What new stuff will be happening at Blue Jays games in 2018?
The new Blue Jays season starts on Thursday, and the team is mixing things up in the hopes of wooing back spectators who were turned off by 2017’s disappointing denouement, when the Jays finished second-last in their division. Here are some new gametime features Rogers Centre attendees can look forward to in the coming months.
Saturday games will start a little later
The Blue Jays will be starting their Saturday afternoon games at 4:07 p.m., instead of the usual 1:07 p.m. The club is hoping the later start time will appeal to younger fans, who may want a smoother transition into Saturday night festivities. Plus, open-roof games are way more manageable in the late afternoon, when the sun is less brutal. Some might say the late-afternoon start will make these games less family friendly, but Sunday home games will continue to start at 1:07 p.m., and they will be geared toward kids, as usual.
The food will be a little better
— Aramark at Rogers Centre (@TOBallParkEats) March 19, 2018
For anyone tired of hot dogs, popcorn or nachos, there’s some new stuff to feast on at Blue Jays games this year. Vendors will be selling fish and chips on a stick, Korean beef tacos, and, for dessert, cookie dough in a cup. Also, there’s this waffle sandwich with pulled pork and cheese curds:
Good news, hungry people: We've got new MLB food items to share with you. We apologize if it's not even close to lunch time where you live.
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) March 14, 2018
There’s no more Jose
Gone is the Blue Jays’ bearded patron saint in right field, Jose Bautista. He’s been swapped out for a new guy from the St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk. Nobody could ever truly replace a legend like Bautista, but Grichuk is a decent player, with an average of 21 home runs in each of the past three years. Plus he’s got a nice head of hair. He might just become your new favourite Blue Jay.
In total, there are nine new Blue Jays on the 25-man roster this year. Another one to watch is Curtis Granderson, with his heart of gold and million-dollar smile, who will be one of the club’s new outfielders.
There will be some new netting around home plate
Statement from the #BlueJays organization on protective netting at Rogers Centre.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) January 15, 2018
It’s not the most exciting addition to the Rogers Centre, but this new netting will increase safety for fans. The change was in accordance with an MLB mandate to extend protective netting as far as possible down the baselines at all Major League ballparks. Rogers Centre ended up hiking up its barrier up by 10 feet and extending it toward the outfield sides of the player dugouts.
The Jays have switched from a traditional black netting to a camouflage colour. This will apparently blend in better with the field and minimize any obstructed views for fans. It’s probably for the best: loose bats and foul balls make great souvenirs, but they also make for concussions.