Opening Day at the Dome is always a fun time in Toronto. The Jays came to bat yesterday with a 5-1 record for their home opener. Unfortunately, the team dropped its second game of the season after two extra innings. For a team that has not made much noise in the American League for some time, the hot start has been refreshing. Perhaps even more refreshing was the over 45,000 fans in attendance at the game – likely enjoying a few refreshments of their own.
This is a rather strong attendance figure for a team that normally draws crowds in the 20,000′s and for that matter, often in the low 20,000′s. There were times last year when the team was setting record after record of low attendance figures. The hot start, and a winter without the sport has thankfully re-filled the seats.
Today however I issue Toronto a new challenge: Continue to fill the seats. The Jays can only stay in Canada so long with poor attednace; like in any sport, teams will move if they are not profitable at home. Canada cannot afford to lose its only major league baseball team – and more importantly, neither can Toronto. Even if the Jays are not your team, imagine having to treck down south just to catch a game, as we do for football. Imagine a cavernous Dome in the heart of the city with no team ready to fill it. Make no mistake about it, if Toronto loses the Jays, Major League Baseball will not return to Canada.
If the Jays continue to struggle in attendance, they will struggle on the field too. Eventually, the team will move. It has happened time and time again in every major sports league. Losing the Jays would be a big loss to the city. We can all help by attending games. Even if you are not a fan, there is plenty to do at a game – and in my opinion, on a sunny afternoon, there is no better patio in the city than the Dome with an open roof.
Come for the game, stay for the sunshine, junk food and drinks. You will have a good time. Win or lose, the Jays will appreciate your attendance, and you will be helping to keep Major League Baseball in Canada; and in Toronto.
Written by Bryan Hersh creator of www.49ersparadise.com