For Toronto Blue Jays fans, the 2012 season will be one that’s best forgotten. Unfortunately, considering the manner in which disappointing individual performances conspired with a ridiculous slew of injuries to derail the team’s chances of competing for a playoff spot, a blissful ignorance of this year’s events is most unlikely.
Further ensuring that memories from this lost season toil in the collective minds of supporters was Tuesday night’s baseball game (and I use the term loosely). Not only did the least attended game of the year at Rogers Centre end in a 12-0 defeat at the hands of the division rival Baltimore Orioles, but in the process of losing, the Blue Jays’ stadium essentially broke down.
The Rogers Centre is not a very fun place to watch a baseball game. While some of this is due to being the home of a baseball franchise that hasn’t played a post season game for almost 20 years, a lot more of the problem has to do with aesthetics. There is nothing pretty to look at during a baseball game in Toronto. The field is comprised mainly of Astroturf with visible seams that destroy any illusion of real grass. The only view of the outside world is of the CN Tower and condominiums that stand over the domed structure, peering in like unwanted voyeurs. Even the rechristened corporatized name of the stadium connotes a place where cold and clinical business operations take place. It matches well with the claustrophobic feeling that the concrete confines create.
However, baseball fans in Toronto swallow the distaste of what is essentially a matter of poor timing, as the Rogers Centre represents the last of the clunky, grandiose and unnecessarily modernized stadiums that were built before Camden Yards in Baltimore. The willingness of the team’s supporters to sit in such an awful stadium is justified through three factors: 1) Baseball junkies would be willing to watch a baseball game in even the worst of environments; 2) Many Canadians aren’t aware of how pleasing it is to watch a Major League game in most of the ballparks in the United States; and 3) Blue Jays fans need not worry about getting wet at their local ball park because of the stadium’s retractable roof. This is the price fans pay to look at so much concrete.
During Tuesday evening’s game, even this was taken away from Blue Jays fans, as John Lott from the National Post describes:
As light rain began in the fourth inning, umbrellas popped open among the sparse crowd and the roof began to close. But by the sixth, with the rain intensifying and the dome seemingly stuck in a partially open position, it became apparent that something was amiss.
As the seventh began, an announcement advised the remaining patrons that “technical issues” were causing the dome to close more slowly than usual. The lid finally clamped shut in the bottom of that inning.
The baseball gods, apparently not ones for subtlety weren’t finished with mere mechanical failures at the stadium. Shortly before the dome was fully closed, a fire alarm could be heard on the television broadcast, and one would assume at the Rogers Centre as well. Play went along uninterrupted as the siren sound went off. Before ceasing, it, along with the retractable roof that stopped closing, combined to act as a perfect metaphor for this woeful 2012 season which has become an emergency without end for the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans.