The Toronto Blue Jays could be rolling up the Astroturf at Rogers Centre and replacing it with a grass field as early as next season, Bob McCown said Tuesday on Prime Time Sports.
“This is being discussed. I don’t know what level it’s at. I have been told — I have heard that it may have already been decided that two years from now they are going to put grass in the Rogers Centre. No one has confirmed that to me, but that’s what’s out there.
“That the Toronto Argonauts have been informed to look for an alternative place to play, because the plan is to put natural grass in there, and the Blue Jays have no intention to muck up their grass. So, whether it’s 100 per cent or 50 per cent — I think it’s one of those two — it’s at least being seriously discussed, and the target is probably the 2015 season. But it could be 2014.”
Installing a grass field has been discussed in the past but hasn’t been put into motion because of the stadium’s multi-purpose functions.
“We have looked at grass over the past two or three years to find out whether we could put grass in here and play on it,” Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston said in February. “The answer is yes. It would make it a baseball-only stadium. But, this is a multi-purpose stadium. It’s not only used for baseball. It’s used for the Argos, it’s used the NFL, rock shows, conventions and car shows before. So we have to take that into context but it can clearly get done.”
Besides being an eyesore, synthetic turf is also much tougher on players’ legs than natural grass. The stadium’s surface has also been a hindrance in attracting free agents, GM Alex Anthopoulos admitted in July.
Rogers Centre is one of only two major league stadiums to use artificial turf, the other being Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.