All stories relating to Rogers Centre

The Informer

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Now that Ralph Wilson has died, are the Buffalo Bills headed to Toronto?

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

An old man died yesterday, and already Toronto sports fans are wondering who’s going to be getting his stuff.

The man was 95-year-old Ralph Wilson, and his “stuff,” of course, is the Buffalo Bills, a team he owned since its founding in 1960. Toronto has had its eye on the Bills for years—a series of “home games” at Rogers Centre during the past few seasons seemed intended partly to test the market—but speculation about a cross-border move didn’t get going in earnest until late last year, when it was reported that Jon Bon Jovi, of all people, was interested in bankrolling the transition. The theory at the time was that Bon Jovi and a small group of partners would buy the Bills after Wilson’s death, and then relocate the team to a new stadium in Toronto, built and operated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

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The Informer

Sports

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Toronto’s 2014 Buffalo Bills home game is cancelled; Buffalo fans celebrate

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)

The annual Buffalo Bills “home game” at Rogers Centre has been a reliable source of easy money for the team and a treat for Torontonian football fans who normally have to content themselves with CFL games, but it’s hardly surprising that news of the 2014 game’s cancellation has Buffalonians cheering. The Buffalo News is already calling the move “all kinds of good news for Bills fans.”

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The Informer

Columns

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Memoir: what I learned from working the graveyard shift at the Rogers Centre


Memoir: I was trying to make it in journalism and failing miserably. It took the world’s worst job to make me realize that even rock bottom has its perks

On my first night, I picked up a beer-soaked five-dollar bill and shoved it into my pocket. Some of my co-workers were high; some chugged the remains of half-empty beer cans. Everyone needed something to help endure the mind-numbing task of cleaning the Rogers Centre. Mine was searching for treasure in the trash.

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The Informer

Sports

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The Rogers Centre has mysteriously become baseball’s home run capital

(Image: Mike Babcock)

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista’s sudden fondness for pitcher R.A. Dickey’s pants is only the second weirdest thing to happen this baseball season. The Rogers Centre has emerged as a home run factory with a league-leading 121 already hit at the park (the average for all the MLB stadiums is 82). Some pundits say removing glass panes at the old Windows Restaurant created a magical wind flow that carries balls over the fence, a theory endorsed by television analyst Gregg Zaun and scorned by Bautista and at least one baseball-obsessed physicist. Another camp is pinning the surge on gusts from new condo towers nearby—though that doesn’t explain all the bombs hit when the roof is closed. Even more mysterious is that only 50 of the Jays’ current home run count of 108 came in their batter-friendly home park. [CBC]

The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Dance Weekend, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and four other events on our to-do list

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan plays The Garrison on Friday

1. YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN
Just decoding Yamantaka // Sonic Titan’s description of their own sound—“psychedelic noh-wave opera group fusing noise, metal, pop and folk music into a multidisciplinary hyper-orientalist cesspool of ‘east’ meets ‘west’ culture”—would be sufficient fodder for an ethnomusicology master’s thesis. The Montreal and Toronto collective’s sort-of-proggy, sort-of-punky debut, YT//ST, was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize last year (Feist ended up winning), and drew raves from the likes of Pitchfork for its inventive sonic textures and pulsing rhythms. Their live show has earned buzz for its theatricality, including costumes that recall Japanese theatre and KISS in equal measure. January 18. $10. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W., 416-519-9439, ticketweb.ca

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The Dish

Food TV

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The Layover in Toronto: Anthony Bourdain’s favourite spots and best quips

Anthony Bourdain taking bone luge shots at The Black Hoof with Ezra Title; Bourdain with Scott Vivian at Porchetta and Co. (Images: Courtesy of Travel Channel)

For last night’s episode of The Layover, Anthony Bourdain and his merry crew squeezed as many of Toronto’s culinary delights as possible into their 30-odd hours in the city (we covered his trip back in July). And while he seemed genuinely impressed with some of what he saw, we’re not gonna lie: it was pretty much Bourdain by the numbers. Quirky store owner? Check! (Olivia Go of Tosho Knife Arts). Local punk band? Check! (Fucked Up). Over-the-top feats of on-air gluttony? Check! (Bone luge at The Black Hoof, expertly administered by Jen Agg). Still, there’s nothing a Torontonian likes better than to be acknowledged by an outsider—from New York, no less. In this respect, the show was a complete success, with Bourdain delivering his trademark razor-sharp backhanded compliments with relative abandon. Below, a roundup of where the Kitchen Confidential author stopped and, more importantly, what he said about it.

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The Informer

Sports

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Reason to Love Toronto: because the Argos finally gave local fans a hometown victory

(Image: Facebook)

Sports fandom in Toronto is tough. The last time the Blue Jays were World Series champs was two decades ago (though next season should be interesting); for the Maple Leafs, it’s been much, much longer since they took home the cup. Toronto FC had a dismal year, and the Raptors’ record is currently 3–11. Leave it to the Argonauts, the Toronto sports team with the lowest profile, to give the city a much-needed reason to celebrate. The Argos’ 35–22 triumph over the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup—in Toronto, no less—has loyal fans elated, Calgarians humbled and the ranks of local CFL watchers swelling (at least temporarily). Bring on the victory parade.

The Dish

Where to Eat and Drink

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Where to eat and drink near the 2012 Grey Cup

(Image: George Socka)

With 52,000 rabid Argos and Stamps fans crowding the streets around the Rogers Centre on Sunday, you need a game plan for pre- and post-game eating and drinking. Sure, you can pack into Loose Moose or Lone Star Texas Grillbut there are other, better dining options within a 20-minute walk of the dome. Here, your 15 best bets.

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The Informer

Sports

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Seven Grey Cup bets we wish Rob Ford and Naheed Nenshi would make

 

After the Toronto Blue Jays’ Alex Anthopoulos opened the week with a blockbuster deal, Toronto sports fans were given another reason to celebrate at the end of the week: the Toronto Argonauts’ electrifying 27-20 triumph over Montreal yesterday, earning the squad a spot in the 100th Grey Cup. Which means the big game this Sunday at the Rogers Centre will pit the host city team against the Calgary Stampeders. Unsurprisingly, the already thriving Calgary versus Toronto rivalry is quickly escalating. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi sent out a tweet this morning, trying to goad Rob Ford into a bet that would see the loser wear the opposing team’s jersey for a council meeting and donate his weight in food to the winning city’s food bank. Football-crazy Ford quickly accepted (with the requisite bit of trash talk), but not before Nenshi put out the call to his townsfolk for alternative wagers using the hashtag #mayorbet. Here, a quick list of our favourites.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Toronto Jazz Festival, Top Gun! The Musical and six other items on our to-do list

1. TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL
At the risk of sounding a little cliché, this annual music fest is definitely in the “something for everyone” category. With upward of a thousand musicians playing hundreds of shows over the next 10 days, we are supremely confident that you’ll find at least one show you’ll want to attend, even if you’re not that into jazz. This weekend, be sure to catch soul singer Janelle Monae (Friday), Vancouver indie rocker Destroyer (Saturday), jazz pianist Hiromi and New Dutch Swing ensemble Ig Henneman Sextet (both Sunday). Later in the week, Natalie Cole, Ziggy Marley and Esperanza Spalding—the surprise Best New Artist winner at the 2011 Grammys—perform. June 22 to July 1. Various locations, torontojazz.com.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Toronto vs. Chicago: mayors, ballparks and nicknames edition

After hearing that Chicago is crazy jealous of Toronto’s annual Luminato festival—and the international tourists it attracts—we got to wondering how Hogtown really stacks up against its similarly sized cousin. We looked at everything from restaurants named Acadia to notable rich guys to talk show hosts extraordinaire (and a whole bunch of other admittedly arbitrary categories). Here’s how the two cities compare in matters civic.

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The Informer

Sports

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The economy wins! The Toronto Blue Jays win!! Everybody wins!!!

(Image: Joel Dinda)

Apparently, more bums in ballpark seats are a strong indicator of a growing economy. Canadian Business is reporting on a fun (albeit random) bit of economics put forward by analysts at the New York–based tech firm ConvergEX Group. The argument goes that the number of people who buy tickets to Major League Baseball games in any given season parallels consumer confidence. (Rocket science alert: people buy more stuff, like baseball tickets, when they have more money and feel good about spending it.) While the theory is obviously more than a little facile, it’s proving true as far as the Toronto Blue Jays are concerned—Canada’s economic health is quickly improving (good!) and so too is Blue Jays attendance this season (also good!). Of course, though a stronger economy may mean more Torontonians are getting their baseball on, we can think of another reason for locals to flock to the Rogers Centre—winning. Something the boys in blue have been doing a lot of lately. [Canadian Business]

The Informer

Sports

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The Rogers Centre is one of the ugliest stadiums in baseball (but certainly not the ugliest)

Is it really that bad? (Image: Núria i JC)

In an arbitrary but amusing list of Major League Baseball’s ugliest parks, the Blue Jays’ home stadium netted the number eight spot. Buzzfeed slams the Rogers Centre (which will always be the SkyDome in our hearts, corporate sponsorship ownership be damned!) as “a relic of another time,” but we’ve always had a fondness for its dated charm. And doesn’t the world’s first fully retractable roof count for anything? We’re not too upset, though—we’re too busy feeling sorry for fans in Miami, forced to stare at a flamingo-encrusted monstrosity night after night.  Read the entire story [Buzzfeed] »

The Informer

Sports

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Why the Blue Jays home opener—and season—is going to be different this year

(Image: Half my Dad's age)

Every year, spring brings with it the first Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre. Most years—at least most years in the last two decades—this ritual goes off without much fanfare. Sure, there’s the almost perfunctory sellout crowd (many of those tickets being corporate giveaways or wildly reduced-price promotions), but their beer-fuelled chants echoing under the depressing calm of a closed dome always seemed to ring hollow. What has there been to cheer for, really? This year, things are different (the beer won’t be flowing as freely tonight, for starters). The Blue Jays are wearing blue again—and so are diehard fans all around town, re-emerging at the sight of something promising. The team is young. They play hard. And they’re good. Brett Lawrie has awesome written all over him (except for where he has other things written all over him), Jose Bautista is the best hitter in baseball, and Ricky Romero might just be an underdog Cy Young prospect. Count us among the excited. After the longest opening day in baseball history last Thursday, the Jays took two of three games from the Cleveland Indians—and only lost the third by one run. Tonight, they take on the Boston Red Sox, which means it should be a good game, and an important one against division rivals. It also means thirsty fans may be able to find some beer in the visiting locker room.

The Informer

Business

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Rogers and Bell buy MLSE (and now own every Canadian sports team, stadium and channel ever)

Less than two weeks after the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan announced it was taking its majority share of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment off the market, the fund has turned around and sold its long-time cash cow for $1.32 billion. (For those following along, OTTP bought it 17 years ago for $180 million.) The buyers should sound horrifyingly familiar to any Toronto sports fan: Rogers and Bell.

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