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.

Comments (47)

  1. If there was real grass, it would have gotten a healthy dose of water.

  2. Why did they open the roof anyway with a chance of more showers later in the evening.? That was an odd decision given hourly weather forecasting is far more reliable than weekly or even daily.

  3. Gahhhhh, the Jays!

  4. The place is a non inspiring shit hole. Drab and cold with oppressive staff.

  5. Not sure, but the guy’s t shirt in the second pic might be dated. From what I recall, The Refused are fucking dead

  6. Refused have risen, man. They’re back in action.

    It’d be nice if the Jays did something to spruce that dump of park up a bit. My suggestions:

    1.) Paint all the blue chairs and odd coloured railings green, as well as make the outfield fences green. Yes, the Jays primary colour is blue, but a ballpark should look and feel green, damn it. I think the green would make the concrete toilet bowl feel a bit more like a ballpark.

    2.) At least get some turf that doesn’t look like a fucking Toronto lawn in August, for Christ’s sake. The current turf is patchy with visible seems. Get some consistent, homogeneously dark green turf.

    3.) Does the hotel or restaurant get any business? There’s got to be something they can do about that space. Maybe the dome can’t hold a field full of real grass (don’t know about that: my intuition says bullshit, they’re probably just too cheap–I don’t care how much it costs because it ain’t my money), but can we get some trees or a patch of lawn or bushes or something out in the outfield? Can we?

    I think Parkes or somebody wrote that they are less likely to go down to the park because it’s so fucking ugly. I’ll one up you: I’m less likely to watch this team ON FUCKING TELEVISION because the thing is so monstrously grey and miserable. I seriously get happy when the Jays go on the road so I can watch them play in a halfway decent looking ball park.

    Speaking of which, the AL EAST leads the league in Ugliness of Stadium Average: Toronto, Tampa, and Yankee Stadium–what a lifeless, corporatized, soul-sucking looking place that is.

    Well, I’m done.

    • Actually, now that I think about it the no-grass is probably for all the other bullshit events they have in there like wrestling or car shows or whatever. In which case, they’re not too cheap, but too greedy.

      • No grass is because it was designed as a multi-purpose facility., at a time when Astroturf was common. The stadium isn’t designed to handle water, and there would be no light for grass, as the dome defaults to shut, not open. It’s nothing to do with greed or cheapness – it’s simply a design that went out of fashion.

        Personally, I think the ‘no fun’ effect is overstated by people such as Mr Parkes. Bad baseball is just as dispiriting at Wrigley Field. Places like Camden Yards seem just as (if not more) corporate-dominated and highly efficient at parting consumer from money. Most obviously, there’s no likelihood of change any time soon.

        I happen to agree about the green seats thing, and I think some inventiveness could make strengths out of weaknesses.

        • Bad baseball is dispiriting at Wrigley Field, but it’s also Wrigley Field, which is an amazing place to see even bad baseball. I actually didn’t mind the Rogers Centre THAT much until I went away from it and came back, and now I am amazed at how much it sucks.

        • Didn’t mind the Dome all that much until visits to Progressive Field, Comerica Park, and Fenway this season. Two of those parks were by far the best part of their otherwise shit hole cities. It’d be nice if there were more baseball fans in this city instead of knuckleheads with no hockey to watch.. listening to Wilner’s show – hurting. Our concrete toilet definitely isn’t helping the cause.

          • Need to learn to internet properly , mb.

          • Wilner’s dumbass callers don’t indicate much, though. There are people that thickheaded who call into sports talk radio everywhere there are sports. Not to get all Giants up in here, but they have 40,000 fans at pretty much every game, a gorgeous ballpark, are in a pennant race, and the KNBR postgame callers are still interchangeable with JaysTalk.

  7. Pedant’s corner. The retractable roof did not stop retracting, it stopped un-retracting – aka ‘closing’.

  8. Anaheim is a nice Park to watch Baseball in.

  9. What a dump………..It’s a race between Tampa’s Tropicana Field and The Rogers Centre for worst MLB park. You might say Oakland, but hey they look like a fun team to watch right know.

  10. I’d love to see a new stadium built down on the water where Ontario Place is. Otherwise, your only other options are to go north – Markham, Vaughan, etc.

    As far as the name goes, I still cringe when I hear Rogers “Centre”. If they had to go with the Rogers moniker, they should have called it “Rogers Field”, “Rogers Park”, “Rogers SkyDome”, or something else that shows that even if you DO have 2 U2 concerts and one UFC event there in a ten-year period, baseball is still the main event there. It’s not as if calling it something more baseball-appropriate automatically excludes Rogers from holding a concert there every once in a while. It was just a piss-poor business decision.

  11. The baseball gods hate us this year…I’m surprised while the dome was stuck open, lightning didn’t strike one of our players

  12. The Anthopoulos Programme Was a Hoax

  13. Comerica Field in Detroit. Green, green and more green. Feels like….baseball!

  14. I was at the game and it was uncomfortably warm and humid in there before they opened the dome – the fresh air felt so good. Don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but they’ve had trouble closing the roof before when they don’t open it all the way first. It was interesting that it took a really long time for the PA to announce a false alarm when all the fire alarms went off. Aisle staff didn’t say a peep either.

  15. While I agree that the Dome is a bummer during the Summer – I feel compelled to bring up the fact that as a season’s ticket holder I’m happy as hell I don’t need to bring blankets to games. There have been years where its still very cold at night down by the lake in June.

    For as much as I’d love an open grass stadium – you have to accept the other reality of Canada – that cold, rain and even snow could make for some absolutely miserable nights.You never have to worry getting on the go train from wherever that you’ll go all the way downtown for a rainout.

    The most unfortunate thing about the Dome is that it was built before the current crop of domed stadiums were designed – to have glass to allow for sunlight and thus real grass.

    As much as it can feel like you’re watching a ballgame in a warehouse sometimes, just remember that without the roof closed – you’d probably be having a much worse time.

    • I agree with you. Watching baseball there in April and late in September, or even when they decide to shield us from oppressing heat is fine by me. I was happy when they made a crack in the roof last night since it was very hot to begin with. I’m sorry about the people who got left in the rain. If only it had rained on those frosh week student, maybe we would’ve been spared some inane inintelligible and non-baseball related chants. That only added to the dread on the field.

      That being said, if there ever is a chance for a do-over or another stadium, could we use Safeco Field as a template? It’s a beautiful place with an umbrella roof. Or even Miller Park, although I feel it’s a bit overbuilt.

  16. Yes, the sirens were audible from the field level yesterday.
    I took a friend from Philadelphia who said that the Dome reminded him of going to see games at the Vet. For those who are unaware, the Vet was demolished in 2004 as it was a shitty place to be and a worse place for watching professional sports.

  17. The Dome is my least favourite current MLB ballpark that I’ve been to (I’ve been to 8 current ones), but its still a fine place to watch a game.

    People seem to romanticize these outdoor stadiums but the game watching experience is pretty much the same anywhere you go, with a few small exceptions here or there. You sit in your seat, you watch baseball, and they have lame promotions between half-innings. This happens everywhere you go. Watching baseball on real grass is nice, I guess, but I don’t understand how that’s much of a selling point to anyone besides the players who have to play on it.

    If your main complaint about going to a baseball game is that you don’t have a pretty view of buildings (and really, I can only think of 3 or 4 stadiums where the view could be a selling point), maybe don’t go to baseball games.

    Toronto has a stadium with a great location that is easily accessible, but its not PNC Park. Boohoo.

    • They should try going to Kansas City. The stadium is far and there is nothing to look at. Beyond centerfield is a freeway…

    • “the game watching experience is pretty much the same anywhere you go, with a few small exceptions here or there.”

      I politely disagree, Tim. Some of my favourite experiences at the ballpark have come in San Fran (AT&T) and Dodger Stadium, two stadiums that are largely different than one another. In San Fran, it is pretty cool watching a game with a view of the beautiful RF wall, McCovey’s Cove, and often the massive Navy Ships parked beyond.

      In L.A. I find it’s the mixture of different cultures at Chavez Ravine have made my experiences at the ballpark extra-enjoyable, not to mention the views of the city and the San Gabriel mountains.

      I’ll watch baseball anywhere, but there are some of us who enjoy the entire experience of being at the ballpark. If that wasn’t important, many more would choose to watch it at home. I’ve been to about 35 MLB stadiums in my lifetime and Rogers Center is probably the 3rd worst in my opinion, and to me that makes a difference.

      • Well, that’s kinda my point. I mean that sitting in a seat in Toronto or San Francisco or Seattle or wherever, you’re going to experience the same basic things (fan cams, races on the scoreboards, contests, etc.). The fact that the Dome doesn’t have breathtaking views of Lake Ontario or whatever shouldn’t be held against it just because the Giants decided to build their’s on the bay 10 years later.

        I mean, its nice having a nice view of a skyline or water or whatever, but the basics are the same at every ballpark I’ve been to at the majors and real grass and nice views and whatever else you can think of doesn’t really change that.

        • Well yeah they are the basics, but you clearly noted that things like pretty views and real grass shouldn’t be much consideration to fans. I disagree. Having been to many MLB parks, and of course this is just my opinion, there is a MASSIVE difference in experience level between sitting on a sunny day in SF or LA and sitting in the concrete Rogers Center. especially when you never know if the roof is going to be inexplicably open or closed.

          I guess it comes down to opinion, but when I haul the family out for the day, I’m not taking them to the Dome. Because while I can enjoy baseball in no-matter-what venue, they enjoy the scenery and the sun and the views and whatnot as part of the experience.

          Just my opinion. Rogers is a bland park to watch baseball in. A dinosaur among venues.

          • Oh yeah, like I said, of the ballparks I’ve been to, I put it at the bottom of my list.

            I just think some people have this idea of ‘game day experience’ that other places have that is so much better than Toronto that I just don’t think is true. Really, the thing that contributes most to a good atmosphere is a packed stadium, in my opinion, and you can get that in any dump.

            I guess I just get a little annoyed at complaining about a stadium that has a great location and is easily accessible over, what I feel, are mostly trivial things. Things could be worse.

  18. And if the Jays were doing well we’d all be excited about the fact that the dome, in its old age, still gives us the ability to play ball in circumstances that would delay or cancel a game in most cities.

    I’m not sure how a city that remains so loyal to its shitty hockey team can be so quick to crap on their baseball team (think back to the first home game of the season with Santos). I’d rather see management coast through the rest of this season and focus on next season than to see our top players pushed to the brink in order to compensate for the losses the team has had.

    Everyone is doing their jobs except the fans.

  19. The Rogers Centre will have grass next year…. You heard it here first.

  20. The SkyDome is the greatest stadium in baseball. Why? For one reason and one reason only…
    It’s where Joe touched em all.

    But there’s no sabr stat for nostalgia so these Drunk Fucks (refuse to call them “fans”) dont understand.

  21. @Ben – I don’t think the Skydome is of a design that went out of fashion. I think rather it’s a prototype that never caught on. It is damaged by the fact that all (or most) of the facilities after it were retro, baseball only, bandboxes.

    Lastly, winning would settle all this. There’s no building I’m going to enjoy a 12 zip beatdown in.

  22. I’ll PERHAPS return the day they announce the Rogers Centre is the first peanut free facility in the Majors.

    A permanently closed dome would be a GODSEND for those who suffer from severe hay-fever and pollen sensitivity. I, for one, would APPLAUD this move.

    Next rid yourselves of gluten, high fructose corn syrup and provide low-cost in seat vegan charcuterie and you’d be getting somewhere with the TRUE Toronto Sports fans.

  23. I think the dome could be a great stadium… Look what St. Louis did with Busch II after the Rams left. Even New Comisky was able to be salvaged. Here are the things:

    1. Put in natural grass. technology exists to grow things indoors… just ask the pot growers. I also find it hard to believe there is no drainage on the floor of the dome… there HAS to be

    2. Create some natural light. This could be achieved by taking out some of the 500 decak and add in some glass arches. Losing 5000 seats would be good, and likely create more demand for tickets.

    3. Green seats, brick backstop, green outfield walls and black iron. worked for New Comisky just fine.

    4. Asymmetrical. There is no randomness to the seating or field. New stadium design have sections that cater to unique tastes…

    5. baseball only… obviously.

    And to those who say the game and activities are the same… true, but why do you think corporations pay so much money to have professional designers make their customers feel good in a space? I could be in a concrete bunker watching naked ladies, but eventually it would wear thin….

  24. I meant NFL Cardinals left…

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