said at the time, colour me not dumb enough to take it as gospel. The ultra cynical could suggest that I’m just twisting myself in knots to keep alive this silly fantasy for my own cynical, pageview-related reasons, and I guess I couldn’t blame them. But what I didn’t say at the time was that, once I started talking about what Pleskoff was saying half seriously on Twitter, I was approached by a person that I trust telling me not to bother even giving it that much attention.

That isn’t to say that I was being told that the Jays did make an offer, or anything like that, but it certainly affirmed my instinct, at least about Pleskoff’s tweets, if not Nikkan. So again: colour me not dumb enough to take it as gospel. (Or to post about it as such.)

This will all be cleared up by Friday’s 5 PM ET deadline, and it’s probably best not to believe any of it until then.


Argos To BMO Gathering Steam?

“Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment could expand BMO Field in time for the July 2015 Pan Am Games, its chief executive says — but only if MLSE and the government can come to a financial agreement ‘very’ soon,” begins a report this morning from Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star.

The soccers are up in arms about the spectre of such changes, and rightfully so. BMO is utilitarian, but also kind of perfect. Not only that, it’s theirs. Plus, ”unobtrusive” doesn’t seem to be a word in Tim Leiweke’s vocabulary, so obviously there is trepidation about the scope of the changes that sound more and more like they’re coming.

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Tim Leiweke, CEO of MLSE, wants to renovate BMO field. This isn’t a particularly newsworthy statement, as he has been open about such plans in the past, but what’s noteworthy about it today is that he’s dreaming bigger than just a roof. Chris Johnston of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet landed an exclusive interview with the head of the Rogers-owned company after learning that “a complicated and costly deal is in the works that would see Toronto’s BMO Field significantly expanded in time for the Maple Leafs to host the Winter Classic in their centennial season.”

That would be 2016-17, but according to Leiweke’s scheming, the expanded facility’s big opening day wouldn’t necessarily be just in time for January 1st, 2017.

“It fits a lot of needs,” he told Johnston of the potential project. “It renovates it for TFC, it certainly renovates it for the Pan Am Games, it renovates it for rugby. The Grey Cup would be phenomenal in an outdoor setting in Toronto on the lake, but (the Winter Classic is) clearly one of the things we put on the wishlist.”

The Pan Am Games? The Grey Cup?

So… uh… are you telling me that an expanded BMO could be a stadium capable of hosting CFL football games, and ready in time for July of 2015?

Even sooner, probably, since TFC’s use of the stadium would begin with preseason games in mid-March of that.

Obviously I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here — OK, way ahead of myself — but… um… then how about the 2015 Argonauts season?

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Interesting stuff from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post, as Senator David Braley– owner, hilariously, of both the Argos and the B.C. Lions of the CFL– said today that his intention is to sell both clubs within three years. He also says, according to Fitz-Gerald’s piece, that “he is ‘well down the road’ in talks with more than one community to build a new stadium for the Argos.”

“Fundamentally, I’m talking to three communities — four as of Tuesday of this week — with regards to land, and with regards to building a new stadium of somewhere around 27,000 to 29,000 people for football and soccer,” Braley told the National Post on Friday.

He would not identify the communities.


Even more heartening, however, is this quote:

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Tom Maloney of the Globe and Mail has done some excellent digging on the issue of the Argos new lease at Rogers Centre, which we first caught wind of back on Friday, and gives it a slightly different bent than the impatient and foul-mouthed laments that initially came from this corner.

A renewed lease for the Toronto Argonauts to play at Rogers Centre will effectively serve as notice to vacate, clearing the way for grass to be installed for baseball no later than 2018,” he writes.

Well, that’s certainly a better shine on it than I might have put [read: did put], especially since I knew full well that a new home for the Argos hasn’t materialized from thin air in the last six months, and should have been able to recall that– as Maloney points out, and as I quoted back in March– Beeston’s most definitive statement on the subject is that “it’s definitely going to happen. The only question is whether it’s 2016, ’17 or ’18.”

So, maybe things aren’t so bad, even if we’re maybe not quite looking at the timeline that we’ve been most ridiculously optimistic for.

And maybe it’s even better than that:

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Well here’s a giant load to get your weekend started right:

This week, Argos CEO Chris Rudge confirmed on TSN Drive with Dave Naylor that the “Double Blue” basically had a new five-year lease agreement in place with Rogers Centre. That effectively means there will be no installation of natural grass over the duration of that agreement.

The quote comes from an otherwise stunningly absurd Scott Ferguson column at, in which– in addition to hitting the lede over the head with a pipe and burying it– he argues that the Jays should be done with Jose Bautista because of a tiny sample of the club’s former outfielders whose careers stalled around Bautista’s age, or… something.

Not important, though! What’s important is the fact that the– I’m sorry– useless fucking Argos are going to be around for upwards of five years, preventing the Rogers Centre from being all that it can be as a baseball facility.


I do say “upwards” intentionally, though. Here is what Rudge had to say when asked about the new lease in his conversation with Naylor and Dave Hodge (audio here):

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In the wake of the announcement that, for some reason, Rogers has decided to extend its partnership bringing Buffalo Bills football to the greater-of-two-evils that is the football configuration of the concrete mausoleum they call an arena, Keith Pelley, President of Rogers Media, stopped to chat with Bob McCown and John Shannon on Prime Time Sports Tuesday evening.

And, believe it or not, he laid down some rather obvious, but wholly welcomed truth when it comes to the company’s relationship with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, and the possibility of one day, finally, getting the Jays a natural grass playing surface.

Obviously we’re too late in the game to expect anything for 2013, so it was no surprise when Pelley made exceptionally clear that “the Argos are going to play there next year.” Things got considerably more interesting from there, though.

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