Shapiro Speaks: Rogers Centre, The Future, Osuna, And More ...

Mark Shapiro spoke with Stephen Brunt and some Jeff Blair guy about all sorts of things and even took a few questions from the fans. And, as always, he had some pretty damn interesting things to say, so let’s just cut to the goddamn baseball chase and dive into all the juicy stuff.


The reimagined Rogers Centre…

Well, we’ve spent kind of my first two years here doing a ton of research in stadiums, arenas, and ballparks throughout the world – not just the US. We’ve, I think, done as much fan interaction and fan feedback as we humanly can. And we kind of get to the process of going through with designers and trying to guess what fans would want, ya know, 5, 10, 15 years from now.

I’m pretty sure that we can all agree that we would like better food options, better drink options, and better drink option spaces in the next 15 years, as well as some kind of legends row outside the Dome, a little Blue Jays history-hall somewhere in the stadium, and a couple World Series banners, of course. And the dumb uncle Ted statue gone for good. Anyway …

The underlining premises are still the same: we need to modernize the fan experience. We need to create one that’s not one-size-fits-all, which was kind of the model in the late eighties and early nineties. We made a proposal to our ownership. When it comes to the magnitude of dollars, were talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. Ya know, it’s not something that… in an environment where we’re the only Major League baseball team that’s going to have to completely, privately fund it. We’re going to get no tax– breaks, we’re going to get no source of public funding. We will be the only team that will have to do that. So, that’s one that will have to be balanced and really talked about at the C-level: the CEO, the CFO level, and the board level at Rogers our owner and, ah, that’s an active conversation. And that’s one that, I think, they are very supportive and very engaged, but it’s really not my decision.

Honestly, could you imagine being Mark Shapiro and discussing Rogers Centre upgrades to a Rogers Board room with CEO Joe Natale, CFO Tony Staffieri, and other board members who probably don’t give a flying fuck about baseball? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe they do, but they definitely don’t give as much of a shit as all of us, that’s for sure. And my bet is that the board room probably smells like Vanilla Lattes from Starbucks. I guess there is nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing.

It’s a shitty position for Shapiro to be in since Rogers is a publicly-traded company and it’s all about the cash-rules-everything-around-me-CREAM. But seriously, all you Rogers talking heads, upgrade the goddamn stadium that your company bought from Sportsco for roughly $25 million in 2004 – or just sell it. Or just figure out a way to get the team off your publically-traded books. Sell the team to Ed Rogers, or something – transfer the team to his name – I dunno.


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