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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

@Matttomic Fixes The Rogers Centre

Over these last two years, down at 1 Blue Jays Way, I’m pretty sure there have been some (relatively) big dollars thrown around on consulting fees and data collection, with the aim being to shape the coming renovations at Rogers Centre. With the stated aim being to modernize the facility and extend its life for another 30 years (or at least until the club’s inevitable return to Exhibition Place in a newly built baseball-only facility sometime, y’know, before then), “multi-million dollar renovations” doesn’t even come close.

The retrofit of the roof alone — which was done quietly over the course of the last couple winters, and has seemingly had no bearing whatsoever on how well the roof operates or how frequently fans get to enjoy not being trapped in the muggy awfulness — has already cost $10 million. And plenty more changes are coming beyond that. Many of them, like the roof thing, won’t be merely cosmetic. But it’s the cosmetic ones that really interest us! And to that end, I think the Jays maybe could have saved themselves a bunch of money and hired the internet’s very own @matttomic!

You may know Matt from his outstanding Sandwich Alignment Chart, or from having created the peerless @JAHappster, or his various other online delights. But whether you’re familiar or not, you probably now need to get familiar, as he’s gone ahead and done Mark Shapiro’s job for him, presenting his vision for a revamped Rogers Centre in a series of tweets on Thursday.

To wit!

I had a good discussion on Twitter the other night about ideas for statues at the stadium that would be more appropriate than the Pyongyang-esque monument to Uncle Ted, and this sure as hell was one of them. Personally, I maybe like the idea of making José even bigger, and having the bat on the ground nearby, big enough for fans to sit on or lean against or something — an idea at least a couple others suggested. Maybe that’s too much bronze, and maybe by the time the bat hit the ground his pose wasn’t quite so iconic and the whole thing doesn’t work, but you get the idea. Immortalize that shit! (Yes, yes, Joe Carter and Robbie Alomar, too. And… well… a bunch of other moments (which I’ll talk about in more detail in an upcoming piece).)

Structurally, I’m not entirely sure how this would work, but fortunately for all of us that kind of stuff isn’t my job. Flatten those outer-most left field sections in the 500s and get this shit installed already! Provided, of course, that there are plenty of ciders also available here (because, be honest, beer kinda sucks — and having had, like, 10,000 of them in my life, I feel qualified to say so). I mean, the damn park is basically just a glorified (and horrifically expensive) bar at this point anyway. Might as well go all-in.

That there isn’t yet any kind of museum to the history of the club at the ballpark is legit bizarre. Get on it.

OMG, can it also provide ventilation????

Well, yes. Obviously.

I mean, I don’t think it’s actually ever going to happen — and I especially don’t think the previous club president should have ever teased that it might just to distract from criticism after a lacklustre offseason *COUGH* — but damn it, let’s not be Democrats about this stuff, let’s actually dream big!

I’m sure there are another six or twelve or fourteen hundred things Matt could propose, but that’s pretty good starting point! So [hacky end of a blog post alert] what would you do to brighten up the Rogers Centre experience? Have your say in the comments! [Or don’t! See if I care!]

  • wb

    My number one thing would be the food (‘tho the Bautista statue is awesome… maybe I need to re-think). Toronto has such great food, from all over the world: have that reflected in the food choices at the stadium, and not just on the 100-level concourse.

      • Jeff2sayshi

        Seriously. That is 100% the best part of the Rogers Centre. Any time I tell friends to just take their own food they stare at me as if I’m crazy, they couldn’t possibly let you do that, would they?

      • Teddy Ballgame

        Sure, but that doesn’t excuse the Rogers Centre from not offering anything decent. If you go on a ballpark tour you find good eats almost everywhere – except here. They should do better.

    • Matt E

      The Dome isn’t the food desert it’s made out to be, IMO! There are a few decent options sprinkled amidst the high school cafeteria fare.

      Go to the new FourOneSix Foods by section 512. They do hot dogs and fries topped with toppings based on Toronto areas. (Menu: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DBWqmrEXgAEOPtZ.jpg) I had an Entertainment District-style fries and it was everything you’d want from unhealthy sports-watching food.

      There’s also the brisket carvery by the big Budweiser bar behind home plate. You can’t go wrong with a big ol’ brisket sandwich. And, there’s whatever they call that cafeteria-style area near the Jays Shop in right field, where you can get a porchetta sandwich, or a jerk chicken poutine (they don’t skimp on the jerk spice.)

      That being said, would it be better if they let in Toronto restaurants with dedicated booths, so you could have a Banh Mi Boys or a Burger’s Priest or a Hogtown Smoke? Abso-fucking-lutely. But they do alright within the Aramark constraints they’re given, and maybe with their Aramark contract being up after next year, they’ll loosen up even more.

  • sonofgrambo

    Those giant windows along the south end of the park? Make those suckers retractable and let’s have us an open-air concourse. Also, make all the seats face the mound ffs.

  • Barry

    I like the idea of putting windows in the roof as pictured, but put me down as against moving the sun so that it shines directly from the north. I think that would be rather expensive and the money could be used to extend Donaldson instead.

  • AJaysFan

    1.I say clear roof panels would be a must.
    2.Love the open air concept all the time.
    3. Grass needs to be in there. Just do it.
    4. CRaft beer and better food options
    5. Concourses need to be opened up.

    When in doubt refer to safeco field!

    • Dexxter

      Went to Safeco to watch the Jays for the first time this year. It’s really nice.

      Basically everything being suggested here for the Dome Safeco already does.