New Rogers Centre Turf Looks Alright, Based On The One Angle We Can See Of It

RCGrass

No, no, that’s not the new Rogers Centre turf. That’s just what a baseball stadium is supposed to look like. Well, apart from the seats being too small and too plastic and the areas in the upper deck between the foul poles and the hotel haven’t been turned into dual party decks, or whatever their fate holds (nor has the former Windows Restaurant, either — apparently we’re looking at a somewhat dated future).

Seriously, though! I noted in a Daily Duce last week that Bob McCown told his listeners that club president Paul Beeston has been pushing Rogers towards a new, “Milwaukee-style” retractable roof stadium of about 40,000 seats, rather than the nearly 50,000 capacity it currently has for baseball. While that doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards — McCown explained that because Rogers doesn’t own the land that the SkyDome sits on, and therefore wouldn’t recoup a tonne by selling it to developers if they vacated the site, it’s hard to make the dollars work — the expensive grass retrofit will greatly help prolong the life of the current one, and sure could go hand-in-hand with more changes. Want 40,000 seats? Rip a bunch out and replace them with ones that are wider and more comfortable. Turn some oft-empty sections over to other amenities.

I don’t know! I’m just rambling words to fill out a post that’s really just about one picture — and no, it’s not the one above, which comes from the great @James_in_TO, and has been floating around this site and at DJF for years.

It’s this one:

turf-brooks

Yep. There your look at the new turf, which comes by way of a tweet from Stephen Brooks, the Jays’ Senior Vice President, Business Operations. And apart from the seams and the creases from when it’s rolled, that sure is some pretty alright-looking synthetic turf right there. Especially if you don’t contrast and saturate the hell of out of it.

I mean… it still sits on concrete, and you can tell from the shadow that it’s still awfully thin, but it’s not like they were going to reinvent the wheel here. And we don’t know how badly the football lines are going to show up on there, or how fast or slow it’s going to play (though it’s supposed to be slower — as the players requested), and what that’s going to do to the bodies of the players. But we do know that Jose Bautista recently had this to say about it: “I think we’ve had four or five different surfaces since I’ve been here and we have another new one this year. It tells me how committed our management is to trying to help us. They have all been a little different and have different effects on your body, but they’ve all gotten better and better.”

So… maybe it’ll be alright? I’m looking forward to seeing it in person at next week’s State of The Franchise event… though it might look a bit blurry by the end of that!

Image via @sbrooksbaseball

The Jays’ Pursuit Of A Grass Field Is A Complicated One (And Here Are The Documents That Prove It)

RCturf-WM-small

Note: See the bottom of this post for the full 18 pages of (partially-redacted) documents exchanged between the Blue Jays and the University of Guelph referred to below, which are used here with the permission of John Lott and Dave Dowe. 

Regular readers of this site, and the old one, will perhaps remember a few months ago, when Jays fan Dave Dowe launched a Kickstarter project in order to get the funds to obtain documents, by way of the in a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, exchanged between the University of Guelph and the Blue Jays regarding the implementation of a grass playing surface at Rogers Centre.

In the pages of today’s National Post, the details revealed in these documents, along with the results of additional legwork on the subject, were presented to us in an outstanding, wide-ranging report from John Lott that, in particular, outlines the many technological difficulties that threaten the process, as well as the deadlines that are growing ever closer.

For fans (as well as, one presumes, players, managers, coaches, and front office staff) eager to see the concrete surface replaced with something both more forgiving and aesthetically pleasing, it’s some heavy stuff. (Full disclosure: I’m a contributor to the Post — but seriously, the piece is fantastic).

Continue reading The Jays’ Pursuit Of A Grass Field Is A Complicated One (And Here Are The Documents That Prove It)

Yet Another Player Who’d Like To See The Dome’s Artificial Surface Turfed

Dalton Pompey

There are plenty of great things happening with the Toronto Blue Jays right now. Much like the Josh Donaldson trade a week ago, the acquisition of Michael Saunders this week was a total coup — the club has now brought in a desperately needed left fielder, lefty bat, financial relief, and likely improves its rotation by moving J.A. Happ out of the way of either Aaron Sanchez or Dan Norris.

Naturally, though, people are still going to find things to complain about, and I wouldn’t exactly be doing my job if I didn’t highlight such things, even during what ought to be a pretty damn joyous time for fans of the Jays.

Especially when the complaints are coming from somewhere very important, like the club’s presumed starting centrefielder.

The issue? The Rogers Centre turf.

It is, of course, not the first time in the last two weeks that the issue has arisen. Melky Cabrera reportedly said that he preferred not to play on the turf, the implication being that it might have influenced his decision on whether or not to re-sign here (a report he and his agent, and Jose Bautista, quickly and vehemently denied). And, of course, Brett Lawrie — though his injury history involves more balls to the hand, falls down camera bays, and a WBC rib injury 3,000 km away from Toronto, than it does turf-related issues — wasn’t particularly kind to the playing surface during his introduction to the Oakland media.

But it turns out they’re not the only ones. In an interview this week on TSN 1050 Radio in Toronto, Dalton Pompey gave his assessment of what it’s like to play on that field, and it wasn’t particularly glowing, either.

Continue reading Yet Another Player Who’d Like To See The Dome’s Artificial Surface Turfed