Chris Jones on Toronto’s Problem | The Process Report

Chris Jones on Toronto’s Problem

Chris Jones wrote another piece about the Blue Jays for Grantland, and I recommend it. Jones is a fantastic writer, and while the piece itself isn’t groundbreaking, it does discuss Toronto’s challenges with filling up the Rogers Centre, like so:

The truth is, Toronto, the city, is the fourth largest in the majors, after only New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. More than five million people live in the surrounding area. The ownership — Rogers, an enormous multibillion-dollar communications and media company — has virtually limitless resources, as well as a national sports TV network, a string of radio stations, and a soon-to-be-launched national sports magazine. Rogers Centre — which the company bought for the bargain price of $25 million in 2004 — isn’t a beautiful ballpark, but it’s clean and safe and accessible. Even the Canadian dollar, which was once the ready excuse for every struggling sports franchise up here, has eclipsed its American cousin. The Jays can knock off three percent from every contract, right off the top.

The thought experiment for the day is to imagine Toronto if they do start filling up the seats and pouring in the revenue. As Jones notes, Toronto has a large scouting staff and is becoming an aggressive player in the draft and international amateur free agency. Alex Anthopoulos has proven to be no slouch in turning trades either. You squint and it is not hard to see Toronto becoming like Texas of the Great North—fine praise, because Texas has morphed into one of the better organizations in the majors. The Rays managed to win the East in 2008 despite a strong Toronto unit, but my goodness, to have Boston, Toronto, and New York firing on all cylinders really stacks the deck higher.

…Then again, sometimes it takes more than winning to put people in the stands—a reality with which the Rays are all too familiar.

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