I realize that Rogers runs the Blue Jays as if it were just an advertising opportunity for its cellphones. I realize the Dome is not a baseball-specific stadium and we’re unlikely to ever see the standards of real grass and actual warning tracks be part of the field. It sucks, but I’ve come to terms with those things.
Ads, ads everywhere, overpriced beer and a generally horrible atmosphere for baseball are the price to be paid for attending a baseball game in Toronto. Fine. There is one thing I’d like to see fixed though: The outfield walls.
The first issue with the walls is that, at 10 feet high, they’re too tall. GROF did a fine job on that topic a while back though, so instead of rehashing what’s already been said, I’ll just direct you to the post.
The issue I want to tackle is a very simple one: Those damn video boards that are part of the outfield walls.
Look, I’m fine with being bombarded with advertising at the Dome. I’m used to it. No problem. But when the advertising starts affecting the actual gameplay, well, I’m not so cool with that.
How do the videoboards affect the game? I’m glad you asked (even if you didn’t).
You may recall that during Saturday afternoon’s game, Fred Lewis got thrown out trying to turn a double into a triple. Did FdotLew overestimate his own speed? Was the throw an on-target missile that even Rickey Henderson could not have beat?
Why did Lewis get thrown out?
Thankfully I had my portable radio with me at the game (yes, I’m that guy) so I was fortunate enough to hear third-base coach Brian Butterfield explain to Mike Wilner why Lewis was thrown out on that play. Here, from Wilner’s blog, is the explanation:
Brian Butterfield told me that Lewis said he couldn’t really see the ball because of the videoboards on the wall in the gaps, and that that’s a pretty common thing. Lewis didn’t know a throw was already coming. The answer should be that if you’re not 100% sure you’ll make it into third base standing – and knowing exactly where the ball is as you hit second is a pretty important variable – you have to stay at second.
It’s the damn video boards! Wilner’s right, you should stick at second if you don’t know where the ball is, but that’s only addressing the symptom. The real problem is the fact that those video boards are out there to begin with.
Rogers, please. Make one concession to baseball fans. Fix the outfield walls. Lower the height to eight feet and get rid of the damn video boards.