Losing the game

The Toronto Blue Jays are off to what I would call an okay start with a 6-6 record. They seem to have a goodly number of position players although pitching may be a problem. But this season I won’t be at the renovated Rogers Centre anywhere near as often as in the past. Since day one in 1977 I’ve been part of a group that had a pair of seats. Actually, two groups, one following the other.
The most recent group had excellent sightlines just five rows behind the Jays dugout. Usually, I’d chip in for seven games spread throughout the season. But the Jays organization decided to upgrade the seats behind home plate and turn them into a high-rent district. The price for “our” pair went from $13,000 to $28,000. To make matters worse, you had to make a two-year or four-year commitment. And they wouldn’t even tell you where the seats would be located. They kept touting the slightly wider width and the fact that it would have a cupholder. At that price you couldn’t afford to buy a drink to put in the cupholder.
I fully agreed with the decision not to renew. In fact, I’d lost interest at the end of last season. After squeaking into a wild card spot in the playoffs, the Jays demeaned themselves by scoring only one desultory run in the two playoff games. I thought my spirits would rise again as spring came but the jump in pricing put an end to that.
I’ve watched parts of the early home games on television and tried to figure out exactly who these people behind the plate are in the seats with cupholders. At first you might think they all work at TD Bank there are so many logos repeated on the brick wall behind them. Whoever they are, they can’t be real fans. By the late innings, even in an exciting game with the Jays doing well, about half the fifty seats in that section are empty, the tenants long gone.
So, for me, it would seem that the $500 million renovation at Rogers Centre was all about attracting a wider audience that doesn’t really care about baseball. It’s mostly guys with hats on backwards swilling beer beside babes who wouldn’t know that a double is not just a drink. Only in Toronto would aficionados of the game become so forgotten. Tradition has been traded for traffic.

3 Responses

  1. Bill Armstrong says:

    I have been a ball fan all my life and over the years attended many Jays games to root them on. Haven’t been for some time now. Getting there a pain, ticket prices have soared, not to mention the concession’s food and beer prices. Content to watch on t.v. Just wish a new front office was formed. The 2 ex Cleveland clowns in charge are pathetic. Cheers, Bill

  2. Dave says:

    Spot-on once again Rod; thank you! Is it just me or do others have an impression that the wider we cast a glance around our country, more and more efforts are being made the end result of which appear driven by greed. Testosterone is making life increasingly uncomfortable; your story highlights one that is glaringly obvious. (BTW, your musings call to mind the spirit of I. F. Stone’s Weekly – keep up the great work.)

  3. Frank Grossman says:

    Thanks, Rod, for your take on what’s become of major league baseball in here in Toronto. Such a shame, specially for all who can still recall their first leather glove (often a hand-me-down from an older brother) and falling in love with the game as a kid. Time to take Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times” down from the shelf once again for a remedial lesson on what baseball once was a century ago and to rekindle the romance. Cheers..

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