An Open Letter To MLB & Toronto Blue Jays

So, there I was Friday night with Mrs. TSM and the two kids heading down to the Rogers Centre for the Toronto Blue Jays game, our first as a family all year. The tickets were a gift and were 1st row in the club level, 2nd deck right behind home plate. The kids, as you can expect were pretty psyched about going and we had promised them they could each get “something” from the game well before hand.

We headed down to the stadium early. With Mrs. TSM and the kids all born in Detroit, they wanted to be there for the first pitch and yes the national anthems. So there we were in the area of the dome around 605. Having scarfed down a burrito banditos burrito (me and the mrs. that is) and 1 Mikey’s hot dog (little TSM that is) we headed in for the game. The group decided to head for the store first so that the souvenir could be worn during the game. We got to the store a little before 615 and the place was jumping. Idiots like me ready to shell out a small fortune for t-shirts, balls and those insanely annoying plastic bracelets.

Anyways, the issue isn’t the $29 I paid for each of the t-shirts with the players names on the back. I was fully prepared to take one for the team, we didn’t have to eat at the dome and the parking and tickets were gratis. What I couldn’t believe is how piss poor the service was at the store. Keep in mind this is a Friday night. Now, I am not genius but I have to believe that games on Friday nights, like weekends tend to draw well as parents like us tend to bring our kids. Add to that the fact that it was one of the all you can eat promotional nights and well….

40 minutes later we finally left the store. There were 3 people working cash! It took 40 minutes to pay for 2 t-shirts. I looked around the store and asked for a manager, who told me that “they were short staffed”. Now, come on now. How many home games are there? How hard is it to find a few more of the $10/hr kids who were working???? I told the manager to take his boss to a store called the Apple Store to learn how a store should operate!

The same thing happened when we were at our seats (now rushed and exhausted) from the life long delay at the store and we ordered 4 pops. Not cups of soda, bottles. Again, it took 40 minutes to get our drinks. The response I got from the server was, you guessed it, we are short staffed.

Listen Blue Jays/ Rogers. If you want me to come back, like ever, this has to change. The tickets I was in cost $75 per seat. I’m sorry sir, were short staffed doesn’t cut it. You aren’t in business 365 days a year. You have a defined number of home games. There’s no excuse.

Now, the worst part. I’ve been yapping around these parts about how HD TV killed sports where here is where MLB (and all the other leagues for that matter) had better smarten up or the game will be over. I’m a sports fan. I know most of the rules in most of the games. However, shit happens in each and every game that needs explanation. There is something going on that even the most die hards of fans don’t get. We are pretty lucky in this town, we have good play by play folks for all our teams in radio and tv. The experience from my couch is fantastic. It doesn’t take 40 minutes to get a drink, the seat is comfortable and there isn’t an old fart sitting behind me asking my son to sit down when the Jays pitcher has 2 strikes on a Tigers batter. Here’s the killer; You have a beautiful tv set hanging in the arena, WHY THE HELL DON’T YOU USE IT?????????

All of the sudden in the game, Lyle Overbay is gone from first base. Vanished. At home, or in the car you would know that at first they thought he was traded then you learned he was sick. Later in the game whomever was playing centerfield for the Jays made what looked like an incredible catch in the outfield. On TV viewers at home got to see replays. Listeners on the radio would have heard all about it and then told why it wasn’t a catch. In the stadium, you get zero, zilch, nadda. We were there for the entire game, start to end. I think in total there were maybe 3 replays shown the entire night. Why do you build a huge jumbotron if all you are using it for is cheap inane promotions????

People always say that being at the game is different. You go to the games for the atmosphere. Fine, I can agree with that. I also know you don’t show controversial replays to rile up the fans… I’m sorry but that is crap. Total 100% crap. If someone pays good money to sit in the stadium or the arena and you have the benefit of a HD scoreboard- USE IT! MLB, Bud Selig or whoever else rules that replays can’t be shown is an idiot. If the decision is made locally by Rogers- then that person is an idiot. This isn’t rocket science. If the experience I get is better at home, I won’t go to the games. If I can’t follow what’s going on, and your not going to show me or tell me then I don’t care how good the atmosphere is I am staying home.

I recently heard someone from Tampa on the radio saying how the Devil Rays are mystified how, despite great promotions every night, cheap tickets and a winning team attendance sucks. The color person for the team I believe continued that the TV numbers were through the roof though. Well, I can tell you that there is no question in my mind that this part of the reason. Fine, Tampa isn’t the best stadium. I heard those guys who did 30 baseball stadiums in 30 days say it isn’t the worst either. Teams and leagues have to realize that the experience at home is really good these days. I can have my own tailgate, with my own buddy’s and I get great coverage of the games with play by play, the same commercial breaks- but no bathroom lines all in my house. If I can’t get at least that same experience at the game, why am I going to pay a lot more money to go??????

The movie industry gets it- why do you think all the new kids movies are in 3D? The only reason is that right now anyways, you can’t get that experience at home. Put any regular movie on my PS3 on my flat panel and it’s as good as any theater in the city. 3D I can’t replicate. I’d sooner pay $5-10 to rent a movie and have two or three of us watch it at home than the $45-50 it would cost to go out. But with 3D I can’t yet replicate that. So, the movie companies release everything in 3D so that I’m sucked into taking my kids. Sports leagues had better clue in or this phenomenon will continue. The umpire/official rule is ridiculous. People don’t need a replay to boo. The referees always get booed, always have always will. Show the folks in the stadiums what the folks at home see if you want to get them in to the building.

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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Daniel
Daniel
August 30, 2010 4:24 pm

I usually have a great time at Jays games, but I totally hear ya. They do need to work on their in game experience. I’ve actually had pretty good experiences in the store, but waiting that long for service is ridiculous.

I think the amount of fun you have often depends on what section you’re in. The 500s have a pretty relaxed fun atmosphere (you can’t see on TV, but there’s a lot of people sitting up there between 1st and 3rd usually). Plus tickets are only around $10.

I also usually have a great time in the 100 level outfield seats. It can be pretty hilarious when fans start ragging on the opposing team’s outfielders. The outfielders quite often acknowledge the fans too. Those tickets aren’t too bad either – around $30.

Robert G.
Robert G.
August 30, 2010 7:54 pm

I was treated to an “In The Action” VIP seat for Saturday’s game. For $125 face value more than the guy sitting one row behind you, you get leg room, a couple of hot dogs and the $10 Bud Lights delivered to your seat. And a longer walk to the terlit.

Woo hoo.

Sean
Sean
August 30, 2010 8:23 pm

How often do we hear the same issues, how often do the Blue Jays representatives say “ive heard that, we have issues we need to work on” yet nothing happens.

Its one of the main reasons you dont see me out at games anymore.

Ignorance is Bliss

Mike
Mike
August 30, 2010 8:52 pm

For what its worth, I was at the same game in the 100 outfields and didn’t have any problems with lineups at the concessions.

Daniel
Daniel
August 30, 2010 9:29 pm

While we’re talking baseball – wow. 11K in Tampa Bay tonight. In the middle of an exciting playoff race. Two years removed from a World Series. Crazy.

Louie
Louie
August 31, 2010 9:15 am

Major League Baseball actually stipulates that you cannot show replays of close plays on the Jumbotron.

Louie
Louie
August 31, 2010 9:16 am

Oops. I went and read the next paragraph. Feel free to delete the previous comment.

Matt
Matt
August 31, 2010 10:08 am

In-game entertainment has always been my problem with Blue Jays games, the inane hosts they had even as recently as last year really took away from the club.

I agree with you – more replays on the Jumbotron – how about a clips package from the previous innings pitching/defense/offensive highlights between innings?

I was at Friday’s game too, and I’m not sure any stadium would have announced why Lyle Overbay was removed from the game, but some sort of text update at some point in the game would have been nice.

JC
JC
August 31, 2010 11:30 am

Preaching to the converted. Won’t go to one game this year after getting fleeced at the concessions last year (not to mention a closed roof on a mid to high 60 degree outdoor temperature Victoria Day afternoon game).

FMT
FMT
August 31, 2010 3:55 pm

Yeah I don’t complain about concession prices either, it doesn’t matter where you go from amusement park to the cinema to any sports event. Price of food is up there, if you don’t want to pay it you can simply eat at home or eat outside the event.

I don’t know if I agree with replicating the home experience, I am more of a believer in making the experience different and then make people choose which experience they like more. Because if the live experience is too close to the home experience then why not just save the money and watch it from home. I find that in a why the problem with the Skydome, it’s too comfortable and if it’s promoted “Hey watch the event like you are at home” I would just then choose home, a live event should have a bit of different, maybe including not as comfortable as home. Give the people something different, not full of advertising of other Rogers products that you can at least switch the channel at home.

I do agree with you on the replay rules are absurd in baseball, like these umps are volunteers or something. Pay them a decent wage and let them have the spotlight on there good and poor calls. BTW have anybody noticed the utilizing of the “pitch box” is less and less these days on Sportsnet telecasts.

Daniel, the TB Rays attendance is interesting, and I wonder how it represents the Jays as well. Everybody says once you start winning they will come back. But TB shows unless the YankSox come to down you will probably be under 20 thousand on weekdays and maybe between 20-25 thousand on weekends and they are doing amazing. Their ballpark looks pretty awful but I think they are going to a new ballpark and we will see the change will do there. I am personally not convinced people will flock back to the Skydome even if the team is a contender.

Raptors Devotee
Raptors Devotee
August 31, 2010 5:11 pm

I was at Fenway to see the Jays thump the Red Sox 16-2, and had a great view sitting high above first base of the jumbotron in right field. I was so impressed with how they used it I took tons of pictures of it. From the starting line-ups, to the national anthems, ceremonial first pitch by Meredith Vieira, to honouring Johnny Pesky before the game, to honouring Luis Tiant, God Bless America, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, etc. it was all done in good taste with the entertainment value for the fans coming first ahead of any commercialism, which there was none, or it was in the background.

It was so much more enjoyable being with true baseball fans that are treated properly. The Jays could learn a lot by following the way the Red Sox use their scoreboard.

Raptors Devotee
Raptors Devotee
August 31, 2010 5:12 pm

Oh yeah, most importantly, tons of replays throughout the entire game at Fenway.

JT
JT
September 1, 2010 5:14 pm

I went to two Jays/Tigers games this weekend at the Dome and was quickly reminded why I hate going there: the EXTREMELY LOUD ADVERTISEMENTS BLASTED AT ME AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY. I’m not an old fogey (I’m 32), I just hate having to (quite literally) shout at the person beside me if I want to have a conversation between innings. It’s annoying as hell, and it makes the entire game-experience feel like an intense marketing opportunity for advertisers. I left the game hoarse, and it wasn’t from cheering.

Kirk
Kirk
September 28, 2010 4:54 pm

Yes the marketing advertising is a nuisance in the park.
Also, I am trying to figure out why there was so much Pizza smell on the 200 level at outfield near 1st base. I didn’t see anyone with pizza at 100 feet away in any direction. But the smell was strong, and I had to start looking for holes and vent pipes where management may have been piping it in as a advertising scheme.
I still believe that it was created on purpose somehow. Perhaps using ventilation fans to the seating from the pizza cooking area.

Tabber
Tabber
October 14, 2010 3:04 pm

Don’t forget the ushers or stadium staff telling you to sit down, or usheringpeople to their seats during play and telling you to move to your seat when you’re waiting for a break int he game rather than blocking other people’s views. Is cheering not permitted? Apparently razzing the other team (cleanly) is not permitted, from numerous accounts. Food and drink, as has been said, you can look after before entering. Not interested in concessions as I don’t have kids, but can sympathize.

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