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Jays Listed – Top 5 off-field offseason wants

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Now that the Blue Jays have addressed a number of their on-field issues (welcome aboard former Marlins and Melky Cabrera!) what’s in store for Toronto from now until opening day? There are still a few moves Alex Anthopolous could make to tinker with the lineup or the men on the mound, but we’ve already addressed that in a former Jays Listed blog. Instead, this quick list is all about a few things off the field the Blue Jays could do to make the fan experience just that much better. We’re not talking about a return to the playoffs either because that’s a given. Now that you know what we’re NOT looking at that’s get to what we want. Here we go.

5. A 1993 World Series magazine

Last season SportsNet magazine put out a special issue commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Blue Jays first World Series championship. Despite anyone outside of Ontario and British Columbia having to wait to buy the special issue off newsstands I thought it was a tremendous success. The magazine brought back some old memories with great photos and recaps from the 1992 season. It also revealed a few new stories and secrets from the dugout.

Obviously the 2013 season marks 20 years since the Jays second World Series in 1993. Hopefully the SportsNet magazine crew will put together a similar magazine for the 1993 team. Aside from Joe Carter’s big home run there are plenty of other great 1993 highlights the magazine could touch on. Just a few include John Olerud’s run at .400, Paul Molitor’s monster regular season and even bigger postseason, Pat Hentgen’s 19-win season and Tony Fernandez’s return to Toronto.

4. Bring back the SkyDome

Let’s see. They brought back the old logo (or a variation of it at least). They brought back the old manager (twice!) and they’ve brought back former players repeatedly over the years. Now let’s bring back the SkyDome.

Here at BackinBlue the Roger’s Centre doesn’t actually exist. All our writers and personalities refer to it as the SkyDome and that’s not going to change. That’s because the name SkyDome is cool. It’s also what we all grew up with. We’re going to a game at the ‘Dome, not the ‘centre. How lame does that sound.

This is a really, really, easy fix that never should have been needed in the first place. Rogers owns the team and the stadium so putting their name on it is fine. Instead of calling it the Rogers Centre though, it should be Rogers’ SkyDome. What do you say Rogers?

3. A new name on the Level of Excellence

When was the last time the Blue Jays put a new name on the Level of Excellence? They retired Roberto Alomar’s number when he was inducted into Cooperstown, but he was already a part of the Level of Excellence at the time.

The answer to who was the last person inducted into the Level is Paul Beeston in 2008. That means in 2013 it will be five years since a player’s name has gone up. It sounds to me like it’s time to unveil a new name. The Top 3 names that routinely come up when the Level of Excellence is mentioned are Carlos Delgado, Jimmy Key and Tom Henke. I’m ok with any of them, but the next name to go up has to be Delgado doesn’t it? He only holds the franchise records for home runs, doubles, RBI, runs, .OPS and walks. Get it done already.

2. Sr. Jays Days

Every Blue Jays home game held on a Saturday last season was Jr. Jays Saturdays. On these special days there are special kids priced tickets, fun activities for kids and the best part, after the game kids get to run the bases.

They never had days like this when I was kid and went to a few Jays games, so what I’m proposing is something for the older fans – Sr. Jays Days. I haven’t worked out all the logistics just yet, but it would likely be for Blue Jays fans 55 or older, or something in that range. Like Jr. Jays Saturday’s there would be some special priced tickets for Sr. Jays and some special events or activities still TBD. Also Sr. Jays would be able to run the bases. Why let the kids have all the fun!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I just want to run the bases and slide into home. I’m not going to get younger to participate in Jr. Jays events, but I will get older one day. Let’s get it going Jays!

1. Turf the artificial turf

It does get a little shady when the roof is closed after all.

It’s been talked about for a couple years now, but isn’t it about time they went through with it and replaced the artificial turf with grass? Right now there are only two teams in Major League Baseball that play of turf, Toronto and Tampa Bay. Being compared with the Rays’ hole of a stadium, Tropicana Stadium in any way should leave a bad taste in everyone’ mouth.

I think the artificial turf in Toronto really became as issue when AA mentioned at last year’s State of the Franchise Address that some players think twice about coming to Toronto because they don’t want to put their legs through the grind of playing on turf. Artificial turf may have come a long way since the days of literally playing on concrete at Olympic Stadium (Andre Dawson’s knees shudder at the thought), but it still doesn’t compare to grass. And, if the lack of grass really has caused the Jays to miss out on a potential free agent signing in the past it should be rectified. Sure, winning will help change anyone’s mind, but it’s easier to get that winning team in the first place without another obstacle in your way.

Since Home Hardware is the official home improvement store of the Blue Jays head down there and pick up either a dump truck load of grass seed or sod and let’s get this thing done.

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