In what way does it make sense for a sports franchise to consistently put their multi-million dollar investments at risk because of inferior technology in their home field?
That’s a question that the Toronto Blue Jays and their fan base have been asking for quite some time now, and while the short answer is “as long as they share a house with about sports franchise owned by same company”, that the bluebirds now have an inflated payroll (and several long-term commitments to that will keep it up) makes that question more pertinent than it’s been in some time.
Simply put, the AstroTurf is doing the team no favours.
Even if new shortstop Jose Reyes did not have his near-catastrophic ankle injury in the season, it would have been hard to imagine that his legs would have withstood a full season of wear and tear at home without needing some time off the field. The fake grass certainly didn’t help Melky Cabrera‘s balky hamstrings, and he’s now out for the season with a knee injury.
The latest known victim is outfielder Colby Rasmus, who was out of the lineup for Sunday’s contest due to what the team is calling ‘general body soreness’ — which is to say that he’s banged up.
However, the interesting minor detail about this particular ailment is that it doesn’t stem from the oblique injury that put him out of action for 29 games. Instead, as he told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, his day-to-day status is caused directly by “playing on the AstroTurf at Rogers Centre following a prolonged absence from the field.”
Now, you might not necessarily say that the playing surface was the cause of the other lower-body injuries that the team has seen over the course of the season, but that doesn’t exactly leave much to the imagination, yes?
The fact is that with every game that the Blue Jays continue to play on the turf at the Rogers Centre, they are putting their players at greater risk of injury — just ask Vladimir Guerrero about it. It’s unfortunate that it’s taken this long to get the plans to an accelerated stage, but the fact is that money is a pretty big motivator for the Blue Jays’ owners, and if it takes potentially million of dollars worth of lost games due to injury to get it done, so be it.
Though it won’t exactly help the current core of the Blue Jays like Rasmus, 2018 — when the Toronto Argos are basically set to leave the arena — just can’t come soon enough.