The Blue Jays' owners, Rogers Communications Inc., announced yesterday that Skydome will be renamed "Rogers Centre." This move had been rumored, and is part of the franchise's long-term program to bring back the excitement of the early 1990s. New high-tech scoreboard, new fake turf, etc. See mlb.com. If you watch the video of the news conference on that page, you'll hear the rationale for FieldTurf: It allows for greater use of the stadium for non-baseball events than grass does. (The Turf page has been updated to reflect this change.) To me it seems odd that the franchise puts accommodating non-baseball tenants ahead of its own team's interests, but they've got to pay for that white colossus somehow. "Privatizing" sports stadiums is a reversal of the trends of the last half century, SBC Park in San Francisco being one of the rare recent exceptions to the rule. I'm not disputing the owners' right to put their own name on the building, but the increasing frequency of stadium name changes is starting to get on my nerves. "Skydome" is such an established name, I'm a little hesitant to instantly adopt the new name, as I did with Dolphins Stadium. We'll see... It will be interesting to see how many former Expos fans in Montreal will adopt the Blue Jays as their home team, as many Washington-area fans did with the Orioles in the 1970s after the Senators left town. One problem: Montreal is over 300 miles away from Toronto. I hope the Nationals franchise makes an effort to welcome Montrealers to games in Washington, and keeps alive the history of that energetic but often-frustrated Expos team.
More on Sammy
According to the Washington Post, the Nationals came very close to signing Slammin' Sammy before the Orioles got him to come on board. Wouldn't that have been interesting? The Ivychat blog has some useful insight on the Sosa debacle, with lots of dollar amounts and this adieu: "Thanks for 12 great years Sammy. Now, get lost." No love lost among the Northside folks, it seems. And David Pinto at Baseball Musings says: "The Orioles got one sweet deal."