Congrats Argos, now get out

The Argonauts are arguably North America’s oldest professional sports franchise. I think they argue for the title because the teams that are older than them have changed their names in their history. Thus, the Argos have self-proclaimed the title for their franchise.

In any case, a big Congratulations to them as they hold a Victory Parade today for winning the Grey Cup.

Congrats. Now get out. Get out of the Rogers Centre please so we can install some REAL GRASS.

In my wildest dreams this will be the announcement this week. And although I think it’s really just a slim possibility, let’s talk about the idea that Snoop himself will want to visit our lush, grassy field next year.

Rogers Centre is one of the last two MLB facilities with artificial turf, the other being the non-retractable Tropicana Field. The pros for turf, and I guess there are some, are it’s easy to maintain. And um, it’s always green. And of course, the stadium can be used for many purposes easily including baseball, football, the occasional soccer game (although Beckhmam himself dismissed the surface), and concerts.

The cons are that it’s tough on players joints, adding to the many reasons that players don’t want to come here — others being taxes and the pitbull ban apparently, and well, it’s baseball dammit. It should be played on real grass. I think there were other reasons for his departure, but speculation at the time was that Scott Rolen asked to be traded to get off the career-shortening surface.

Earlier this year, Paul Beeston said that the Jays were looking into converting the playing surface to real grass but he warned that it was just a slim possibility and they were really in the preliminary stage of ‘looking’. At the time, everyone thought Beeston was just blowing his usual puffery cigar smoke. But lately he has made good on a few things that he talked about, hasn’t he… ?

So I wonder if they’re ready to make the announcement this week. Crazy, I know.

Here’s why. And there are two big reasons. First of all, the Argos lease is up. At least I can’t find anything that says otherwise. The Argos had an agreement through 2012 to play in Rogers Centre. And I’ve looked for any press stories/releases to say they’ve extended it. But I can’t find any. And this has been one of the main barriers in doing it. Installing real grass would require that the rotating stands (making it a multi-use facility) be put into fixed position. This would make baseball the only configuration at least until October (let’s say November for optimists sake). Extending the Argos agreement would put off the grass conversion. But no extension yet it seems. Interesting. Where the Argos would play, I don’t know. But I’ll leave that for an Argos fanpage to discuss.

The other reason to do it now is the agreement with ‘our’ other football team. The Bills. They have an agreement with Rogers to play one preseason and one home game here every year. Currently the deal is through this year. And the NFL has approved the agreement to extend through 2017, but as of right now, I can’t find anything to say that Rogers and the Bills have finalized details to make the extension from 2012 onwards official. Also interesting.

The Blue Jays, if you haven’t heard, just made a little trade and signed some players for next year. They’ve committed at least $165 million over the next few years on these players alone. At least one of these players, Jose Reyes, has made it known that he’s not a fan of artificial turf. I mean really, who is? To make the Jays not only more resilient over the next few years for current players but also more attractive to any new players they might want to go after, we need some kentucky bluegrass.

Rogers owns the Rogers Centre, in case you didn’t know. They paid something like $25 million for it when they stole it, I mean ‘bought’ it from the taxpayers, and they can do whatever they want with the place. The Jays are their main tenant with at least 81 dates each year. Concerts could still happen once construction is complete. Assuming there’s enough time to do this before March, football is the main long-term problem here…

Now’s the ideal time. Is there enough time? Glancing at the Rogers Centre calendar of events doesn’t exactly support my argument. Disney on Ice is coming for a run during the holidays and there are some concerts scheduled. How those get juggled/accommodated, I have no idea. Mickey falling into a big hole wouldn’t be good for PR. Doing this would apparently require digging ten feet down into the concrete foundation under the turf for drainage. How long does that take? Well, in this city everything takes a long time when it comes to construction.

As I said, it’s a wild pipe dream. And the chances of it really happening are slim.

But if they were going to consider doing it, this offseason has the best window of opportunity to actually get it done. Strange things are happening with our Blue Jays. You never know.

Go Argos, Go. No really. Get out.

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