TORONTO – Edward S. Rogers, the deputy chairman of Toronto Blue Jays owner Rogers Communications, Inc., promised further investments in the Rogers Centre and voiced support for the struggling ball club during a ceremony to unveil a 12-foot bronze statue honouring his late father Tuesday evening.
While no specific details were offered, team president Paul Beeston has in the past spoken of plans to eventually install natural grass at the dome, something which can only happen once the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts find a new home.
The comments came after Rogers listed a series of his father Ted’s many accomplishments, framing success with the Blue Jays as a piece of unfinished family business.
“We have one more piece that all of us here today need to work on in the next few years, we’ve re-invested in the Rogers Centre and put many tens of millions into it, and we’re going to put a lot more money into it,” Rogers, also chairman of the Blue Jays, told a gathering outside the dome. “We’ve increased the payroll, we’ve made some great trades, we’ve got a great management team with Paul Beeston and Alex (Anthopoulos) and many more, we’ve got fabulous players, we have a team that is a winner.
“We’re not where exactly we want to be right now, but we have full confidence in this team, and we will bring the World Series back to Toronto.”
Beeston, Anthopoulos, manager John Gibbons, Jose Bautista, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson – the latter four having just come out of a players-only meeting – were among those attending the event, which featured Loretta Rogers, the company director and wife of Ted Rogers, and their children Lisa, Edward, Melinda and Martha.
Alan Horn, chairman of the board for Rogers Communications, was among those to credit Ted Rogers with keeping the Blue Jays in Toronto through the deal to purchase 80 per cent of the team in September 2000, even though many advised him not to.
Rogers was the only local bidder vying for the club.
“It was Ted who stepped up to the plate, so to speak, when no one, and I can say this from actual experience of working on the deal, no one else in Toronto showed any interest in buying the team or keeping it in Toronto,” Horn told the audience. “As Ted said at the time, ‘How can you be a major-league city without a major-league team?’”
The statue stands outside the southeast corner of the dome. Rogers died in 2008 at age 75.