Home Opener

A Guide to the 2016 Blue Jays Home Opener

Editor’s Note: This is a slight variation on last year’s Guide to the Home Opener. This year’s has an update to the transportation, beer and food offerings.

The day has finally arrived – the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays Home Opener. And for the first time in a very long time, the Blue Jays will begin the season with a brand new banner hanging from the rafters at the Rogers Centre.

If you’ve been to an Opener before, you pretty much know what to expect: complete pandemonium. However, here are a few things to keep in mind to make your 2016 Blue Jays Home Opener experience as fun as possible.



Getting to the Game

Photo via Globe & Mail

Public transit really is your first and foremost method of travel to the game. If you’re traveling on the TTC towards Union Station, I always get off at St. Andrew Station and walk the 10-ish minutes west to the dome.

I’m not positive that it’s actually faster this way, but it certainly seems like it. This way, not only can avoid the massive crowds at Union Station, plus it also allows you to hit up a hot dog cart or a bar for an impromptu pint along the way to the ballpark.

If you’re traveling from out of town (especially west of the city), the Go Train really is your best option. Go Transit says they’ll be running extra trains on the Lakeshore East and West lines to get fans home after the final pitch.

Yorkdale Mall is still a complete mess for parking, so avoid it at all costs. Even if you do somehow manage to find a parking spot, you’ll have a walk a mile to the subway station.

If you’re used to taking the subway anywhere west of the city, a reminder that the Bloor-Danforth line will be closed for from Jane to Christie on Saturday and Sunday, but will be operational tonight.

You’re much better off parking at Wilson Station (one stop north on the Yonge-University line), which has ample parking, and it’s just a short trek to the station.

 

Getting into the Game

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 20: Fans enter the stadium for the game between the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 20, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Photo via Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images



Last year, MLB rolled out metal detectors at all ballparks, and needless to say it led to some delays. At some points last year, wait times to get into the Rogers Centre were long and grueling. However, with the increase of security around sporting events, it’s a necessary evil these days.

If you were planning on getting to the Rogers Centre an hour before game time, I would get there at least 90 minutes ahead of game time (maybe even earlier). Again, allot about 30 minutes or so to get into the game  … because odds are you’ll be standing outside for a while.

 

Getting a Beer at the Game

Beer

If you’re seated in the lower levels, sometimes your best bet is to actually run into a beer vendor before they even head down to their section.

They tend to sometimes congregate around the ramps of 130 and 113, so if you can find a vendor at an opportune time, transactions usually go fairly quickly. Last year, I recall seeing several mini-stands throughout the concourse, so those are a great idea as well.

Remember that it’s a two beer limit per person per transaction at a beer stands, and one beer limit from a vendor in the stands.

With Labatt’s recent acquisition of Mill Street under the InBev umbrella, it’s opened up the beer selection quite a bit compared to last year.

New beers available the Rogers Centre this year include Mill Street’s Tank House Ale, 100th Meridian, Mill Street Organic, as well as Brickworks Ciders (which from I’ve heard, is one of the best ciders out there).

Mill Street’s West Coast IPA is on the list, but I’ve heard it won’t be available at the dome until later this month. Here’s a full list of the updated beer offerings at the Rogers Centre.

Alexander Keith’s IPACoronaMill Street Organic
Beck’sGoose Island Honkers AleMill Street Tank House
Boddingtons Pub AleGoose Island IPAMill Street West Coast IPA
Brickworks CiderHockley DarkNickel Brook Gluten Free
Bud LightLabatt 50Rolling Rock
Bud Light AppleLöwenbräuSapporo
Bud Light LimeLöwenbräu RadlerShock Top Lemon Shandy
Bud Lime Straw-ber-itaMichelob UltraSleeman Original Draught
BudweiserMill Street 100th MeridianStella Artois

 

Getting Food at the Game

Chicken-Waffle on a stick- Rogers Centre.vadapt.664.high.95

If you’re heading to the Jays game and expecting to find a unique item like Turner Field’s pizza burger or some sort of signature item, you’ll be sorely mistaken. Admittedly, the food selection at the Rogers Centre is not that great … but it has been getting better.

All new this year are a few new items, including the pictured above chicken and waffles on a stick, buffalo cauliflower poutine, beef brisket poutine box, and for dessert – mini donuts.

As always, you’re welcome to bring your own food into the game. The Home Opener may not be the best day to show up with a full BBQ chicken or a six-foot party sub, but if your row is cool with it … then go nuts.

 

Other Do’s and Don’ts at the Game

Do – get a 50/50 ticket. Even with slim chances to win, the jackpot will be astronomical.
Don’t – interfere with a live ball (unless it benefits the Blue Jays in some form).

Do – remember that beer and food sales are cut off at the end of the 7th inning.
Don’t – try to visit the Jays Shop. The lineup’s going to be nuts. Don’t even bother.

Do – be courteous to the ushers and other employees. Remember, they’re just doing their job.
Don’t – be an ass. Have fun, but don’t do it at the expense of others.

Images via Windsor Star, Musical Toronto, Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, Canada.com

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Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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