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When I awoke yesterday and heard a lot of rumbling about Blue Jays news, this wasn't my expectation.



(as an aside before I begin, I liked Mike Wilner's work for the broadcast. He could come across like he's atop a knowledge mountain sure, but I liked his enthusiasm and obvious genuine love and passion for the team and the game. His unfiltered excitement on the air is wonderfully enjoyable, and nothing but well wishes on his next journey).

The big news around Blue Jays Land right now isn't signing George Springer (damn it) instead it's a report that Rogers is considering tearing down the SkyDome (or that other name it's called) in place of a new stadium. I personally won't argue here for or against that, rather I'm interested in the building itself and the memories we have that can make an objectively drab place so much more special than it appears.

As well, if the Dome were to be torn down... what and where in Toronto would you want to replace it? For now it seems like a new park in the current location is the preferential option for the team, with additional condos and outdoor fan space (like Maple Leaf Square/Jurassic Park) to compliment it. To me that sounds... "ok" if done properly without contrivance (ha)... perhaps even quite good if the plans for the Rail Deck Park are realized in unison.

My choice though (and please jump in with your own ideas here) would be a new park in the Port Lands. There is already some unique development happening there (the land-filling at the western end of Commisioners Street for a public park/housing) and there is a lot of unused land south of that area (leave Cherry Beach alone though) to fit a ballpark. If done right it could be beautiful: the Toronto skyline visible just over the outfield fence and bleachers, Wards Island in view also perhaps. How stunning would that be, watching a ballgame while the sun sets over the big city in the background. Transit would be the biggest logistical issue: the Toronto Port Lands are notoriously inaccessible despite being close to the downtown core. As a cyclist it's not too hard (he he) but to have an MLB ballpark there would require serious planning and adaptations in regards to public transit, pedestrian walkways and roads also. If you're very ambitious, you could build a dock and create a special ferry line that goes to the park and back on gamedays, almost like in San Francisco for Giants games.

My only other request is that it, as a nod to history and that part of town, it be named 'Sunlight Park' (heck, I'll settle for *company name" Sunlight Park, since corporations love to put their names on things).

Anyhow, my idea is a difficult one to implement (obviously) so I'd love to hear yours' also. As I've commented recently, I don't think the Dome is an awesome place to watch a game but it also isn't actively unpleasant or bland. There is room for improvement most definitely, so how can we do that? Have at it. 


Thoughts on a New Ballpark | 26 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 10:18 AM EST (#392427) #
As I posted on the other thread, I am generally not a fan of tearing down buildings long before their useful life has ended and rebuilding.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 11:50 AM EST (#392429) #
I followed the discussion on Tim & Sid last night and there were a few interesting points. One was that a dome is nice to have in April and October (hopefully) when the weather is cool, and also for avoiding doubleheaders associated with rainouts.

Also the topic of where the Jays would play if a new stadium was built at the present site was discussed. Buffalo wasn't considered an option because the Jays AAA team is already there (in a normal season). Montreal was ruled out because MLB would never let teams play there for more than one or two games because of the playing surface. So where the heck would they play?
christaylor - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 12:20 PM EST (#392430) #
What goes around comes around. Both SkyDome and the CN tower are marvels of brutalism. Late 20th and early 21st-century architecture have, I've been told by acquaintances who do this sort of thing for a living has been dominated by a quick-build, remind people of the past, with modern amenities. I dunno, but I've heard it called post-modern, which is a useless ambiguous term. Recall that Fenway had a teardown proposal in the late 90s. Recall that it was a total dump for a long time. Fenway is nice and all, but it is unpleasant in ways unthinkable at the dome. Camden is nice, but as of a few years ago the vinyl flooring in the concourse was unpleasant to walk on and sticky. All stadia are expensive to maintain.

If I book a ticket to Toronto in early April or late September. I know I'm going to be comfortable and watch baseball from a good angle at a reasonable price. At Fenway? April 2019 I purchased two Lodge Box seats for $14 5 minutes before gametime. I took my New England gear, Canadian tolerance for the cold, and saw baseball on a day I needed it. Was I comfortable? Not a chance. Was I happy? You bet.

Ever stop to look at Michael Snow's sculptures on the Dome? I hope so. Ever mentally compare how the opening and closing of the roof looks compared to other places? I hope so. Rogers has supported the team. Good. Do they have any respect for the team and its tradition of winning of excitement and flurry of fandom in the last two decades of the 20th century? No, because they were the local cable guys in the 80s and got lucky. The flip side of the empty April closed dome? A loud as all get out Sept-Oct dome. That is super fun. If you want the experience of another ballpark when watching the Jays and dislike the SkyDome? May I suggest you travel to Comerica? Travel to Fenway. Just an opinion, but to dislike the SkyDome is to miss an aspect of Jays fandom. That's cool if you are irked by the quirks of the place. I attended the bulk of my games there during the period of 89-94 and 02-09. I know what it feels like when it isn't at its peak, and I know what it feels like when it is is.

To switch to the positive? To many echos? Rogers can put the spend on optimizing the acoustics (modern materials are a dream). The numbers too few for you in April? Dynamic pricing and family-friendly sections and game-times. As disastrous as Toonie Tuesdays were, cheap-drink sections for the hard-drinking crowd aren't a terrible idea during non-peak games. Increase security, control flow, and add diversions other than the game. The SkyDome has "good bones," and its location is top-notch. There are ways to improve the fan experience (I haven't even touched on drawing on Toronto's excellent food-culture) that could make it perhaps the best place to see and experience a game for any team in a cold-weather climate.
85bluejay - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 12:57 PM EST (#392431) #
I am not a traditionalist, so I'm agnostic on the question of tearing down the Dome - If it makes good business sense, I tend to support the endeavor - I think this is a real estate power play - Rogers and Brookfield may suggest building a new smaller stadium with great corporate suites (where the money is) across from the Dome, where the Railway Museum is situated and build condos etc. on the Dome site with a small area for the museum or maybe move the museum altogether to a less expensive real estate area or get the prime waterfront land for a pittance.
Cynicalguy - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 01:45 PM EST (#392433) #
Here's a solution that addresses all of the issues. Get an NFL team, build a football stadium at Quayside. Move the Jays to the football stadium for 2-3 years. Tear down the Rogers Centre, build a baseball only modern ball park with a retro look. Cover the rail corridor from Bathurst St to Union Station with the Rail Deck Park, then connect the east side of Union Station with Rail Deck Park East with the CIBC Square rail deck park. Bury Bremner Blvd from Lower Simcoe to Spadina or 300M to the east of Spadina. Create an underground PATH connection that connects from Union station to the new Stadium and CNN tower. Create an outdoor walking trail from Union station to the new stadium and CNN tower above the rail corridor. Allow some condos, hotels and office towers with the finances for the whole thing being paid by the private sector. Fill all the gaps with public spaces and parks from Union station to Spadina.

Simple :p While we are at this dream, make the NFL team owners, Brookfield, and Rogers pay for burying the Gardiner from DVP to Bathurst.
John Northey - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 02:45 PM EST (#392434) #
For comparison I've been to a few parks.
  • Exhibition Stadium: ugh. Did that need replacing badly. I remember sitting sideways to see the game from the benches in RF, sitting so far away in the OF bleachers that I only could see the pitcher through a hole in the fence. But it was cheap.
  • Tiger Stadium: The original, had tons of issues but mostly could've been fixed. Sat high in the upper deck and could still feel like I could touch the batter (but so much bird poop they had someone clean the seat when I came in). Fun park to put it mildly, but the bathrooms were disgusting and little or no food options beyond beer/pop/hotdogs. Plus the neighborhood was the scariest you'll ever see (I was friends with a bouncer from Detroit who told me to never wander that area).
  • Fenway Park: Had standing room tickets and wandered the whole park almost during a game. Tons of fun. Food, bathrooms a bit better than Detroit but not by much.
  • Target Field (Twins): Beautiful park and area, perfectly set up but seats feel far from the field (was lower deck, about 27 rows from field and it still felt further than upper deck in Detroit). If this is what we get here I'd be happy though.
Not a ton of parks, but a few. Can't imagine if Rogers is footing the bill that we'll get a roof again. 30-40k seats with tons of private boxes. Target Field is a likely model. Has streetcar equivalents going right up to the park (took one from my hotel when I was there). Felt very safe in that area and never heard different from anyone. Tigers Stadium (old one) was amazing for views and pure baseball. Fenway I hope they never tear down.
AWeb - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 05:33 PM EST (#392435) #
Safeco in Seattle...sat up the 3rd baseline thanks to an uncle. I was there in 2002 or 2003, still seemed new. Nice park, facilities were good as was food and beer choices.

Coors field in Denver...arrived late and got free tickets from a scalper who was fleeing the rain. Saw Randy Johnson 2003? give up 2 pop fly homers in the thin air. Beautiful park, loved the trees in centre. Terrible weather that hovered just on this side of playable. Loved the mile high line around the upper deck. Walked around a lot, barely anyone there.

Nationals park in 2019, happened to be the night they clinched the playoffs. I was there 20 minutes early and snagged a few cheap beers....beer cost half as much until gametime. Beautiful park with some odd angles in the architecture. Perfect weather, sat behind home plate and enjoyed the sunset. Great park, I think.

Skydome sets the standard...it's perfectly ok in almost every way. 2004 and 2005 I went to quite a few games in the cheap seats. Went again in 2014 and loved the upgrades. Skydome is sort of a baseline. If your park is worse, that's not a good sign.

Olympic stadium in 1993. The lighting was not very good, obviously suffering from being a way too big space with a ballpark in one corner. Sitting near the rf foul pole, Larry Walker hit a foul ball off a railing 10 feet in front of me that caromed another 100 feet, and the sound of it was great. Also, my full respect to mlb players who routinely catch liners like that. Uncomfortable seats that didn't point in the right direction. Just a bad park.

And sure, replace skydome, what could go wrong (looks side-eye at 2020)?
John Northey - Saturday, November 28 2020 @ 09:40 PM EST (#392436) #
Forgot about Olympic Stadium - went in 1994. Fun game but very empty park even with 35k there iirc. Really needed to have tons done to make it a more friendly park. It could be fixed if they wanted to but the cost would be almost as much as a new park I suspect thus why it isn't being done. Could be a temporary home for a ML team if needed but would have to be for no more than 1 year.
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 08:02 AM EST (#392438) #
I have been to Kauffman Field, Busch Stadium, Cominsky Park, Tropicana, Fenway and Skydome. No dome has compared to an open field ballfield, but in Toronto that really isn't a good option and from a TV viewership perspective I hate rain delays.

I think what the Royals have done with Kauffman is fantastic, even if is on the outskirts of KC.

The current homes of the Jays, White Sox and Rays all share the cold concrete effects of being built in the late 80s/early 90s.
timpinder - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 09:12 AM EST (#392439) #
I havenít commented here in a long time though I read along regularly.

This is very exciting news. I used to travel to Toronto a dozen times a year to see the Jays.

However, my wife and I started travelling around watching the Jays elsewhere and have now been to 21 MLB ballparks with 9 to go. After seeing how beautiful and intimate most other parks are compared to the concrete dome (Tropicana being the lone exception so far), weíve actually stopped going to Rogers Centre. We see the Jays in Comerica every year and pick a new ballpark each season to see them play elsewhere. Itís our personal opinions, but we find the atmosphere at Rogers Centre lacking and itís overpriced compared to PNC, Comerica, or Great American Ballpark, for example, that are within driving range for us.

If the Jays build a new ballpark, thatís actually a ballpark this time, Iíll start spending my money in Toronto again.

I hope it happens and I canít wait.
scottt - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 09:24 AM EST (#392440) #
Tropicana was built for 130M in 86-90, in the hope of getting the White Sox to relocate.
Attempts to move the Mariners and the Giants were blocked by the National league and the Marlins ownership.
Then a few  years it hosted a hockey team, the Lightning, which they had to move out so the Devil Rays only started playing there in 1998.

Shoeless Joe - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 11:49 AM EST (#392443) #
Honestly the ball park which hosts the Rays FSL team the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs is a nice ball park than the Trop. I watched a spring training game there with JA Happ pitching and got burned to a crisp.
John Northey - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 06:18 PM EST (#392448) #
timpinder - that is something I'm debating - going to Detroit for games at some point. From London it is 2 hours to Toronto or 2 hours to Detroit or 2 hours to Buffalo so going to any of the 3 is about the same effort. But I've actively been avoiding the USA for a few years now and don't see that changing unless things really improve there. COVID or not. A shame as I used to love going down there. I get scared going when I see stuff like signs saying not to take your guns into malls (if you need a sign to tell you that it scares me).
scottt - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 06:49 PM EST (#392449) #
Because of the weather, Tampa needs a roof.
Vulg - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 07:14 PM EST (#392450) #
While the thought of a better, more intimate game experience is certainly a good one, what excites me the most about the possibility of a new stadium is that it raises the ceiling of what Rogers would likely spend on team payroll.

As long as the team remains a direct asset of Rogers (which obligates the company to report its income/loss directly on quarterly income statements), ownership will be subject to shareholder pressure to minimize operating losses. This is in contrast to Rogers' investment in MLSE, which enjoys more freedom as a separate entity.

RC seriously limits the revenue potential of the club. It undercuts luxury box and corporate investment in one of the most populous and wealthiest regions in N.A. and is poorly conceived from a fan (playing surface, field proximity, concessions etc.) experience standpoint. Making the club's operations as self-sustaining as possible is a great thing for fans that would like to see the team spend closer to MLB's tax threshold.

As far as stadium experiences go, my favourite has been PNC. It's right on the water, the views are great, the field is beautiful, the washrooms plentiful and sneaking up to the beer-stands takes little time. There are also cool spots to hang out and it's in downtown Pittsburgh.

I have a ton of great memories at Skydome, but I'd be thrilled if they replaced it.
timpinder - Sunday, November 29 2020 @ 09:10 PM EST (#392453) #
John - Theyíve really cleaned up the area around Comerica. Itís a good place to go before the game too, with lots of great sport pubs and restaurants. Great seats for about half the price and itís a beautiful park. Weíre in Woodstock so go to a lot of Bisons games too. Another great ballpark experience where you can watch some of the prospects up close.

I can honestly say the only time we havenít felt safe down there was when we went to the old Atlanta park (Turner Field).



rpriske - Monday, November 30 2020 @ 12:34 PM EST (#392456) #
I hope the it stays in the same location, but I also hope that they build and actual baseball park, instead of a generic concrete monstrosity.
AWeb - Monday, November 30 2020 @ 03:10 PM EST (#392461) #
Calling skydome a generic concrete monstrosity is weird to me. Skydome was the absolute apex of the giant, multipurpose, concrete monstrosities. In my TEDtalk today, I will argue that skydome was the last of its kind in north america because it was so great. The retractable roof set the standard for future stadium's all over. The enormous and prominently located scoreboard certainly set the standard. The hotel in the outfield was a genuine curiosity, copied and made better in other parks. The roof, unlike other domes, was easy to play under. Skydome ended an era on a high point...and then Camden yards kicked off the next wave of retro-ish parks, because no one dared try to one up skydome on its own terms.

Might be a bit dated now, but compared to the true multipurpose concrete monstrosities in Montreal, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and st louis, just to name a few, it really was and is way better. Just look at tampa to get a taste of how bad it was.
Mylegacy - Monday, November 30 2020 @ 08:14 PM EST (#392463) #
Skydome was, to me, the reason I saw so many live Jays games, over many years, even though I lived in BC.

My wife and I would get two great seats, 10 to 16 rows just behind the catcher (3rd base side). We'd get the games for a six to nine game two-three visiting team series and we knew we'd catch all the action as spring snow or summer and fall rain would not interfere with the game being played. We stay at the hotel on site. Met lots of the Jays and visiting players in the hotel every day we were there.

Personally, I go to the games for the games. The food and drink are just fuel.

SO - as long as the new stadium has a roof and is in easy(ish) walking distance (my wife and I are a combined 162 years old), I will be tempted to attend. As we all know, Temptation can be a bitch!
rpriske - Monday, November 30 2020 @ 09:52 PM EST (#392465) #
Your mention of Camden Yards perfectly describes why I never really liked the SkyDome. Right after SkyDome opened, the trend changed dramatically for the better. If that trend had instead started in Toronto, there would be no reason to scrap it now.

Baseball parks should look like baseball parks.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 01 2020 @ 10:04 PM EST (#392480) #
Just before the SkyDome opened there was Pilot Field in Buffalo which was the test case for Camden you could say. It opened in 1988, a year before the Dome but the Dome was well underway by then. I remember how people were going on about how nice that place in Buffalo was but the Jays were getting a super-state of the art stadium with the roof (big attraction to anyone who sat through rain/hail/snow delays at the Ex or froze during April and September games). I thought no way anyone was building in areas with real winters without putting a retractable roof on it again, boy was I wrong.
scottt - Wednesday, December 02 2020 @ 01:44 PM EST (#392487) #
In wiki, the RC is listed as multipurpose.
Fenway and Wrigley Field are  Jewel Boxes.
Dodgers Stadium is modern.
Tropicana, modern indoor.
Marlins Park, contemporary.
Everything else is retro-modern or retro-classic.

T-Mobile in Washington, Minute Maid Park in Houston, Miller Park in Milwaukee, Chase Field in Arizona  and the new Globe Life Field all have retractable roofs.

What's preventing the grass in the RC is the lack of drainage, not the roof per say.

Magpie - Thursday, December 03 2020 @ 01:20 AM EST (#392496) #
Dodgers Stadium is modern.

Well, it doesn't feel ancient (or it didn't when I was there), but it's almost 60 years old. Only Fenway and Wrigley are older.
Magpie - Thursday, December 03 2020 @ 01:29 AM EST (#392497) #
Fun fact. The last rainout at Dodger Stadium was April 17, 2000.
scottt - Thursday, December 03 2020 @ 08:48 AM EST (#392501) #
I don't think the Texas parks have roofs because of rainouts.
Vulg - Thursday, December 03 2020 @ 09:31 PM EST (#392514) #
I don't think the Texas parks have roofs because of rainouts.

Word. I watched a game in Houston and walking in was such a relief. It felt like a hot, wet blanket was draped over you outside the stadium.
Thoughts on a New Ballpark | 26 comments | Create New Account
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