Earlier this week Toronto Star Columnist Damien Cox tweeted that the Toronto Argos were close to signing a 5 year lease with the Rogers Centre. Well today Andrew Stoeten at Drunk Jays pretty much confirmed what Cox tweeted earlier in the week. Which means that any ideas of putting grass in the Rogers Centre that was floated by Paul Beeston last winter is now once again on hold for another 5 years.
As much as Jays fans and perhaps Blue Jays management want grass put in the Dome, it is quite possible that Rogers itself doesn’t want to paint themselves into a corner by putting in grass and then losing out on events when the Blue Jays are not occupying the Dome during the baseball season. Let’s also not forget that the Buffalo Bills play one game a year at the Dome too and Rogers would love to be the one’s to bring an NFL team to Canada, as unrealistic as that seems, and by playing nice with the Argos by not kicking them out of the Dome it looks good on them.
But at the same time as the Argos are about to re-up the lease, there are rumors abound that Argos owner David Braley is about to put the team on the market and one of the possible buyers could be Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Group. MLSE has been rumored to be kicking the tires and rumors are that they could move the Argos out to BMO Field. Moving to BMO would have problems of their own the stadium would have to be expanded and that has problems of its own and the seating capacity is roughly 21,000 which may not be big enough for the Argos.
This isn’t the first time that the Argos and possible landing spots have come up, I believe in the long-term the Argos would love to get out of the Dome and have their own Stadium, There was talk not all that long ago about moving up near York University but that fell apart. Varsity Stadium was brought up at one time but it’s not big enough and would require upgrades that there isn’t room for. Any other area that they look at to put a Stadium in would probably have to have access to public transit so that limits areas that the Argos can even look at.
Having said all that however, It’s just a rumor and for now the Jays will be playing on turf while the Argos sign on for another 5 years. Argos CEO Chris Rudge who was on TSN Radio didn’t say exactly what was in the lease but did say that natural grass probably wouldn’t work while the Argos are there. So, yep, looks like another 5 years at least before natural grass is a thing at the Rogers Centre.
Or in Blue Jays terms Jose Reyes will be in the final year of his contract before grass is a possibility. Maybe by then makers of field turf will have come up with a different set up and make this field turf more conducive to playing baseball on. We can hope, right?