Just because the Toronto Argonauts are moving out of the Rogers Centre two years ahead of the expiration of their lease does not mean the Blue Jays will have grass any sooner, team officials reiterated on Wednesday.
The Argos announced a new ownership deal Wednesday, with Bell and Larry Tanenbaum taking over the CFL team from David Braley. As part of the deal, the Argos will move into BMO Field next season. Their lease at the Rogers Centre was to expire following the 2017 season and was not going to be renewed as the Jays are scheduled to install a natural grass field for the start of the 2018 season.
Wednesday’s news doesn’t change those plans.
“I don’t think it changes really anything from our perspective,” said Stephen Brooks, the Blue Jays senior vice-president of business operations. “We’re continuing down the path of investigation as we’ve been doing.”
The Jays are paying scientists at the University of Guelph $600,000 for a year-long research project into the type of grass best suited to the Rogers Centre’s unique conditions and the impact that grass will have on the building itself, in terms of how the stadium will accommodate increased humidity, and ensuring proper water drainage and lighting to maintain a natural grass field.
“The Argos were a factor in the sense that obviously real grass could not be accommodated playing both baseball and football,” Brooks said. “But their departure at this stage has no effect on the timeline that has been long established.
“It’s just not logistically possible” to accelerate the timeline at this point, he added.