Parents are understandably nervous these days about exposing themselves and their kids to situations where they are in a large crowd for an extended period of time. However, my daughter and I went to a Blue Jays game last night and had an amazing time! (It helps that we won, of course.) We never felt unsafe and the organized staff members at the Rogers Centre were really on the ball (pun intended).
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, as they say. That was definitely the case here after waiting over 600 days between home games. Everyone – fans, players and employees alike – was so excited to be together that the mood felt like it was already the playoffs. We did “the wave” over and over again!
Here are some ways that the experience is different this year, plus some money-saving tips for families going to the games…
- The infield sections of the 100 and 200 Levels have standard seating but the baseline and outfield sections have seating “pods” where groups of 1-4 can get some extra breathing room. Numerous families with small children, including us, were sitting in these areas for this reason. We had a couple sitting directly behind us (possibly because we were on the aisle) but no one was directly in front of us and there were three empty seats between us and the next group in our aisle.
- Attendees are asked to stay in their seats, except to get food and go to the washrooms, where masks are required. Ushers even carry little signs to gently remind people to wear their masks while seated (except while eating or drinking).
- Food and beverage options have pivoted from self-serve options, such as fountain drinks and condiment stations, to packaged goods. Freshly prepared foods are individually packaged to reduce contact.
- Hand sanitizing stations are spread out around the building and cleaning protocols have been increased.
- Touchless systems are in place: credit card tap machines are at all concession stands and, upon entry, entry tickets are scanned digitally by QR code.
- The domed roof will be open all season in order to be considered an outdoor event. In inclement weather, the roof is partly closed and extra ventilation is added.
- Unfortunately, there isn’t a batting practice as in previous years where you could get autographs on the baselines or catch baseballs in the outfield, because fans need to stay in their own seats. No word yet, but it also seems unlikely that the Jr. Jays post-game running of the bases will be taking place this year either.
- For full details, you can read the Rogers Centre’s Health & Safety information here.
Money-Saving Tips & Tricks
- Bringing in outside food is allowed, as long as it’s wrapped or contained and small enough to fit under the seats, as per their bag policy. Non-alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles under 600ml are also okay.
- Some foods are expensive (particularly alcohol) but the Dugout Deal Menu at the Sections 137 and 239 offers kid-sized and affordable options, including popcorn, soft-serve ice cream, nachos and hot dogs.
- Bring a reusable water bottle and re-fill it at water fountains located around the concourse. 100 Level: near Sections 107, 115, 137; 200 Level: near Sections 207, 219, 229, 241
- Grab a cheap pre-game lunch or dinner before the game. There are fast-food options along Bremner Boulevard and at the new Union Station food court, an easy walk to the Rogers Centre.
- There’s a free downloadable program for kids on the Blue Jays website called the Fan Pack and kids activities on the ACE’s Clubhouse page.
- The outfield seats in Levels 100 and 200 are a good deal, unless your kids are desperate to see the jumbotron. Plus you might catch a home run ball!
- More a tip to save your skin and sanity, but for matinée games, the shadiest spots are on the 200 Level 3rd baseline and outfield. On the 100 Level, the upper rows get the shade earlier and lower rows later, but at least the sun is at your back.
Toronto Blue Jays
When: Tickets for the next two home-stands (August 20-26, August 30-September 5) go on sale Thursday, August 5, 2021.
(Update: All home games are on sale, with regular season games ending October 3, 2021)
Where: Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto