The Vancouver Canadians are exploring the possibility of bringing the MLB Toronto Blue Jays to Vancouver for an exhibition game at BC Place Stadium.
According to Metro News, the local minor league baseball franchise is looking at what needs to be done for such a ballpark game to happen. The Canadians already have a strong partnership with the Blue Jays as they are the affiliate for the Northwest League.
However, the four-sided, centre-suspended video board poses a major issue for such a special event to occur in Vancouver. While the newly completed retractable roof has a high ceiling of approximately 200 feet, similar to the height of the previous air supported inflatable fabric dome, the large screen could be a factor while the game is at play and it could also be damaged.
The video board is the second largest of its kind in North America after AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Dallas. It can be dropped down to the stadium floor for maintenance and lifted up high to the ceiling to conceal the retracted roof fabric in the centre of the roof opening, but it is not known whether this is sufficiently high enough for baseball play.
“We’re going to be sending some guys down there in the coming weeks. We’re actually going to go hit in the place and just find out how big a factor that video board comes into play,” Vancouver Canadians president Andy Dunn told Team 1040. “And if it doesn’t come into play, hopefully that’s something we’ll definitely be working on and bringing some exhibition games to BC Place.”
Over the last several years, ticket sales have soared for Vancouver Canadians home games at Nat Bailey Stadium to the point that most of the games this season have sold out well in advance. Bringing a MLB exhibition game to Vancouver could potentially foster greater local interest with professional baseball.
MLB exhibition games were previously played inside BC Place’s old marshmallow dome during the 1980s and 1990s. Sections of the stadium’s lower bowl grandstands were designed to retract to allow for the floor to be converted into a regulation size baseball diamond.
Earlier this spring, the Bluejays completed their spring training with two exhibition games at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. It was the first time MLB games were played in Montreal ever since the Expos relocated to Washington D.C. in 2004 to become the Washington Nationals.
A baseball game at BC Place Stadium will not come until spring 2015 at the very earliest. Meanwhile, sports fans looking to enjoy professional sports at home (other than hockey) can look forward to October’s NBA Toronto Raptors pre-season game at Rogers Arena.