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