The Toronto Blue Jays stadium plan is still, as one columnist called it, “a trial balloon wrapped in a beta test,” with few real details beyond that it would require the demolition of SkyDome, cost “multibillion” dollars, and be “privately funded.” But that hasn’t stopped Toronto city councillor Joe Cressy from endorsing the plan sight unseen:
“The clear understanding from the earliest conversations was that [public funding] was not a consideration here,” Mr. Cressy said. “I don’t see it as an inherently politically contentious subject.”
The problem, of course, is that “no public stadium funding” is a claim that’s gone along with everything from a $350 million gift of public land to the most expensive baseball stadium subsidy of all time. And also that there can be reasons for a development deal to be contentious even if it doesn’t require public money. (Is what the Jays owners want really the best use of the stadium site?) It’s possible Cressy knows more than he’s letting on — the Jays stadium talks have apparently been going on in secret for years — but it’s also possible he’s just trying to spin the story as pay no attention to the financial details behind the curtain, in which case we definitely should be paying more attention to the financial details.
Meanwhile, even the hint of a new Blue Jays stadium has some people fantasizing about how great it would be if Toronto’s future ballpark could be modeled after another stadium that hasn’t actually been built yet:
Something like Nippon Ham Fighters future retractable roofed ballpark would fit nicely placed where Rogers Centre is now. #BlieJays
If you missed it, Blue Jays are looking to demolish Rogers Centre and build new stadium at same location.
— MLB Cathedrals ⚾️ (@MLBcathedrals) November 27, 2020
That there is a Photoshop, all right! It also requires putting the new stadium on the site of the old stadium, which would defeat the purpose of moving it to the south to make way for new residential and office towers, but would be necessary to leave room for the retractable roof to retract, as can be seen in this Hokkaido rendering:
That’s an important question, though: Would a new Jays stadium have a roof? If so, it would be hard to have natural grass there, unless the roof fully retracts as in the above image, in which case there’s not much room on the site for a stadium plus additional buildings. (There’s a major highway not far south of the current stadium, which is the only direction it could expand in.) If not, it’s gonna be cold in April, which is the whole reason SkyDome was built as a dome. This could get contentious!