Rogers has already invested millions of dollars into the Toronto Blue Jays payroll with all the recent changes to the Jays roster; what’s a few million more to help ensure you do everything possible to protect their safety?
Synthetic turf or “Astro turf” is much tougher on a players’ legs then good old natural grass. The risk of leg injury increases on a synthetic turf. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos admitted in July that the synthetic surface at the Rogers Centre has caused free agents to shy away from coming to Toronto.
The Jays’ home field Rogers Centre is only one of two major league stadiums that uses a synthetic turf. Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field is the second.
Converting the Rogers Centre to a grass turf is not quite as easy as one might initially imagine. Firstly, it isn’t just trowing down a big pile of dirt and plant some seed, ‘et voila’! There needs to be a drainage and watering system installed and the grass must be cared for appropriately.
The Rogers Centre is currently utilized for a wide variety of activities. Converting the field to grass would prevent the stadium from hosting certain events; including Toronto Argonauts games.
Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston addressed the topic in February and said:
We have looked at grass over the past two or three years to find out whether we could put grass in here and play on it. The answer is yes. It would make it a baseball-only stadium. But, this is a multi-purpose stadium. It’s not only used for baseball. It’s used for the Argos, it’s used the NFL, rock shows, conventions and car shows before. So we have to take that into context but it can clearly get done.”
Bob McCowan also said on Prime Time Sports Tuesday:
This is being discussed. I don’t know what level it’s at. I have been told — I have heard that it may have already been decided that two years from now they are going to put grass in the Rogers Centre. No one has confirmed that to me, but that’s what’s out there.”
That the Toronto Argonauts have been informed to look for an alternative place to play, because the plan is to put natural grass in there, and the Blue Jays have no intention to muck up their grass. So, whether it’s 100 per cent or 50 per cent — I think it’s one of those two — it’s at least being seriously discussed, and the target is probably the 2015 season. But it could be 2014.”