Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Toronto Blue Jays Stadium Review

Indoor baseball in front of literally hundreds of Canadians!

C and I visited Toronto (SNOOOOOOZE) this weekend and one of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Rogers Centre (Canadian spelling!) - not because it was great, just because it was baseball. Not close to my top five of favorite baseball arenas...of which I've now been to a baker's dozen.

Outside: The Rogers Centre - and most of downtown Toronto - looks like it was just jammed in an open city block. Something about the city just felt like it lacked urban planning and buildings were just put wherever there was some space with no care for how they looked or fit. It's a big white dome RIGHT next to the highway, pretty boring. The box office was very attractive though with all the windows connected, avoiding the window/concrete divider/repeat feel that most box offices have.

Inside: The whole time we're walking outside the dome, we know the roof isn't going to be open, we know we're walking inside, yet, when we walked in, it still feels weird. Something in me told me to expect an ice rink or basketball court when we got in, felt the warm temperature, smelled the indoor arena air. I told my brain we're in a baseball stadium, but when we walked to the top of the section behind home plate (pictured above), it was still shocking to see a baseball field. I want to say that indoor baseball is unAmerican, but of course it is, we were in Canada. It just feels dirty watching a baseball game inside, watching a pop fly reach its apex with a backdrop of scaffolding and catwalks is depressing.

Food: I had a foot long home run dog with beans, bacon, cheese and something else on it while C had a plain one. Pretty good, though the temperature left something to be desired. The garlic fries were not up to speed with their Yankee Stadium counterparts, but still pretty tasty. All in all, a pretty good range of items with a few Canadian staples like poutine.

Beer: Apparently it's not just at the ballpark, but in most of Toronto, where Coors Light, Bud Light, Bud, etc. are considered Domestic, while Molson and LaBatt are premium! What the what? Confusing, but fairly priced for a ballpark in a 'big' city/

Seats and Atmosphere: C came through with some great seats (front row in left center) for a decent price ($30) on the day of the event. This should have been a harbinger of the crowd at the game. Let me correct myself. It was pretty lean in there and only a crowd in the old definition of the word where two's a couple and three's a crowd. Pretty pathetic for a team (at the time) tied for 1st place in the best division in baseball on a Friday night with their ace on the mound. The fans behind us were drunk and annoying, but you'll have that anywhere. The dozens in attendance go nuts when Canadian Brett Lawrie bats, which was pretty fun to see. The ushers were normal looking girls in their 20s, which was a nice surprise to the normal surly or senile 80-year-old men working that job at most parks.

Overall: Not a place I'd have any interest in going back to, unless the roof was open and the Yankees were in town.

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