Blue Jays reportedly getting dirty in 2016. Finally.


The Toronto Blue Jays will reportedly be adding a full dirt infield this offseason, similar to what the Tampa Bay Rays have at Tropicana Field

It’s not grass, but at this point, any progress in the ‘Dome is good news. It appears that the Blue Jays are prepared to install a full dirt infield ahead of the 2016 season, improving both the optics of the ball field and the potential physical wear on their infielders. The move was first hinted at last night by Stephen Brooks, the Blue Jays senior vice president of business operations.

The National Post’s John Lott confirmed this much with a source of his own late last night, so we can safely assume that all systems are go. Mark Shapiro seemed to put a damper on any natural grass talks earlier this week, but the dirt infield represents a more affordable first step.

From the fan perspective, the dirt infield will create a much more pleasing baseball optic. The majority of the visual complaints we hear about the Rogers Centre have to do with the exposed concrete and unnatural feel. So while this infield won’t exactly turn the ‘Dome back into a classic like Wrigley Field or AT&T Park, it’s a small shift in the right direction.

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For players, the hope will be that having dirt underfoot on the infield will be more forgiving than the artificial turf. This is especially important for Troy Tulowitzki, who’s dealt with several injuries in recent years and will be covering a lot of ground at shortstop. The same goes for Josh Donaldson at third base and Devon Travis at second, who the Blue Jays hope to see develop into their healthy longterm starter.

I’ll be interested to hear from players like Ben Revere as to how the dirt impacts their base running and speed, though I assume it would help more than hurt. We’ll also be saved from the daily reminder that a runner is thinking of stealing because their lead foot is “on the carpet”.

So while this isn’t the grander project fans are hoping for, and I’m sure we’ll find an anti-Shapiro narrative in this immediately (can the dirt infield pitch!?), it’s inarguably good news. Lott says that the project will take place through February when no events are scheduled at the stadium, and it will be fully complete by opening day.