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Rogers has announced they are going to reno the Dome instead of building new at a cost of roughly $250 million.

This is the article

With things so quiet I figured this would be a good new thread - memories of the SkyDome/Rogers Centre, and other parks. Why not? Amazing to see the dome is now the 7th oldest park in baseball. The oldest...
  1. Fenway Park - 1912 - opened the week the Titanic sunk. I have been to this one, and it is well worth a visit if you can get there. I hope they find ways to keep it going forever.
  2. Wrigley Field - 1914 - another ancient one, I remember watching games on TV during days I was sick at home from school, lots of fun. I hated it when they added lights to it. I've been just outside it but never in it (my visits to Chicago have never hit when the Cubs were in town).
  3. Dodger Stadium - 1962 - amazing it wasn't given Astroturf given how the NL went nuts with the stuff in the late 60's. Looks beautiful but I've never been close to it.
  4. Angel Stadium of Anaheim - 1966 - has been through two massive renos over the years (to first make room for the Rams, then to make it back into a pure baseball park).
  5. Oakland Coliseum - 1966 - at big risk of vanishing from the majors soon, given how the A's are talking of moving to Vegas. Enough foul territory to make 1B/3B get massive workouts every trip there.
  6. Kauffman Stadium - 1973 - I really want to visit this someday, but have no reason to go to Kansas otherwise. Looks beautiful in pictures and video.
Then comes the Dome, the Rays park was built in 1990 but not used for MLB until 98 (and should never have been...ugh), ChiSox opened theirs in 1991 (last of the ugly parks), then came Camden Yards in '92 which changed stadiums forever (although Buffalo built theirs first). Since the SkyDome opened in '89 we've seen new parks come and be replaced in Texas and Atlanta. I for one am happy the Jays plan to keep renovating instead of rebuilding as rebuilds almost always demand public money for roads if nothing else (and there is always something else). As a fan I miss the old Tiger Stadium (saw a few games there in '88/'89 when I lived in Windsor for a year) - was at a Tiger game when Stieb had his second near no-no and they put up on the scoreboard that he had a no-hitter going with 2 out in the 9th then didn't post anything for about 30 minutes driving me nuts. Even the Big Owe in Montreal (saw just one game there but it was fun - inside the park home run to win the game in extras in 1994, even with a stadium that had 'just' 30k or so in a park built for 60k+, super quiet around the park before and after the game which helps explain why the Expos died). Exhibition Stadium I saw many games at (I loved the $4 outfield seats with free CNE/Ontario Place admission) was a horrid park for baseball but I had a lot of fun there - saw Fred McGriff's first home run, Bell hitting the final homer there, sat behind home plate and caught a ball, froze on the benches many times (once with a crowd from McDonald's where I worked as a teen where we chanted To-ny Arm-as with appropriate gestures to the outfielder in the 80's), saw a young David Wells driving home after a game when he was a rookie, watched Team Canada beat the USSR with Gretzky & Lemieux on the same line on a 4" black and white TV because we got premium seats and weren't going to waste them - the crowd was mostly listing on radios to the hockey game instead of watching the Jays so cheering was at odd times and it was funny seeing players reactions, especially the visitors.

Ah, so many memories.

So what parks have others here been to, and which were the most fun, least fun, etc.?
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John Northey - Wednesday, December 22 2021 @ 07:28 PM EST (#410165) #
FYI: Another I've been to is Minnesota's current one (Target Field). Beautiful park. Feels smaller than it is. Big crowd of Jays fans when I was there which made it more fun. Saw Teoscar Hernandez play well and my daughter became a fan of his from then on. I just hope he sticks around long term. That park was built right - next to a high speed train that gets you from there to key areas of town (we used it from our hotel to there rather than driving, just made sense). If COVID hadn't hit I'd have probably seen a game in Detroit at their current park by now (sigh). Saw a few up in Thunder Bay in their very minor league park (they have a team of US college players in a league of just college players which leads to cheap seats and fun for kids as you get autographs easily).
theodditor - Wednesday, December 22 2021 @ 08:23 PM EST (#410166) #
Without aging myself too much, the first game I saw was at Jarry Park and I have visited 42 MLB parks with only new the Arlington one missed. San Diego & Pittsburgh are my top two with the dump in Tampa the worse. As someone who works in game day operations for the Jays at both Exhibition & Skydome, I really say that I miss Exhibition Stadium so much. It was a fun time, pre-corporate, real fans & cheap food/seats.
Also, hit all the spring training sites, including lots of closed ones with the exception of the new Atlanta site in Florida & Cubs in Arizona. I guess I enjoy traveling for games and look forward to once again doing it.
JohnL - Wednesday, December 22 2021 @ 09:42 PM EST (#410167) #
John: as far as I know, there has been no confirmation from Rogers. The only source I've seen so far is from VenuesNow, linked in the BlogTO article. BlogTO has a pretty poor reputation for their work, but in this case, they report what VN wrote, which all sounds reasonable and sounds like it may be based on facts.

As for MLB stadiums, my list in order, with one memory each:

1. Exhibition Stadium: Jays break up no-hitter against Seattle and Mark Langston in the 9th, and win - Jimy Williams' last win as Jays' manager. May, 1989

2. SkyDome: 2 obvious memories: first World Series game in Canada, and Carter's WS HR.

3. Fenway: 3 games in 1989 & 1993. Red Sox trying vainly to come back. Vaughan at plate, fan getting red in the face, yelling "Mo! Mo! Mo!" (Mo didn't.)

4. Yankee Stadium, June 1990. Picking up my tickets at the Will Call standing behind George Bell's brother, and fans carrying Dominican flag with Blue Jay logo in the middle. Jays swept the series.

5. Tiger Stadium, August 1992. Great experience. Two bad losses by the Jays.

6. Oakland Coliseum, October 1992. Alomar tied the game, bottom of the 9th with HR against Eckersley. "A's Blow It" said the front page of the Oakland Tribune that I brought home.

7. Camden Yards, June 2014. Jays in 1st place, Buehrle was on a roll, but got beat by the O's starter, Kevin Gausman.
John Northey - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 01:51 AM EST (#410168) #
Some cool stories already. Great to read. I could've gone to the All-Star game in Toronto in 1991 but had to work so I skipped it. Dumb dumb dumb.

Tiger Stadium was amazing - my first game I went up to the ticket booth just an hour before game time and got a seat about 10-15 rows behind home plate. Amazing view for a Jays-Tigers game in 1988 in September (both still contending at the time iirc). Must have been September 7th (Jays lost in a walk off - I remember Trammell getting the game winner with a single to LF which matches up with BR). I was amazed by how few fans were there and how many left before it was over (tight 4-3 game). After the win the Tigers were just 1 game out. I bought up lots of Tiger Stadium merchandise being sold on the street around the park - all an effort to raise awareness of how they planned to replace that beautiful old park (although it did need updating badly). Buses from Windsor took you right to the park, and picked you up immediately after the game. The drivers had total fear on their faces when driving around Detroit on their way to the tunnel to get back to Windsor. I heard many horror stories (both from people in Windsor and from a friend who was a bouncer in downtown Detroit) so I could understand why they got out of there quick.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 05:25 AM EST (#410169) #
I'm really glad to see them going the renovation route too. I love the Dome, even today. The retractable roof is still an amazing option and the location is just unbeatable. To me it's just the concessions and seating that need updates. And it's been 5 years since I've seen a game there so the concessions may have been dealt with. So kudos to taking this approach which also should save public funds as has been pointed out.

Other stadiums that I have visited

1. Exhibition stadium: my first two games were here. It felt like a minor league stadium to me. Never saw a win there (losses to yanks and angels) and hated leaving the stadium and dealing with parking afterwards. Nothing but negative memories here.

2. New Comiskey Park: Saw a single game here in the mid 90s (95 maybe). Great venue, absolutely crap area of the city (Jim Croce was spot on about the south side of chicago). Our game had a rain delay but we stuck it out for a Sox win. This was absolute prime Frank Thomas and man was he impressive.

3. Tiger Stadium: Have family in Windsor and got back for a game in the final season in '99. Took the bus from windsor to the game (I think tickets +bus + hot dog was under $20). The trough urinal in the men's room was more memorable than the game. The tigers were awful that year.

4. Wrigley field. In 2004. The opposite of Comiskey. Great location, old and not amazing stadium. Chicago is probably my favorite US city and if you have to choose this is head and shoulders the park to see there.

5. Petco park. Probably the nicest stadium I've been to. Went in 2006 and again in 2013. Amazing location, great site lines, food. Crowds weren't huge but those who were there were knowledgeable and very friendly. Mostly we sat with ppl from the naval base. Just an all around awesome experience

6. San Francisco. It was AT&T Park when I went in 2007. Now oracle park I think? Pretty nice venue and a great location. Fans were kinda jerky to be honest. I absolutely hate San Francisco (most overrated city in the entire world largely because of the people). It's a conference town so I'll probably be back but I won't be in a hurry.

7. Citizens bank ballpark. I think about 2013. Philadelphia is the polar opposite of San Francisco. It has this reputation for the fans being jerks but everyone I met were absolutely friendly and fun. Food and drink is the highlight here. Grab a hoagie and a Yuengling; pure magic. The only issue is that it isn't central. At one point there was discussion of putting it near China Town. Now that would have been amazing. Still, I'd go back in a heartbeat.

8.Turner field 2014. All you need to know is that this park lasted less than 20 years before being replaced. Had traffic issues (the rare case where you may want a stadium out of the downtown). Haven't been to the new stadium but Atlanta is a gem of a city with great people and amazing food. Looking forward to one day getting back there.

Honorable mentions

9. Yankee Stadium. The old one in 2002. Couldn't get to a game but took the subway out and managed to convince a security guard to let me go through the band entrance and take a picture. The only image I have of this stadium is a shot from on the outfield (on the field).

10. Fenway. I had tickets to a game in 2013 but missed out due to a city wide shut down (yes that shut down).

11. Camden Yards. I had a chance to go to a game in 2015 when I was in Baltimore. But this was around the time of the Freddie gray protests and I decided not to go. Ultimately there was a crowdless game extending from this (although that wasn't the game I was targeting).

12. Olympic stadium. Never saw a baseball game here, just a football match (the impact vs Santos laguna). Drove up from Ottawa and had a decently enjoyable time. Have been trying to get to the Jays preseason games here for a long time but haven't been able to time it. Hoping for some real ball in the future.
timpinder - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 08:09 AM EST (#410170) #
Iím very disappointed that this isnít a tear down. $250 million wonít go very far. I imagine it will still have a plastic field surface, no sight lines of the city, and the feeling of sitting in a concrete bowl when the renovations are completed.
Iíve been to 22 MLB parks so far and next to Tropicana in Tampa, in my opinion Rogers Centre is the worst. Luckily Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburg are all within a 6 hour drive for me, and we go see the Jays at Comerica for a series every year (great ballpark!), and see them in Cleveland as well.
I was hoping to return to seeing games a new ballpark in TorontoÖ. Iíll wait and see what the renovations bring but imagine weíll continue to drive a little further and see them elsewhere.
Gerry - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 08:41 AM EST (#410172) #
I wonder what changes they would consider for the RC.

It seems to me that modern stadiums tend to do more and more for the high rollers.

For example, the action seats behind home plate always seem to the full. Could they expand those seats.

There is often talk of expanding the concourses. The only way to do that would be to take out seats at the back of the sections. It might be worth it, more food and beverage revenue versus less ticket revenue.

The boxes at the 300 and 400 level rarely seem to be filled. What could you do with those spaces? It seems hard to reconfigure those.

I think the player areas, clubhouse, hitting cages, and weight room were all upgraded recently so those areas should be OK.

Similarly, is the roof good now? If the roof needed repairs that could eat up a lot of the money.

The article linked doesn't suggest any specific improvements that are under consideration.
bpoz - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 09:19 AM EST (#410173) #
Does anyone watch sports or movies on some kind of massive TV or entertainment center? How is the quality compared to being there?
timpinder - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 10:33 AM EST (#410174) #
We have a very large screen OLED and I actually prefer watching baseball (the game itself) on TV, unlike hockey and football that I think are better live. Unless youíre sitting right behind home plate you miss a lot in my opinion. You canít see the movement or spin of the ball, the intricacies of the swing, the line of the throw, etc.

However, nothing beats the atmosphere of a ballgame on a warm summer evening with a cold beer. I think thatís why I dislike Rogers Centre so much. The game is better on 4K big screen; I go to the game for the ballpark atmosphere! The sights and the sounds.

Just my opinion. And since weíre finished over 2/3ís of our MLB park tour we have a new appreciation of what a ballpark should be and what it should feel like. And I havenít bought a ticket at Rogers Centre in over 5 years as a result.

Tremendously disappointed in their decision to renovate instead of replace.
Glevin - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 11:18 AM EST (#410175) #
Rogers Centre is bad when roof closed but OK when roof is open. Location is amazing though. Easy subway access is a big thing. I think one of the considerations is that in Canada, we're just not as willing to spend public money on these teams anymore. In the US, it's different. Local municipalities are almost always willing to kick in a ton of money for sports teams. Ideally, the Jays would move back to the Exhibition area once the new Subway is in and have a really cool park on the water (instead of a casino or whatever Ford wants to build) but that's just dreaming. Anything that makes the stadium feel less cavernous would be great.
85bluejay - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 11:20 AM EST (#410176) #
About 2 years ago Mark Shapiro in a radio interview was talking about increasing the revenue generating capacity of the dome and it generally skewed towards luxury boxes and high rollers and I think that's where the money will be spent.
timpinder - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 11:27 AM EST (#410177) #
Glevin, I completely agree with you about location. My brother lives in Toronto and goes to tons of games because he can just finish work and subway right down to catch the game on any given day. I live in Woodstock, and itís actually easier to drive to Detroit or Buffalo (we like to see the Bisons games in a more intimate ballpark) than deal with downtown Toronto traffic and parking. But I can certainly see the appeal of that location for people who actually live in Toronto, and those people probably represent the majority of fans at the stadium.

Iíd be really curious to know how many other fans are like us in that weíd rather travel elsewhere to watch the Jays than overpay to see a game in a concrete and plastic bowl. Maybe weíre just outliers.
bpoz - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 01:35 PM EST (#410178) #
Baseball on a great TV is nice. You get the replays too. Rich people with lots of money can make an event of it in their luxury box.

More revenue will help payroll. We will have to overpay for our homegrown players that become big stars.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 04:15 PM EST (#410180) #
I've been to:
-Exhibition Stadium in 1981, IIRC. Lost 4-1 to Seattle or something-Skydome maybe 5-10 times to watch some games. Nothing too memorable, although I got to see the last game Stieb pitched in (in his relief stint), IIRC.-Oakland Coliseum - crazy sun angles for day games. Bleacher Creatures are fun.
-AT&T park - 14 inning marathon that the Jays ended up losing anyway
Not really a "stadium" guy, so I don't have any huge impressions or such.
John Northey - Thursday, December 23 2021 @ 07:13 PM EST (#410181) #
I've sat pretty much in every area of the dome outside of the hotel now. 2 rows behind home plate (someone my dad was doing work for knew Beeston and got those tickets in the 90's), upper deck near the roof ring (vs Yankees year 1 of the dome), in the outfield so far you can't see the screen (5th deck), under the overhang in the outfield, in the luxury seats (for Hentgen's 20th win), in a box (someone trying to woo me to use them, even though I told them no chance, but they insisted and who am I to say no to a luxury box game), pretty much you name it. From seeing John Olerud's first hit there, to Tony Fernandez' final game I've seen a lot there and loved it. I figure it'll be torn down someday but I'm glad it won't be anytime soon. The dome makes me feel safe buying tickets as the game will happen (2 hour drive so it is a pain if I go there and it is called). I've seen the roof open and close during a game - much better open of course. But those dreaming of an open air park ala other cities can forget it. I remember Extortion..er..Exhibition Stadium and it was a popsicle most of the time, crazy wind, basically my good memories there are more who I was with and what the team did, not the park. I also remember the drunks running from one side to the other behind the outfield wall (it was a weird park) The dome was a MASSIVE upgrade and I have no interest in an open air park being here again.
Eephus - Friday, December 24 2021 @ 09:41 PM EST (#410183) #
Really digging these tales. I'm way too young to have any Exhibition Stadium memories but in the Beforetimes I'd been fortunate to travel to a bunch of MLB ballparks. Might as well share the few I've been to and some lasting impressions, worst to first:

Oakland Coliseum -- Yeah it's a pretty brutal place to watch a ballgame. Caught a game there in 2009, the Blue Jays happened to be in town and it was a day or the day after the Scott Rolen for Edwin trade. Just an absolute cavern when it's empty: my uncle-in-law and I had seats in the second level, snuck down to the first base foul line without difficulty but with all that excessive foul territory you still feel like you're distant from the action. Ugly and unappealing.

Olympic Stadium -- Like stepping into a time machine and dialing it to 1978, the colours of the place might be more outdated than the facility itself. It's semi-charming but a dump. Got to see Vlad Jr. though in his first MLB spring training! Sadly it was the other game, not the one he hit the famous walkoff dinger (which was the next day). Still an enjoyable game and there was enough of a crowd (maybe 40 percent full) to provide some energy.

SkyDome -- It is what it is. I'll echo the consensus that it's way better with the roof open and or with a full house. Lots of great memories there regardless... the 2009 WBC game against the USA, Halladay versus Burnett, Doc's return as a Phillie, though my favourite might be a Halladay start where the then Devil Rays knocked him out in the 3rd, but the Jays rallied from an 8-1 (I think) disadvantage to walk it off in the 9th on an Aaron Hill... walk. My buddy wanted to leave in the 5th but I insisted we stick it out (a feather in my cap).

New Yankee Stadium -- As a ballpark it's multiple leagues nicer than the Dome, but it really feels like a Venue(TM) rather than a baseball park. It's so big, sleek, expensive, with Yankee branding everywhere... has about as much heart and soul as an airport. At least got to see the great Mariano Rivera pitch (and get a save!) against the Orioles in his comeback/farewell season, which was incredibly damn cool.

Citi Field -- I don't remember the game at all beyond that Jon Niese pitched, but the stadium itself jumped out how nice it was. For a new modern park it feels way more intimate and small than a huge super-stadium: open air concourses, great beer selection (I remember their Brooklyn Brewery selection more than the game!) but best of all they had one of those carnival type things where if you throw a pitch and hit the target... it dunks a dude sitting in a chair (wearing the opposing teams jersey) into a tank of water. I still smile about it since I was in my Jays hat (at a Mets v. Phillies game) doing my goofy windup and after I missed my first throw I could sense the crowd quietly mock my weirdness. My second throw hit the target perfectly square and splash! Take that Lenny Dykstra! It had a radar gun which was definitely juiced... I've never thrown anywhere near 64... 

Wrigley Field -- Sheer awe. Couldn't believe it was real when I walked in the place. It was 2014, the Cubs were still terrible and they hadn't renovated the stadium yet, so I got to see the place without the modernizations and the big billboards blocking the stands on the apartments across the street behind left-field. I'll never forget it... every minute of being inside Wrigley just felt like a spiritual baseball experience. Like stepping back in time but into a romanticized concept of history. The neighbourhood around the park is every bit as wild and fun and unique as people say. Pretty sure they were playing Atlanta, it was a Sunday afternoon game and the Cubs got smoked the first five innings... might've been 10-2 at one point. Hey, they had a banner of Emilio Bonifacio in the concourse... not a good Cubs team at all. Still, the Cubbies fought back enough that Craig Kimbrel, back when he was OH NO Kimbrel! had to come in and get the save.

Oracle Park -- I've been fortunate to see multiple games here, as I have family in the Bay Area. The atmosphere is great: the gigantic view of the entire bay in the background, no bad seat in the house, the smell of garlic fries endlessly floating through the corridors... bring a jacket though. I saw Barry Bonds hit two home runs in a game (think he was around 640 at the time) and the crowd absolutely lost their mind with each one. I saw Barry Zito outduel Phillies Cliff Lee the year Philadelphia repeated as NL Champions. The best though is probably the game I never went to but was outside for: Game 2 of the 2012 World Series. We didn't have tickets but my then partner and I wandered outside the stadium around first pitch, peeked through the chain link fence behind right field for a bit, watched the hundreds of boats in the cove waiting for home run balls with their radios full blast, somehow saw a dude in a retro Brian Butterfield Jays jersey(!) and then we ran into Omar Visquel in the Giants gift shop. Even just wandering the blocks of San Fran that night, it was a certain kind of electricity everywhere... the only other time I've witnessed anything like it would've been the 2019 Raptors playoff run.

Sorry for the long post, I tend to get lost down Memory Lane (especially when there's nothing else baseball related to talk about!). Whenever possible and feasible, I'd love to see Fenway someday, plus Dodger Stadium, San Diego, and of course Cincinnati while Joey Bangs is still doing his thing.


lexomatic - Friday, December 24 2021 @ 11:48 PM EST (#410184) #
Ex starting in the 80s Def waaaay into RF in 94, past the wall. Mostly in the 2$ Dominion(now Metro) seats in LF .Went to the last game at the EX, and dad and kid sold 2 extra season tickets row 20 behind 3b at face value. BEST seats ever. Moved down to R2 in  the 8th but I forgot my glove so I was ducking and holding the program any time the ball headed my way. Tooooo fast.Did the pre opening tour of the dome and sat in obstructed view last row for game 2.Got 1991 playoff seats for a reasonable price from illegitimate reseller person typeWent regularly for a few years to the Dome 92-95 20 some games in 93 was high point. I managed to get in on a union group buy because best friends dad was some big Marxist.Have also been to old Yankee stadium, which was cool, and Shea, which was not ( but we had great seats 12$ or something   behind behind 3b). The stock ticker was what threw me. I think Rickey and Olerud were on the team then. Have not been to a game in 4 years. I can't imagine ever going back.
John Northey - Saturday, December 25 2021 @ 12:31 AM EST (#410185) #
First games are fun.  Mine was 1978 vs the Yankees the Jays were slaughtered 11-3 - May 19th 1978, boxscore.  Funny I always thought it was in 1977 but BR showed me I was wrong on that.  Sat on the 3B side at the Ex with my parents and sister (she was cheering the Yankees).  Sat in the bleachers for the final Ex game with my parents and my grandmother - it was the final game she could go to as she was a chain smoker and the dome was no-smoking so we knew that was the last chance.

Oldest park was Tiger Stadium (opened in the early 1900's as something else, rebuilt pretty much later on so they claimed it wasn't the same but as far as I'm concerned if it didn't move it is the same.  Sadly it might not have been fully cleaned since Ty Cobb patrolled CF.  Newest for me is the one in Minnesota, as I mention above beautiful park, great views, very well done, highly recommended.
AWeb - Monday, December 27 2021 @ 07:01 PM EST (#410196) #
First park was in Montreal, Olympic Stadium, https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MON/MON199308240.shtml . Pretty sure it was this game - I remember a close loss, and it was a trip up to Montreal to see my older brother off to university. Must have been that game, since the Expos finished the year 31-10 and that was the only home loss within two weeks on either side. Most dominant memory of the game - sitting near the RF foul pole, Larry Walker hit a line shot off a railing a few feet in front of me, and it rang like a bell and bounced a good 100 feet away. Having played some baseball up until that point, it was a good show of how much harder MLers hit the ball. Olympic stadium was/is a terrible place to watch baseball. Too big, not lit well enough, terrible turf at the time, just cavernous.

I think my next park was in Seattle in 2002, https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SEA/SEA200208030.shtml. great seats, easy win for the home team. Weirdly in a game with Ichiro (2 for 5, both singles, a perfect Ichiro game), Olerud (4 for 5, a hr and double), Thome and Martinez (both 0 for 1 with 3 walks), my my indelible memory was the hr that Milton Bradley hit, a line shot off the facing of the second deck in right. Seattle has a very nice ballpark, although nothing in particular jumped out at me as great. Loved the trees in centre though.

Next up in my random walk, Coors Field in Denver, https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/COL/COL200304050.shtml. Randy Johnson pitched in a terrible year for him, and I thought I might be seeing him near the end. TWo homers to RF that he gave up on what seemed to be popups really drove home the Coors Field of it all, though the cold rain showers probably kept the offense in check, plus it got me free tickets when I showed up during the first inning and scalpers just handed me tickets. The line around the park at a literal mile high (upper deck) was cool, I really liked this park.

Saw maybe 10 games in Toronto the 2 years I was there in 2004-05. The most memorable was one of the longest games in Jays history: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR200507280.shtml.  I did not make it to the end, I had work the next day and had to make it home to the end of the subway, and my friend in town didn't sign up for an all-nighter. Last game there was a classic 'Tampa crushes Toronto' game in 2014 https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR201408220.shtml...yeesh, what  crap game this was Stroman pitched decently but every grounder found a hole. Rasmus fell asleep in centre a couple of times allowing runners to take second base on him. Just a disgraceful display. two hits for the Jays, one by Steven Tolleson, who apparently got 234 PAs over two seasons and made zero impression on me (he was seemingly a fine enough player, there's just no memory slot for him in my brain).

Last park is Washington's, which was a damn nice place sitting behind home plate looking over the field. Was there to see the Nationals clinch the playoffs the year they won the world series, https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS201909242.shtml. Scherzer vs Nola, neither pitched well. Bryce Harper, in his first year as a Phillie, made a pinch hit appearance and hit a homer that was just amazingly crushed; a begrudging applause from the crowd which had been half heartedly booing him a bit. Fun to watch them clinch as I headed for the exit - but a general lack of pallatable excitement about playoff clinching though. The postseason scars would soon be healed up though. Best park I've been to, I think.

I've seen a surprising number of HoF (or near HoF players). Randy Johnson, Scherzer, Walker (Expo and Rockie version), Ichiro, Olerud, Martinez, Thome, Sosa (in that Expos game and once as an Oriole, I really missed his prime), Sandberg, Grace (Cub and Diamondback), Burks, Vizquel, Helton, Luis Gonzalez, Finley, Francisco Rodriguez (BS in that marathon game), Rivera, Jeter, A-Rod, (saw the mid 2000s Yankees a couple of times, quite a list just there), Bautista, Encarnacion, Longoria, Harper, Soto, etc. Rarely did any of them do anything of note during a game at all, especially the great pitchers I saw - this remains an unfixable problem for hooking viewers. Missed Delgado by a year, although I'm pretty sure I caught a Halladay game at some point. Most fun might've been a AAA game in Vegas (Jays farm team), great seats, fun game, don't think I saw anyone of later note in particular for the Jays.
John Northey - Monday, December 27 2021 @ 10:14 PM EST (#410197) #
Mentioning HOF'ers - the Jays have had surprisingly few over their existence. Roberto Alomar (91-95), Rickey Henderson (half year in 1993), Dave Winfield (1992), Paul Molitor (1993-1995), Jack Morris (92/93), Phil Niekro (1987), Frank Thomas (2007/8), and of course Roy Halladay (1998-2009).

Just 8 HOF'ers have ever played for the Jays. Far fewer than I expected. 1993 had 4 on the team and that is the team record. Pre 1991 only Phil Niekro had every played here and made the hall. A fun personal note: I was there for his first start as a Blue Jay which was super-exciting as I was a big fan of his (I love knuckleballs - I've had my fastball mistaken for one). Sadly we had Jimy Williams running the team so he had long waits between games when most know that knuckleball pitchers need regular work to be successful. Ah well.

Roger Clemens will eventually get in adding another player for 97/98, Scott Rolen is also likely to make it (2008-9), Omar Vizquel (2012), and Jeff Kent has a good shot with the Vets imo (1992)

Next years ballot could have Adam Lind, RA Dickey, Aaron Hill, Jayson Werth (none with a shot); then comes Brandon Morrow, Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista - sadly none have a shot but I hope Bautista gets a few homer votes at least. So it'll be awhile until you can say for certain that you saw a HOF'er as a Blue Jay. We can speculate all we want about guys but it is rare. I saw Alomar a lot of course, I'm sure I saw WInfield, and Molitor play as Jays. I saw Henderson as an A a couple of times, but not as a Jay I don't think. Must have seen Halladay at some point (I went to a lot of games between 98 and 09). Lets hope we are watching a batch of them now :)
AWeb - Monday, December 27 2021 @ 11:18 PM EST (#410200) #
Some other recent guys who either have outside chances or seemed like they might:

Buerhle seems like a guy who might stick on the ballot and go in as a vet.

David Price could still make it if he is willing and able to start fulltime for several more years. Don't think either is likely, but most hof pitchers are still productive until they're 40+.

Russell Martin has an advanced stats case since he was apparently one of the greatest framers, but...that doesn't seem likely to have traction. Top 30 catcher maybe, but not getting in.

Josh Donaldson hasn't stopped hitting or being injured too much. Another 'not impossible' case, if he puts up one more great year and a few more good ones. But starting fulltime at 27 is just too much to overcome, mvp or not.

Good or bad that the Jays haven't really missed on many guys who went to star elsewhere?...I lean towards bad. Until this group, as I and others have noted, it had been so damn long between top players from the minors actually being good.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 28 2021 @ 10:17 AM EST (#410201) #
It is interesting to look back and see which teams had the most future HOF'ers - the highest via the Lahman database, is the 1928, 1930-1933 Yankees with 9 each. The Giants of the 20's had 8 along with the Yankees of 1929 and 1934 as did the Browns in 1933, the 1956 Dodgers and Cleveland 1949. Jays best is 4 in 1993 (Alomar, Morris, Molitor, Henderson), 3 in 1992 (Alomar, Morris, Winfield). 2 in 1994/95 (Molitor & Alomar), and 2 in 2007/8 (Thomas, Halladay), and 1 in 12 seasons - 1987 (Niekro). 1991 (Alomar), 1998-2006 & 2009 (Halladay). The Expos peaked with 4 in 1979 (Carter, Raines (6 games as a pinch runner only - stole 2 bases, scored 3 times), Dawson, Tony Perez), 3 in 1977/78/80-84/89/97 (Vlad Sr/Pedro Martinez/Lee Smith that final year, 89 was Raines/Walker/Johnson, the rest a mix of the guys from the 79 team). 2 in 76/85/86/88/90/92/94/96/01, (01 Vlad Sr & Raines, the 90's mainly Walker & Pedro, 80's Raines & Johnson/Dawson, 76 Carter/Dawson) and 1 in 74/75/87/91/93/95/98/99/00/02/03 - the last HOF'er to play for the Expos was Vlad Sr., first was Gary Carter. There is a chance that someday the Hall will put Maury Wills in (was on the '69 Expos) but no question those Expos of the late 70's had a killer home grown talent base with 3 future HOF'ers in their prime. How they heck did they only make the playoffs once? Well, playing a horrid 2B in Rodney Scott (71 OPS+ lifetime) and Doug Flynn (58 OPS+) 'helped', as did leaving Chris Speier at SS (88 OPS+ isn't horrid, but his defense wasn't anything to write home about, nor was his baserunning). The Expos back then had 2 black holes in their lineup and they never could figure that out (back then a poor hitting SS/2B combo was seen as normal for some reason). Talk about a team that was less than their parts though. Ugh. With a bit of luck and not having that blind spot for middle infield they could've been champions and made themselves 'Canada's Team' very easily and made the Jays the junior partner for baseball in Canada. Instead...ah well.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, December 28 2021 @ 10:57 AM EST (#410202) #
Omar Vizquel (2012)

I certainly hope that Vizquel never gets in the HOF. He has been accused of domestic violence by his estranged wife and faces criminal charges for deviant sexual behavior towards an autistic batboy when he was managing a minor league team in the Chicago White Sox organization. I know the HOF is not filled with players who were perfect but Vizquel is a moral degenerate and a marginal candidate anyway.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 28 2021 @ 12:13 PM EST (#410203) #
D Stieb maybe did not have a long enough career and I suppose he has to be judged against the good pitchers of his playing day. Having said that in the 4 man rotation era... from 1982 to 1885 he had 288IP, 278IP, 267IP and 265IP. Very impressive.
JohnL - Tuesday, December 28 2021 @ 03:37 PM EST (#410205) #
I've always found the HOF difference between Jays & Expos pretty striking. Both have 8 former players, but 6 of the Expos came from their system; the Jays only have Halladay. I like to think the Jays get extra HOF credit for Gillick's 18 years with them though.

John Northey - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 12:34 AM EST (#410206) #
Stieb's main problem was not having a good enough offense and bullpen behind him most starts. By WAR for pitchers he was #1 in the AL in 1982-1983-1984 but in 1983 he didn't get a single Cy vote, 82 he came in 4th, 84 he was 7th. In 1981 he was 3rd in pitchers WAR but again no Cy votes, in 1985 he won the ERA title, 2nd in pitchers WAR but 5th in Cy votes. With any luck he'd have 3 Cy Young awards, and maybe 5 if voters in the 80's weren't so win addicted. That would've made him a great peak candidate for the Hall, especially if his near no-no's were no-no's (3 times was 1 out away and lost them before he finally got one. He had at least 1 or 2 other games where he made it to the 9th with a no-no going). Give him 4 No-Hitters and 3+ Cy's and voters would trip over themselves to put him in. Instead those same voters gave Cy's to Pete Vuckovich (one more win, 8 fewer losses, in 65 fewer innings with a much worse ERA+), LaMarr Hoyt (24 wins, 7 more than Stieb worse ERA+, fewer innings), and Willie Hernandez (a closer who had 32 saves vs 1 blown a 204 ERA+ over 140 innings so a very good year for a closer, but Stieb had 267 innings, 146 ERA+, but just 16 wins).

Sigh. What should've been. If Stieb had not had his arm give out in 1991 he might have jumped up the career win list as he was reasonably effect in 1998 when he made a one year comeback. But such is life.

The 80's Jays had a lot of potential HOF'ers but Fernandez couldn't hit away from Toronto it seemed, and Bell/Moseby/Barfield all had short careers (turf hurt them all I suspect). Jimmy Key was close, but needed a few more years. Henke was still going strong when he called it quits or he might have climbed to 400 saves and might have snuck in like Lee Smith recently did. McGriff, Delgado, and Olerud all were damn close and might still sneak in via a future Vets committee. All have far better cases than Don Mattingly who many still support thanks to a couple of great years and his being a Yankee (never got the 'leadership' people credit him with given the Yankees went through their longest no playoff stretch during his career only making it in his final season).
bpoz - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 11:16 AM EST (#410207) #
I am waiting for a few things this off season.

1) Da Box prospect list. No rush. Mine is guess work after #6.

2) A settled contract between owners and players. I want to know the new playoff format.

3) Intl signings and rule 5 if it happens.

In the meantime I am "playing" how good we could be after 1993 if there were 7playoff teams.

Led by V Wells and Halladay we had a shot at a WS ring.

Led by Clemens also a good shot at the WS ring.

We would have had Halladay past 2009 because he only left to get into the playoffs.

Guzman and Hentgen were still in their prime after 1993. Timlin.

In the above cases we needed to add more. But what? Stronger pen I suppose. It would have been nice if Cito was around. But we should let Carter retire when he wants to and kept Olerud.

Our new window will be very exciting.
grjas - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 02:46 PM EST (#410208) #
Jays wonít pick up Kyle Seager after all since he just announced his retirement at 34. One more infield option off the list.
John Northey - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 03:12 PM EST (#410209) #
grjas - yup, just read that - quite surprising as he had a few more good years left one would think and could've made a few million more. Ah well. I guess he was a 'plan B' for most teams and he felt he didn't want to be that. Should be interesting to see the Jays reaction when the lockout ends.

Looking back at the earlier Third Base Options thread I see a lot of people were big on Seager (he was mentioned a LOT). The best 3B are still there - Jose Ramirez, Kris Bryant, Matt Chapman, Eduardo Escobar (signed with Mets $20 mil over 2 years), and Josh Donaldson were the ones I felt were available for the right trade/free agent deal but only 1 has signed/been traded so far. Trevor Story played a fair amount at 3B in the minors just before Tulo was traded here so that would be funny if he was signed to play 3B here. Carlos Correa is the big fish left but is very strong on defense at SS so would force Bo to move instead (especially given he'd demand a very long term deal putting him here longer than Bo potentially). In the minors Bo played a bit at 2B (30 games) so I'd think that would be the most likely move if the Jays went nuts and blew $300+ mil on Correa. Sure would make the infield strong outside of the Biggio/Espinal 3B situation (with Biggio playing more and more in CF I suspect if he can handle it).

Yeah, that open IF slot is going to be interesting no matter what. I feel even stronger now that the Jays will go with Espinal at 3B and Biggio at 2B to start 2022, with the kids getting shots at it (Smith, Lopez, Capra, Groshans, Taylor although the last 3 aren't on the 40 man with Groshans still safe from being taken in the rule 5) although all bat right which is a negative (not an obvious platoon with Espinal but any could work with Biggo). So outside of signing Jonathan Villar (switch hitter, former Jay for a minute, tons of speed but seemed distracted all the time), or Jed Lowrie (very old now, switch hitter, 101 OPS+ last year can play 2B/3B) there isn't much outside of trades that could be better than internal options. Bryant, Chapman, Ramirez, and Donaldson are the best options but each has a cost (Bryant in $$, the others in prospects especially Ramirez).
Thomas - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 04:02 PM EST (#410210) #
?I certainly hope that Vizquel never gets in the HOF.

Agreed. And while I would have thought he would have gotten in through the veteran's committee eventually, now I don't see that happening. And I hope it doesn't. He's a Blue Jay I never want to see in there.

scottt - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 04:30 PM EST (#410211) #
I guess he saw the offers he was getting and didn't care for them.

He was good for 2 WAR. Espinal was worth 2.5 WAR in just 222 AB.

What the Jays really need is a good left bat who doesn't mind DHing his share.
The last thing the Jays need is a guy who hits right and who wants to play the field every day.

Maybe Guerrero can DH 2 days a week, maybe Springer can do the same.
Hernandez and Bichette can do it once in a while.
That still leaves a hole for somebody to DH 3 times a week.

grjas - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 04:47 PM EST (#410212) #
Seager was a lefty with fairly pronounced splits so might have been interesting as a platoon with Espinal and off the bench. But, yeah, probably not what he was looking for.

And yes JN, the other options may well be too pricey to make sense. So they may decide to give the kids a chance and reassess at the allstar break and if the season opens late that may be quicker than normal anyway.
Magpie - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 05:08 PM EST (#410213) #
I'm so old that there are Hall of Fame players that I might have seen but maybe I didn't. I just don't remember.

I do remember Jim Rice and Tom Seaver. I don't remember Ted Simmons or Jim Kaat, but I very well might have seen them.
Magpie - Wednesday, December 29 2021 @ 05:12 PM EST (#410214) #
And yes, Dodger Stadium really is gorgeous.
Leaside Cowboy - Friday, December 31 2021 @ 09:28 AM EST (#410218) #
Dodger Dogs are the food of the baseball gods.
Mike Green - Friday, December 31 2021 @ 04:53 PM EST (#410223) #
Happy new year, Bauxites.
mathesond - Friday, December 31 2021 @ 06:17 PM EST (#410224) #
Thanks Mike, and cheers back at you.
Gerry - Saturday, January 01 2022 @ 08:11 AM EST (#410227) #
Happy New Year everyone. My hope for 2022 is that we get spring training baseball in March.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, January 01 2022 @ 11:51 AM EST (#410228) #
I'm wishing everybody all the best in 2022. With the holiday period over, will we finally see some sabre rattling between the owners and player's union, or at least expressions of disappointment over the other side's outrageous demands?
Mike Green - Thursday, January 06 2022 @ 11:10 AM EST (#410273) #
2022 ZiPS projections for the Blue Jays are up on Fangraphs. 
Mike Green - Thursday, January 06 2022 @ 11:16 AM EST (#410274) #
Interestingly, Gabriel Moreno has an essentially identical offensive projection to Kirk and Jansen but a better defensive projection.  I have no idea how much stock to put in that, defence for catchers being even harder to measure than for other positions. 
Mike Green - Thursday, January 06 2022 @ 11:19 AM EST (#410275) #
And in the fun department, Otto Lopez' comp is Ryne Sandberg.  We'll wait to see if the BB team agrees!
Mike Green - Thursday, January 06 2022 @ 11:26 AM EST (#410276) #
Last ZiPS comment for the morning.  I agree with Dan completely about the Jay pitching situation both in his comments and the ZiPS projections.   Subjectively, I would take the over on Manoah's 120 IP but that's about it for my differences. That must be some kind of a record for me and a projection system. 
Chuck - Thursday, January 06 2022 @ 10:11 PM EST (#410291) #
Otto Lopez' comp is Ryne Sandberg.

Dan addresses that in the comments section. Lopez compares to the early-career non-superstar version of Sandberg.

Mike Green - Friday, January 07 2022 @ 07:10 AM EST (#410294) #
I saw, Chuck, and I remembered Sandberg's modest offensive beginnings. The real issue with the age comp is defensive.
Chuck - Friday, January 07 2022 @ 07:22 AM EST (#410295) #
The real issue with the age comp is defensive.

I think Dan mentioned that the comps are for offense only.

Mike Green - Friday, January 07 2022 @ 09:58 AM EST (#410300) #
In this case, it goes to not only quality of defence but position. Sandberg was an established good defensive major league infielder at age 22 and would win a Gold Glove at age 23.  Lopez spent almost equal amounts of time in the minor leagues in 2021 (at age 22) in the infield and in the outfield. Players in this position are more likely end up spending more time in the outfield in the major leagues, although a significant number become multi-position utility players.

The comps are for amusement only, in my view, particularly for minor leaguers. Sandberg generated 3.7 WAR at age 23 despite his humble offensive line.  He had been mostly a shortstop in the minor leagues and had not played in the outfield at all. 
Mike Green - Friday, January 07 2022 @ 06:56 PM EST (#410309) #
The January 7 birthday club is fun:

Alvin Dark 6
Ozzie Albies 4
Alfonso Soriano 7
Johnny Mize 3
Edwin Encarnacion 0
Jim Lefebvre 5
Tony Conigliaro 9
Topper Rigney * 8
Tucker Barnhart 2

Bench- Dick Schofield, Al Todd, Frank Menenchino, Fred Whitfield

Rotation- Jon Lester, Jhoulys Chacin, Ross Grimsley, Dad Clarke and Heine Berger
Bullpen- Francisco Rodriguez, Jeff Montgomery, Eric Gagne, Dixie Howell, Jim Hannan, Ray Semporoch

Topper Rigney always played shortstop, but was one of the fastest players in the game.  There was no centerfielder, and really Soriano and Conigliaro are the only players with any significant time in the outfield born on this day, so I would take some liberties and just stick Rigney out there and take my chances.  The offence is very deep with a nice 1-2 punch in the middle.  The rotation is so-so, but the bullpen has 3 top-notch arms at the top.  Good club. 
Mike Green - Sunday, January 09 2022 @ 04:56 PM EST (#410321) #
Happy birthday, Alek Manoah!  The WAR leader for the January 9 club is Stan Javier with 25, and Manoah has a decent chance to top that. 
Mike Green - Monday, January 10 2022 @ 03:45 PM EST (#410337) #
One of today's birthday players was Chick Stahl, who I did not know of until today.  He was a fine turn-of-the-previous century centerfielder with a good balance of offensive skills- finished 3 times in the top 10 in slugging in the league and twice in the top 10 in OBP.  He ran well but never was among the league leaders in stolen bases.  But what most captured my attention about him was his demise.  His last game was October 6, 1906 and he died on March 28, 1907 at age 34.  I figured that it was a story like Walt Bond's of some deadly cancer or of an infectious disease.  It wasn't, but rather a suicide.  And the story is filled with conjecture and tabloid-style headlines.

Stahl had an OPS+ of 122 and 5700 PAs through age 33, so I ran a Stathead search to find modern comparables (with 115<OPS+<129 and more than 4000 PAs through age 33).  I got 28 names, running in HRs from Carlos Beltran down to Roy Thomas.  Two names in the middle captured my attention- Andy Van Slyke and Amos Otis- who seem to fit the bill.  Stahl seems to have been just a little better than each of them with the bat.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 11 2022 @ 10:45 AM EST (#410349) #
The ZiPS projections for Tampa are out.  There are only 3 good position players- Franco, Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows- but a large number of average ones.  And the pitching is just very, very deep.  The Rays' slogan ought to be "our replacements deliver more than replacement value". 

Speaking of which, Cal Stevenson's projection is actually pretty decent- a 1 WAR player in 416 PAs with a comp of Rick Manning.  It's a smidge better than Josh Lowe's and actually not too far from Kevin Kiermaier's.  It wouldn't totally shock me if he made the Rays club out of spring training.
John Northey - Tuesday, January 11 2022 @ 09:04 PM EST (#410357) #
Tampa Bay is interesting. Franco & Lowe are stars, but the other positions are 1.4-3.2 WAR in range (IE: meh). The rotation options range from 0.5 to 2.6. The Jays have 4+'s in Bichette & Vlad, a 3.9 in Springer, then 1's for LF/RF/DH, 2.5 for Catcher, and 0.7 at 3B (Espinal/Smith). Rotation has 4 guys over 3 plus 2 sub 1's in Pearson & Stripling. So the Rays have TONS of depth, the Jays have the stars with a mess at 3B and a lack of ZIPS faith in Hernandez & Gurriel (and Grichuk, but I think we all agree on a lack of faith there). If the Jays can improve at 3B (and I expect them to) then things change drastically. Chapman projected at 4.8, Ramirez at 6.0, Bryant 3.1, Story 3.6. Any of them would add 2+ wins to the Jays in 2022 according to ZIPS.

The problem for the Rays is they don't have that obvious easy to improve the team position. It is a plus to not have holes, but it also makes improvement hard. I remember the Jays of the late 80's having that issue. Solid everywhere but where to improve to get over the hump (2B was obvious to me, but the media didn't see it). Then Gillick gave in and did the big trades to shuffle where the strengths were and boom 2 WS wins. The Rays can't do that (the Jays those years had the biggest payroll in baseball at just over $50 mil which the Rays barely pass now 30 years later). That is a big advantage the Jays have right now. They could trade for Chapman or Ramirez and feel like they could sign that guy for whatever it took if desired.

For a payroll comparison: 1962: Yankees payroll $800k roughly (Maris, Mantle, Berra, etc.), 1992: Jays payroll $43.6 mil, 2021: Rays payroll $76.8 mil (40 man roster only). So 62-92 saw a jump of 54x in payroll (free agency will do that), but 92 to 21 saw a 1.8 times jump for top AL vs Rays. Regular inflation would've upped it to $86.4 mil. OF course, in 1992 the bottom was Cleveland at $18.2 mil ($36.1 in todays dollars). The '62 Yankees payroll would be $7.36 mil in todays dollars. Interesting to look back.
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