Rogers Centre

Saturday Mid-Afternoon or Evening Home Games on the Horizon for the Blue Jays?

Sportsnet

Did you know the Toronto Blue Jays are one of only two teams in MLB baseball that play early-afternoon Saturday home games? Most teams opt for mid-afternoon or evening games on Saturdays, but the Blue Jays and Yankees are the only teams that don’t.

That may be changing as the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be testing the waters on moving their Saturday afternoon home games to the mid-afternoon or evening start times.

If you’re a Blue Jays ticket holder, you may have received a survey over the last few weeks featuring a series of questions pertaining to Saturday home games and the Jr. Jays Saturdays promotion.



I won’t copy and paste all the questions (there’s a link to the survey here), but the gist of the focus group was asking whether fans would prefer to leave Saturday games around 1pm, or whether it would be beneficial to shift these games to 4pm or 7pm time slot.

I for one, am all for it. Changing from a 1:07pm start time to 4:07pm is the perfect compromise; I’ve always felt a 4:00pm start time is more beneficial for out-of-towners. Plus, it also may keep those Blue Jays fans in the downtown core a little longer on a Saturday night (to stay for dinner or do some shopping), rather than a 1:00pm start time.

What is your ideal start time for Saturday home games?

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Not only that, but I’m sure the players would much prefer a later start time for Saturday home games. For one, it gives them more time to recuperate from the game the night before. Another benefit of having games later in the day? It means players don’t have to play during the hottest time of the day.

If you’ve ever been down to the Rogers Centre for a day game in July or August, you know how unbearably hot it can get in the stands, let alone on the field; where you can often see waves of heat radiating off the artificial turf.

It’s surprising the Blue Jays haven’t considered this sooner, but it pivots off a conversation Mark Shapiro and Paul Beeston had last fall on Prime Time Sports. Their differing philosophies on the Saturday afternoon home games was very apparent:

Shapiro: Paul, the Saturday day games, because that’s pretty unique here – it’s just us and the Yankees, that’s it. What was the thought behind that? Have we done a lot of focus groups? What was the research behind that? Have you considered alternatives? What’s the history to that?

Beeston: We didn’t need to consider alternatives because I like barbecuing on Saturday nights, and if you play on Saturday nights, you can’t barbecue.

Beeston was probably being facetious, but in the event that he wasn’t, it’s reassuring to learn Shapiro and company are strongly considering changing the start times for Saturday Blue Jays home games.

The only negative side effect I can foresee is this may adversely affect Jr. Jays Saturdays; a long-standing staple on the Blue Jays’ promotional calendar. There were some survey questions asking about Jr. Jays Saturdays, which makes me wonder whether the front office is considering the viability of this promotion altogether.

Changing game times to 4:07pm or 7:07pm may make Saturdays a little less “family friendly”, but I still think a 4:07pm start time is the perfect compromise for the family and evening crowd.

Rescheduling these games to a mid-afternoon or evening affair would only be a small shift among the many upcoming changes at the Rogers Centre over the next few years. But going to a 4:07pm or 7:07pm start time for Saturday home games would be a step in the right direction.
 



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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8 Comments

  1. Mira

    July 13, 2017 - 1:07 pm

    I know that it’s not really a factor to consider, but one other negative is for European fans like me, because 4 pm means 10 pm for us. Weekend games are only games I can realistically watch live on MLB.tv.

  2. Tony

    August 4, 2017 - 7:19 pm

    You forget about the Cubs. Unless MLB dictates a night game, the majority of their Saturday games start at 1:20 and has forever.

  3. Nick

    August 26, 2017 - 8:02 pm

    A “compromise” of 4:07pm makes no sense at all. No one has the energy to go shopping or the appetite to go out to dinner after eating and drinking throughout a 3.0 to 3.5 hour baseball game. Especially if you have children, the game is exhausting enough. So you keep some of the games at 1:07pm (for families and because it’s a 40 year tradition in Toronto) but also start some of the games at 7:07pm (for fans who want to spend a weekend night at the ballpark and age 20-35 fans who would go out for drinks after the game – the only thing people ever do after the game). That’s why the Saturday 4:07pm start time is just as rare across league – it makes no sense.

    1. Noah

      September 4, 2017 - 4:58 pm

      4:07 game are go to go for lunch before the game if you do at 1:07 you alway rushing lunch so you don’t have to paid huge amount at the game and sneaking in drink (not beer)

  4. Noah

    September 4, 2017 - 4:53 pm

    I prefer 4:07 start for September and post season if person that take go train if you live in surburd at 3:00 . Or come early for give away if you live in suburb alway hard to get give away when the game start at 1:00 .

    1. Noah

      September 4, 2017 - 4:57 pm

      4:07 game are go to go for lunch before the game if you do at 1:07 you alway rushing lunch so you don’t have to paid huge amount at the game and sneaking in drink (not beer)

  5. Amanda

    September 14, 2017 - 11:02 am

    A later start on Saturday will make it more difficult for those families coming into the city from outside of Toronto. Families that have a 2 – 2 1/2 hour drive or more will not come in for a late game because it would be close to midnight before getting home. Not everyone can afford to stay in a hotel over night just to see a baseball game.

    1. Ian Hunter

      September 14, 2017 - 11:06 am

      Oh, I hear ya – I’m an out-of-towner with a few young ones myself, but the 4pm time works better with naps, bedtime, etc. But the Blue Jays still have four 1pm Saturday games and all Sunday home games still run at 1:00pm.

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