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Toronto should welcome saying goodbye to the "concrete convertible"

November 28, 2020, 11:48 AM ET [284 Comments]
Mike Augello
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Whenever a sports franchise moves from an old venue to a new stadium, the normal reaction is usually recrimination and regret because of the historical events that occurred over the years, but Friday’s announcement that Toronto Blue Jays ownership wants to demolish the Rogers Centre and build a new privately-funded downtown Toronto stadium was greeted with a generally positive response.

In spite of instances like Joe Carter’s Series winning homer off Mitch Williams 1993 or the Jose Bautista bat-flip in 2015, the formerly named Skydome was a exciting atmosphere when it was packed with 50,000 screaming fans, but in recent years with half-filled stands it lacked intimacy and felt like a cold “concrete convertible”.

Although an improvement from Exhibition Stadium (especially if you were only able to get seats way down the right field line), the Dome did not provide great sightlines in the upper decks for baseball and with the roof closed was a terrible venue for concerts.

There are numerous examples where a new and supposedly improved venue has not been accepted with the same good feeling as the first home of a franchise.

There are many Leafs fans who still yearn for the atmosphere of Maple Leaf Gardens over the ACC/Scotiabank Arena. Buffalonians who saw Sabres games or concerts at the old Aud or New Yorkers who went to “the House that Ruth built” will tell you that it was a much more exciting and emotional experience than events at the Key Bank Center or the antiseptic new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

In Toronto, if Rogers is able to build a more optically attractive 40,000-seat stadium along the waterfront where homerun balls plop into Lake Ontario like they do in San Francisco or a location that provides a view of the Toronto cityscape as PNC Park does in Pittsburgh, it is very likely that Blue Jays will look upon a new park with excitement.


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