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Let’s play ball: An early look inside Rogers Centre ahead of anticipated Blue Jays return – 680 News

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OK, Blue Jays. Let’s play ball.

After well over a year (670 days, to be exact) without baseball – and sports in general – the boys of summer will play in front of fans on Friday night for the first time since September 2019.

It’s been nearly 22 months since avid supporters have been able to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – amid a breakout season – tear the cover of a fastball down the middle at Rogers Centre.

Unless you could catch a game in Dunedin, Fla. or Buffalo, N.Y. to see them, fans haven’t witnessed lefty ace Hyun-Jin Ryu or big free-agent signing George Springer live in a Blue Jays uniform at all.

That’s about to change.

After being approved by the federal government to play home games in Toronto again, 15,000 fans will be allowed into the Rogers Centre starting Friday when the team begins a three-game homestand against the Kansas City Royals.

To say a lot has changed would be an understatement as there will be several public health measures and restrictions in place and moving forward.

680 NEWS was granted an early inside look at the Rogers Centre to see how staff plan to welcome back fans.

Entry to the ballpark:

Blue Jays personnel say it’s all about making fans feel at home and comfortable. Strict mobile ticketing for contact tracing purposes will be applied. Here are some more examples.

  • Symptom screening check
  • Masks must be worn at all times while seated (unless while eating or drinking) and while exploring the concourse.
  • Employees will hand out masks at gates upon entry
  • Physical distances enforced
  • Enhanced cleaning before, during and after games


Per the latest provincial reopening guidelines, 15,000 fans will be the max capacity for now. In contrast, the Rogers Centre can hold upwards of 45,000 fans during ordinary circumstances. Free t-shirts will be given to fans with the date and “Home” written on the front.

There are two types of bowl seating options available for fans: standard or physically distanced. Standard physical distancing measures will also apply.

Bathrooms: 


Officials say bathrooms will be heavily sanitized before and after games. There will be designated entry and exit points designed so attendees can move quickly to avoid crowding. There will also be a max capacity for people using these facilities.

Concessions, water access, and Jays Shop

As much as you may have missed the Blue Jays, we know you have been secretly craving one of those footlong hot dogs. An ice-cold beer? Yeah, we get it.

The Rogers Centre will be completely cashless, meaning it’s debit or credit for you. Health and safety protocols will be enforced at all times, with food cooked fresh and wrapped individually as a result. The concession stands menus have been modified with pre-packaged items to avoid crowding and reduce touch points.

There will be touchless water dispensers scattered across the concourse for easy access.


Eager to buy Blue Jays merchandise to show off your fandom? A Springer jersey? A Vladdy t-shirt? We don’t blame you.

Similarly, the Jays Shop will be completely cashless (debit, credit, gift cards) and operate under regular hours. The store has been closed since November due to the pandemic.

Staff say the store is fully stocked, and there will be a max capacity of 100 people allowed inside. Security will stand outside to count.

Seating and tickets: 

It bears repeating: A mask must be worn at all times, even while seated unless eating or drinking. Fans must remain seated when the game is in action.

As mentioned, there are two types of bowl seating options available for fans: standard or physically distanced. Tickets in the “100L and 200L” infield and TD Clubhouse are standard seating, while those in the 100L and 200L outfield and bases are physically distanced pods of up to four seats.


TD Executive Suites are operating at limited capacity with a minimum of six tickets.

The WestJet Flight Deck will be open for standing room as usual. Although, “pods” of up to six people will be outlined for those wishing to watch part of the game in the outfield, socially distanced.

The team also announced it would host 250 frontline workers in a complimentary seating section for each of the 10 games.

Season ticket holders for 2021 and 2022 gained access to tickets earlier last week.

Tickets for games from Friday to August 8 went on sale to the general public on July 22. Tickets for future games will be announced later to ensure the latest health and safety protocols are in place.

General gameday updates/retractable roof: 

All in all, personnel say their goal is to deliver the ultimate fan experience. President Mark Shapiro said they’re hoping to keep the roof open as often as possible to encourage proper airflow.


Interestingly, officials say that the roof could stay open even with inclement weather. With extreme weather and the roof being fully closed, stadium doors will remain open. A pre-game ceremony will be held on Friday, similar to opening day, and “Home Plate Lady” will deliver the first pitch.

Officials are encouraging fans to arrive at the park no later than 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. As for in-stadium upgrades, personnel say a new field was installed with an improved turf system. An extra pad was placed under the two-tone turf. They also expanded the size of dugouts to create more space.

Rogers is the parent company of 680 NEWS.


With files from 680 NEWS Digital Lead Andrew Osmond

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Ticats list Watford as starting QB vs. Stampeders – TSN

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David Watford has been listed as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats starting quarterback for Friday’s game against the Calgary Stampeders.

The move comes after Watford took the majority of snaps in practice this week with Jeremiah Masoli limited due to a rib injury. Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer told said Thursday the decision would be based on how Masoli was feeling.

Watford has completed six passes this season for 78 yards.

Masoli opened the season as the team’s starting quarterback, but was replaced by Dane Evans. Evans was ruled out for four-to-six weeks with an Oblique injury on Monday.

Masoli, 33, has completed 41 of 66 passes this season for 371 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.

The Tiger-Cats will be looking to get back to .500 with a win Friday against the Stampeders (2-4).

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AC Leonard receives an additional one-game suspension; six players fined – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — The Canadian Football League announced the following on Thursday:

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman A.C. Leonard has been suspended for one additional game due to a verbal abuse and unacceptable behaviour towards the doping control officers. Leonard was previously suspended for two games for failing to provide a sample for drug testing.

Fines from Week 6:

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders safety Mike Edem was fined for a tourist hit on Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Nic Demski.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris was fined for grabbing Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Christian Campbell’s facemask in a reckless and unsafe manner.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais was fined for his involvement in instigating the altercation between the two teams.
  • Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Justin Lawrence was fined for a chop-block on Edmonton Elks defensive lineman Jake Ceresna.
  • Edmonton Elks linebacker Nyles Morgan was fined for kicking Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Bryce Bell.

An additional fine from Week 5:

  • Toronto Argonauts defensive back Shaquille Richardson was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct in the Labour Day Classic against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

As per league policy, the amounts of the player fines were not disclosed.

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Hopkins converts second chance to give Washington wild win over Giants – Sportsnet.ca

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LANDOVER, Md. — Taylor Heinicke and Dustin Hopkins made the most of their second chances.

Washington needed every last second — and then some — to earn a long-awaited win over the New York Giants.

Hopkins made a 43-yard field goal on an untimed down — after a penalty negated his miss seconds earlier — and Washington beat New York 30-29 on Thursday night, snapping a five-game win streak for the Giants in the series.

It also gave Heinicke another moment in the sun after he cost Washington dearly with a late interception. The 28-year-old quarterback was making his second career start in the regular season and first since 2018 with Carolina. He became a bit of a sensation when Washington had to use him in last season’s playoffs against Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, but his team lost that game.

“It’s amazing,” Heinicke said. “The first start was what, two or three years ago in Carolina? Threw three picks, tore my tricep, it was just a brutal thing — and that was my last start until last year (against) Tampa. Come in to Tampa last year, had a good game, but ultimately fell up short. And finally get that first win.”

Heinicke, playing because of an injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick, threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns.

His interception set up Graham Gano’s fifth field goal of the game, which gave the Giants a 29-27 lead with 2:00 remaining. Heinicke then guided Washington back into field goal range.

“He does have the ability to throw the ball and make all the throws. We’ve seen that,” coach Ron Rivera said. “And he’s got a lot of confidence.”

Hopkins missed his first attempt to win the game, but he was given a reprieve when Dexter Lawrence was flagged for being offside. His next attempt was good, giving Washington (1-1) a wild victory.

“Somebody out there check on my mother,” Hopkins said. “She’s probably had a heart attack.”

Daniel Jones threw for 249 yards and a touchdown for the Giants (0-2). He also ran for 95 yards and a TD.

For most of the night, it was Washington’s highly touted defense that wasn’t pulling its weight. New York scored on its first four possessions of the second half, but after the Giants went up 26-20, Heinicke needed just 17 seconds to put Washington ahead.

J.D. McKissic slipped downfield for a 56-yard reception, and then Ricky Seals-Jones outjumped Adoree’ Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that put Washington up 27-26.

The Giants had to punt after that, but as Washington was trying to run out the clock, James Bradberry picked off a pass by Heinicke, giving the Giants the ball at the Washington 20.

Washington’s defense forced a field goal, giving Heinicke another chance. Then the penalty on Lawrence gave Hopkins his extra opportunity.

“It’s going to be a tough lesson,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “I’m not going to put this on Dexter.”

After struggling to stop Justin Herbert and the Chargers last weekend, Washington’s defense had its problems again at the start of this game. New York went 79 yards in 11 plays the first time it had the ball, taking a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Jones.

After Washington tied it on Heinicke’s 11-yard scoring pass to Terry McLaurin, Jones broke free for what initially looked like a 58-yard touchdown run. That play was shortened by a holding penalty, however, and the Giants settled for a field goal.

Washington took a 14-10 lead on a 2-yard TD run by McKissic in the final minute of the half.

Jones found Darius Slayton for a 33-yard TD in the third quarter that put New York ahead 20-14.

MISSED CHANCES

Washington’s biggest defensive breakdown wasn’t punished. With the Giants up 23-20 in the fourth quarter, Slayton was all alone behind the defense, but the pass bounced off his outstretched hands.

That play — and the penalties on the final field goal and the long run by Jones — will likely haunt the Giants during their long break before the next game.

“It’s a pretty tough one. You give it your all and fight and it comes down the tail end,” Giants receiver Sterling Shepard said. “See that first one miss and you see those flags it’s not a fun feeling at all.”

The Giants had 11 penalties for 81 yards. Washington had nine for 80 — and some of those were costly, too.

PERFECT AGAIN

Gano has now made 35 consecutive field goals, the longest active streak in the NFL. His five field goals Thursday included kicks from 47, 52 and 55 yards.

INJURIES

Giants: OL Nick Gates was carted off with a broken leg in the first quarter. Gates, normally a center, played guard Thursday after New York put Shane Lemieux on injured reserve.

Daniel Jones threw for 249 yards and a touchdown for the Giants (0-2). He also ran for 95 yards and a TD.

For most of the night, it was Washington’s highly touted defense that wasn’t pulling its weight. New York scored on its first four possessions of the second half, but after the Giants went up 26-20, Heinicke needed just 17 seconds to put Washington ahead.

J.D. McKissic slipped downfield for a 56-yard reception, and then Ricky Seals-Jones outjumped Adoree’ Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that put Washington up 27-26.

The Giants had to punt after that, but as Washington was trying to run out the clock, James Bradberry picked off a pass by Heinicke, giving the Giants the ball at the Washington 20.

Washington’s defense forced a field goal, giving Heinicke another chance. Then the penalty on Lawrence gave Hopkins his second chance.

Washington: DT Matt Ioannidis left in the first half with a knee injury but returned to the game.

UP NEXT

Giants: New York returns home to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 26.

Washington: Two straight road games await Washington, with the first coming Sept. 26 against the Buffalo Bills.

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