Craig Calcaterra

Mark Shapiro

Mark Shapiro says the Blue Jays really don’t need natural grass


In 2014 reports began to circulate that the Blue Jays were looking into putting natural grass in Rogers Centre once the stadium stops being used for football as well as baseball. Which seems like an excellent idea. Baseball is better on grass than on turf and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of Jays players and would-be Jays players have cited the wear and tear artificial turf puts on their bodies. It’s something that gets mentioned often enough that you have to wonder if having the fake stuff puts the Jays at a competitive disadvantage.

While putting natural grass in Rogers Centre would be a pretty complicated undertaking, the impression left, based on multiple reports over the past year or two, was that it was going to happen. Yesterday, however, team president Mark Shapiro sounded like it’s not a done deal at all and may not, in fact, go down:

“In my opinion, we don’t need it. My opinion is clearly it would be better. It’s just a question of the alternatives and what are we going to have to choose between,” he said. “I like the game better, I think everyone likes the game better on natural grass. Do we need it? No.”

One can assume the “choose between” comment is a reference to the cost involved in putting in natural grass. Tradeoffs, you know.

Which might make some Jays fans a bit anxious. Jays fans who got super excited last year when Alex Anthopoulos traded for David Price and the Blue Jays surged in the second half. Then, as soon as Shapiro took over, word circulated that he criticized Anthopoulos for trading away prospects. Under Shapiro, the Jays were reported to have not even made an offer to Price in free agency.

In Cleveland, Shapiro was popular with ownership for his handling of the Indians finances. He kept costs low, at least, while attendance and win totals fell. Given the Jays’ approach to things over the past couple of months, you wonder if that’s what the Blue Jays wanted him for too. And whether the same results which were acceptable to ownership in Cleveland will be acceptable to ownership in Toronto.

The Yasiel Puig bar fight may not have been as bad as it sounded

Yasiel Puig
Associated Press

Before we get to this, can we all agree that we would all buy “Yasiel Puig‘s bar fight” for Sony Playstation if it were made available? Heck, I’d pre-order it and then take a week off work to play it. Anyway:

Jon Heyman reports that according to “word from someone briefed on the encounter,” the altercation at the Miami nightclub last month was started when Puig was trying to play peacemaker between his sister and her boyfriend. Heyman’s source that Puig got “a bit loud” and was asked to leave. Apparently Puig left too slowly and the bouncers got physical and one hit him in the eye. He hit back, end of story.

Obviously it’s hard to know what really happened and Puig’s people have an interest in this not being a domestic situation of any kind, but this sounds a tad less extreme than initial reports made it out to be. If Heyman’s source is correct it’s hard to see how Puig would be disciplined under MLB’s new domestic violence policy.

The Rangers re-sign Colby Lewis

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis (48) throws to Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning in Game 4 of baseball's American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Associated Press
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Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers have reached an agreement with Colby Lewis on a one-year, $6 million contract. The deal is pending a physical and likely won’t be officially announced after Christmas.

Lewis posted a 4.66 ERA and 142/42 K/BB ratio over 204 2/3 innings this past season. He had knee surgery in October, but if the Rangers are willing to commit to him for 2016 they’re likel