Argos move home game to Ottawa to avoid conflict with Jays
Rogers Centre could be hosting American League wild-card game on Oct. 6
The Toronto Argonauts are moving what was supposed to be a home game against the Ottawa Redblacks in early October to the nation’s capital, anticipating the Rogers Centre will be unavailable because of a Toronto Blue Jays playoff run.
“As an organization, our preference is not to have our team play back-toback games in Ottawa,” said Argos executive chairman and CEO Chris Rudge, whose team is also scheduled to visit the Redblacks Sept. 26. “But this is an extraordinary circumstance and TD Place Stadium is available, CFL-ready and broadcast-ready.”
The Oct. 6 matchup, one of four Argos games originally scheduled to take place at the Rogers Centre that month, fell the same night as an American League wild-card game.
It will now take place in Ottawa at 7:30 p.m., whether or not the Jays make the post-season. Currently sitting in first place atop the American League East division, the Jays will bypass the wild-card game if they can hold on to that spot.
But the Argos game will stay put in Ottawa not matter what. With baseball season finishing the first week of October, it would be too late for fans and stakeholders to make other arrangements, Argos spokesman Eric Holmes said.
Plus there wouldn’t be adequate conversion time if the Argos played at the Rogers Centre on Oct. 6 and the Jays hosted an AL Divisional Series game there Oct. 8.
TD Place is the fourth stadium the team has called home this season. They hosted the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium during pre-season before their season opener in Fort McMurray against the Edmonton Eskimos on June 27.
Jeff Hunt, president of the Redblacks parent company OSEG Sports, said Wednesday they were thrilled to be able to offer Ottawans an extra game in the city.
The 6-4 Redblacks and the 6-5 Argonauts are battling for playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.
The Argos knew for some time they might need to find somewhere else to play come October, Rudge said in his statement Wednesday.
Rogers Centre officials gave the CFL team written official notice to start looking for alternative locations several weeks ago because of the Blue Jays’ “tremendous success” this season.
“While this scenario certainly offers some challenges to our team, I would like everyone to know that we are excited for the run the Blue Jays have made to date and we wish them best of luck down the stretch and, hopefully, into the post-season,” Rudge said.
Fans who have purchased tickets to the Oct. 6 game will be contacted by a Toronto Argonauts ticket representative in the near future.
Rudge told the Canadian Press in August if the Jays reached the AL Championship Series, the Argo games scheduled for Oct. 17 against Calgary and Oct. 23 against Montreal would also be displaced.
The Argos couldn’t say Wednesday where those games would be played if necessary. Last month, Rudge said the Argos had reached out to many other stadiums about hosting the affected games and that Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton was the most likely venue.
This is the last season the Argos will play at the Rogers Centre. The team is moving to BMO Field next season, where it will share the facility with Toronto FC.