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What a dome idea
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What a dome idea
It may not be as popular as the songs churned out by the boy bands of the new millennium, but "Take me out to the ball game" has always been a popular summer tune.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Toronto, the familiar cry is getting as much support as N'SYNC would at a KISS concert.
With the beloved Maple Leafs long gone from the Stanley Cup chase, the Toronto Blue Jays should be front and centre in the Toronto sports spotlight.
Yet, despite boasting a talented young line-up, with one of the brightest stars baseball has to offer in Carlos Delgado, the Jays continue to play in front of barren seats. What is the problem?
Baseball may be the American pastime, but no matter what country it's played in, it should conjure up certain images. Green grass, the crack of the bat and those lovely ballpark franks.
Trouble is, in Toronto, the baseball experience consists of a playing surface that amounts to an oversized green welcome mat, a hollow echo whenever Delgado swings his bat and the same bad food at high prices I could get from a McDonald's closer to my house.
When the Skydome was built in 1989, it was intended to be a multi-purpose facility, able to house everything from Elton John concerts to dirt bike races. It was not built with baseball in mind. Skydome was the last of its kind; a big, boring, stale dome with all novelty lost after just one witnessing of its roof closing or opening. The trend in building baseball stadiums quickly changed.
The Baltimore Orioles moved into Camden Yards. A throw back stadium with classic green seats, a beautifully manicured grass outfield and a stoic warehouse brick wall beyond right field to taunt the left handed slugger.
Following in the O's footsteps, the Cleveland Indians created Jacob's Field. Another gorgeous open air stadium that looks as though it could just as easily play host to Babe Ruth instead of Roberto Alomar.
Before the Jacob's Field era in Cleveland, baseball was struggling. Their former home, Memorial Stadium, was falling apart. The chipped paint on the seats was all too evident, since no one was around to fill them up. To top it all off, the only winning the Indians did was on the big screen in Major League. Now, the Cleveland franchise is one of the best in baseball.
Classic stadiums have now become the norm with cities like Detroit, Seattle and Arlington, Texas, all continuing the trend.
The Blue Jays have the foundation for a winning team, but with the economically challenged Canadian dollar, it will be tough for the Jays to compete with the big boys.
The Jays play exciting .500 baseball and if they had more intimate surroundings in which to play, maybe they would hear the crowd sing that old tune a little louder.