Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ Category


For real? It’s here??? I’m doing this???

The Jays travel down the road from Dunedin to Clearwater today, opening their spring schedule against the Philadelphia Phillies at Brighthouse Field. The forecast calls for rain, but the radar shows much of it passing north of the area, at least for now. Though… shit, if I can wait out a six hour rain delay — and tornado warning — on the backstretch concourse at the Daytona 500, I think I can handle some piddly bands of isolated showers. And let’s hope so, because according to Shi Davidi’s latest at Sportsnet, the Jays are basically running out their opening day lineup today (minus Stephen Drew) — Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Lind, Lawrie, Rasmus, Navarro, Goins. The Phils have a bunch of regulars going, too. So let’s play some baseball already!

I’d elaborate further, but I’ve got to get myself to the park! For those of you back home, apparently you can check out the game via — though some seem concerned it’s going to be blacked out. Uh… yeah. Baseball!


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 thoughts on what was going on over the weekend that really should have just been separated into several individual posts…

Paul Beeston Is No Agromonongist

“I would say, at the very earliest, and probably realistically, 2018,” said Paul Beeston in an interview with Team 1040 in Vancounver (audio here) about the possibility of bringing grass to the Rogers Centre.

Beeston was on the west coast for the annual Vancouver Canadians luncheon, and spent a segment with former Globe and Mail scribe Matt Sekeres and Blake Price, answering the grass question, among several others. And actually, once you get past the initial groan about poor Jose Reyes’s knees on that shitty felt until 2018, and having to keep staring at a rug with all the visual appeal of a meth head’s front lawn (though Alex Anthopoulos has hinted that replacement turf may be coming in the interim), it’s really not that grim.

“The Argos are there until 2017. And, you know, I’m a great believer in the CFL,” Beeston said, as they all do when they’re trying to not poison their own brand with the potential stink of the rotting corpse of CFL in Toronto on their hands. “They’ve got their area to work it out, so they’ve got four more seasons to work it out. We have some real issues that we have to work on, engineering-wise. We have to take down, put it in, put in some type of drainage — and apparently the big thing is air flow. We have to have air flow — our air flow comes down from the top, it’s got to come from the side. Whatever that means, I’m not a agrologist, or whatever it is — an ‘agromonongist’ — or… you know what I’m talking about. The fact of the matter is, we’ve got some things, but I would say, realistically, that 2018. If the Argos left before that, we would expedite it.”

Ahh, pulled it out of the fire at the end, you wily old devil.

But… yeah. It is what it is. And it’s not like Beeston doesn’t know the value of proper stadium to the product he’s trying to sell — he brought up the universally acclaimed experience at PNC Park in Pittsburgh at one point, in fact. So… there’s that. There’s also the fact that, at the very least, he seems to think they can get the changes done between the end of an Argos season and the beginning of the next Jays one. Unless, that is, he just doesn’t want to say that it would be better to give the project the extra two (or, let’s be honest, six) weeks they’d get by waiting until the Jays were the sole tenant and doing the work for the entirety of their off-season.

Ugh. Let’s not even think about it taking even longer, though.

Other highlights of Beeston’s chat were:

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The Jays’ proposed move to a new Palm Beach Gardens site for Spring Training that will be shared with the Houston Astros is in limbo. I’ve been a little behind on this one, as the first signs of trouble for the site came last month. Brian McTaggart reported then for that “is being reconsidered after the city agreed to allow Palm Beach County officials to investigate whether another location would better suit the city, county and teams.”

At the time, McTaggart continued:

Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe, who has been Astros owner Jim Crane’s point man in the effort to move the team’s Spring Training facility from Kissimmee, Fla., said the project was still moving forward but that the city wanted to give the county an opportunity to find out if another location would work out just as well. The focus, Kibbe said, was still on having Spring Training baseball on Florida’s East Coast.

This, however, no longer appears to be the case, as late last week, according to the Palm Beach Post, the city council of Palm Beach Gardens passed a motion end all construction on the site, after complaints from locals about stadium noise and traffic.

Evan Drelich of the Houston Chronicle adds that three of the council members who participated in the 4-1 vote against the project are up for reelection in March, “ and the proposed stadium has played a significant role in the races.” He reports that Councillor Joe Russo characterized it as “an issue that’s dividing the city.”

So… Dunedin, then?

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Astros owner Jim Crane was at a meeting in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, last night, and it sure looks like this whole new shared Spring Training complex thing is progressing. It’s still just in the proposal stage, technically, and the Jays have been saying the right things in terms of their agreement with Dunedin, which expires after the 2017 season. But they also, according to Crane late last month, “have committed and signed a letter of intent” to be a part of the project. And… well… look at those mock ups!

Crane, as you can hear him say in a video clip from the Palm Beach Post (which you can see at the bottom of this post), has been told the land in the image above is available– or at least can be made available– and explicitly states that it’s a two-team facility, which would presumably have one team using the west practice fields, and the other using the south-east.

“It’s a long-term commitment, for at least twenty years,” he also says of the project, while also adding that the Cardinals and the Marlins are behind the project, as they’re two teams who also have their facilities in the area, want more teams close by, and– according to Crane– could even opt out of their leases if more teams don’t come. So… y’know… if you ever wondered why there seems to be a lot of rubber stamping from local authorities going on in this process, that would probably be your answer.

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OK, this isn’t precisely breaking news, as the post we’re talking about was time-stamped at 6:40 PM ET this evening, but it’s new to me, and to my Twitter feed, and definitely relevant, especially for those Jays fans who like to spend parts of their spring in the quiet town of Dunedin on Florida’s gulf coast– and especially for those who’ve been making the pilgrimage for years.

The Jays have held Spring Training in Dunedin since their inception, at what once was Grant Field, and now, at the same site, what’s now called Florida Auto Exchange stadium. But in the near future they will be there no more.

Houston beat writer Brian McTaggart of has the news, as he tells us that Astros owner Jim Crane reveals that the Jays have signed a letter of intent to join his club in brand new facility in Palm Beach Gardens, following a deal he says is “95 percent” sure to be completed.

Money quote:

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In what’s sure to be a disappointing, though perhaps inevitable, development for those who enjoy making a spring ritual of the trek to the quiet Florida city of Dunedin, or have specifically made the area home because of the Jays’ long-time presence at the former Grant Field, Tom Maloney of the Globe and Mail reports that the club is actively seeking out a new facility to house the club during Spring Training.

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bisons logo WHITE

The Game In A (Non Run-On) Sentence

The Jays opened up their spring schedule with a victory in Lakeland over the Tigers, with our scrubs eventually overcoming their scrubs, and most of the action– if you really want to call it that– coming long after the big leaguers had hit the showers.

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