Watching a big league ball game in person should be about having the most incredible baseball viewing experience. In order for that to happen, it’s obviously important to field a competitive and exciting team. But just as important, and something the Blue Jays seem to be overlooking these days is to provide a great ball park. Sadly, Skydome is beginning to look its age. All that blue, especially the seats is looking awfully faded. The astroturf is what it is. And an increasing number of issues are happening every year with the roof.
I know everyone who isn’t a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays enjoys poking fun at Tropicana Field. And for good reason, the place is a dump and doesn’t come close to being worthy of housing a big league team. The sad thing is, Skydome isn’t looking all that much better than the Trop these days. A few years from now people may start joking about Skydome much like they do that house of horrors down in Florida.
Rogers seems to think all they need do is build a winning ball club and that should suffice to bring back the crowds. They may be right…that’s quite possibly all it takes for attendance to get back to what it was in 2016 (3,392,099). The thing is, Blue Jay fans, just like any other fan base, deserve a venue worthy of big league baseball. Don’t get cheap on us Rogers. Building a winner is one thing, but it’s still important to have a facility that’s a treat to visit.
When it comes to the Blue Jays team payroll next season, they’ve already made it clear it’ll be lowered drastically. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…what’s the point of going out and spending $40-$50 million on free agents when you’re in a rebuilding year? Toronto spent nearly $75-million this season to cover the salaries of Josh Donaldson, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Jaime Garcia, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson, Aaron Loup, Seunghwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, and John Axford. With none of those players returning next year, with maybe the odd exception (i.e. J.A. Happ), that’s a lot of money freed-up to spend on other things. Some of that money will go towards signing a few free agents this off-season…including a couple of relievers and a decent starting pitcher. But a good portion of it should be used to improve Skydome.
Just like the Blue Jays are loading up their farm system in an effort to contend 2-3 years (hopefully two) down the road, they should also be using that time to upgrade their ball park so that it’s looking a whole lot better the next time the Blue Jays are a winner.