Great shot found on blogTO

Today is the Toronto Blue Jays home opener. The 35th in their history and the game is sold out. Say what you will about the Rogers Center, but when you fit 52,383 people in there for baseball, it’s an amazing atmosphere. Me and the boys are taking in our 10th consecutive home opener. It’s become a tradition for us. I’m very excited for tonight. I’ll see you at the ball park.

Due to security concerns at the G20 Summit in Toronto the series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies has been relocated to Philadelphia. The series which is to take place on the weekend of June 25th was to be held at the Rogers Center in Toronto. Many Jays fans, including myself, have been looking forward to this series since December 15, 2009.

This series was going to be Roy “Doc” Halladay’s homecoming. The first time he’d visit Toronto in an opposing uniform, and hopefully pitch. Now it’s not certain if he would have pitched in the series, but the thought of Toronto’s greatest athlete returning home would have brought fans to the ball park. The Toronto Blue Jays’ attendance has been awful this year. Up to this point in the season attendance at the Rogers Center has dropped to levels the likes I have never seen in the 20 years I have lived in Toronto. Many of us were expecting attendance to boost significantly for the series with the Phillies and possibly a sellout on the day Doc pitched.

Upon hearing about the decision to move the series to Philadelphia earlier today, over concerns about security at the G20 summit, I like many other Jays fans were severely disappointed. Listening to the president of the Blue Jays, Paul Beeston, address the media at a press conference I learned, this was a decision made by the Toronto Blue Jays organization and not at the request of the G20 Summit organizers or Major League Baseball. I understand his reasons and agree with the decision, even if it is a very disappointing one.

The security zone for the G20 Summit would include the Rogers Center among many of the surrounding area. It will result in street closures, parking lot closures and even public transportation closures. If that’s not enough, consider the perimeter fence that will be put in  place in the security zone and the countless police checks and security checks. Not to mention only the west end gates will be open to Jays fans to enter the Rogers Center.  This would be chaos.

Consider the following. A family with young kids has to park miles away from the Rogers Center and make a lengthy walk to the park. On approaching the security zone they may be subject to multiple security checks conducted by local police and RCMP officers. No one will be allowed to carry any bags, food or drinks with them into the security zone. They may be subject to searches. Once through all the security checks they would have to line up at one of only two open gates. Now considering it’s Doc’s return to Toronto it’s safe to estimate an attendance over 20,000 per game, and if Doc pitches I’d expect a sell out. Try having 40,000 people enter the Rogers Center through just two gates. I’m no expert, but that may take a few more hours than usual. Remember that family with young kids that has to go through all this, you think they’re going to have a great experience going to the park?

Being of Indian descent, and thanks to the colour of my skin, I’ve been subject to a few security checks at airports over the last 8 years. Security checks are not dreadful. They are long, frustrating, annoying and most of the time make you regret the trip all together, and I consider myself as someone with a lot of patience.

While we will not get to see Doc here in Toronto this year, I hope Major League Baseball will do the right thing and schedule a make up series next year so Toronto can give their beloved Doc another much deserved standing ovation.