Today’s MLB post-season American League opener between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers will be held under a closed dome. This despite gorgeous weather in Toronto. The Rangers own home field is an open-air stadium, so I’m guessing they would prefer to play under a big, sunny sky. And the Jays and their fans love an open roof. So what’s the deal?
I mean baseball always was, and still is, an outdoor game, meant to be played in the open air and sunshine. Covered stadiums were built merely to allow games to be played whenever inclement weather would otherwise force a cancellation. That’s the only time the roof should be closed. So what gives when the league (not the home team) chooses to keep the roof closed on a gorgeous fall day? Seems like an odd decision, doesn’t it?
Well, it would seem that MLB decided that allowing the home team (in this case, the Blue Jays) the right to keep their stadium roof open would provide them an “unfair advantage” over their opponents. Really? Even though the Rangers play their home games in Globe Life Park, itself an open-air stadium in Arlington, Texas, having the Rogers Stadium roof open would favour the Jays? Really?!
I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the Jays are 38-14 with the dome open, yet only 11-14 with it closed. Nor that having a Canadian team make it into the playoffs, or even (horror of horrors) into the World Series, might be bad for all that lucrative US broadcast and advertising revenue.
Give me a break! MLB has already scheduled the Jays’ playoff games into random non-primetime broadcast slots. That petty move, along with dome-gate, makes it obvious that they’re doing their best to ensure that only American teams make it to the final league playoff games and the World Series. If I didn’t think I was being too overly paranoid, I might even suspect that they had something to do with Taylor Swift’s appearance at the stadium right before the Jays’ playoff season gets underway (apparently she has a history of jinxing home teams wherever she performs).
But that jest aside, it’s not like MLB hasn’t done this before. Hell, back in 1994 they concocted a trumped-up labour dispute excuse to cancel the balance of the baseball season when it looked like that year’s World Series opponents might end up being the Toronto Blue Jays vs. the Montreal Expos… Toronto for its third World Series appearance in a row, and Montreal its first. Oh, how horrible that would have been, eh? (Not!)
Sadly, big money definitely rules our favourite international summer sport. You know, sometimes the “hidden” tactics of MLB to appease its sponsors and business affiliates are so obvious it’s pitiful. But let’s not let that ruin the game for us.
Added note: MLB must be pleased, because the Jays lost both closed-roof games.
Final note: It seems clear from the calls in last night’s post-season game-5 with KC that all questionable rulings were to go in favour of the American team. Hence that fan-caught ball that should have been called what it was – fan interference – and therefore a ground-ruled double instead of a home run… the blatant ignoring of a couple of un-called balks committed by Wade Davis… and that high-outside 4th pitch “strike” called against Revere in the top of the 9th that put him 2-2 instead of 3-1 with two runners in scoring position. All of these calls defied questioning by the players or Gibbons. In fact, Gibbons own resigned attitude at the end of the game made it plain that he realized the refs had determined the outcome of the game and there was nothing he could do about it. I get that the MLB needs its lucrative World Series advertising revenue, but I never wanted to believe that it would come at the expense of the spirit of the game. Oh well, it’s the 21st century folks, and fairness and integrity seem to have taken a backseat to the bottom line. Guess we’ll have to get used to that from now on.