The two cities share a rich and legendary baseball history but since 1959 have traversed radically different paths in the concept and practice of sport
By TONY SEED*
The 2015 Pan Am Games, being hosted by Toronto and with the celebration of friendship amongst the peoples of the Americas and the Caribbean as one of its positive themes, evokes a memory of the sporting links between the cities of Toronto and Havana, which date back to 1954.
During most of the 1950s the Havana Sugar Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs were two of the flagship franchises in baseball’s International League, classified as AAA, a rung below US Major League Baseball (MLB). Continue reading
WHEN the revenues from a stadium begin to wane, sports tradition is to demand a new one, whether the old facility is a century old or has barely had time for its concrete to set. Surely, the Jays (along with every other team in baseball) have salivated over the steel-and-brick, baseball-only parks that have sprung up across the U.S. in the post-SkyDome era. But would they really demand a new ballpark, barely a decade removed from their last multimillion-dollar gift from the people of Ontario? Continue reading
TORONTO’S SKYDOME is the mother of “public-private partnerships” (P3) championed by neo-liberals as the template for economic development. It siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to benefit private sports teams, the coffers of the construction monopolies and the finance capitalists who own Ontario’s debt. Whether the SkyDome ultimately came in “on budget” or not was irrelevant to the monopolies that were guaranteed their profits. As author/journalist Neil deMause reveals in his indepth exposé, when the budget was exceeded, in 1991 the financial oligarchy quickly swooped in to lend yet more money guaranteed by the state. The SkyDome reflects a medieval character of spending for the pleasure of a tiny aristocratic elite leaving the people to be spectators of the narcosis of American professional sport and consumers of a giant circus in which they participate only in a marginalized way. – Tony Seed Continue reading
1969-75: Various proposals are floated to build a publicly financed domed stadium to attract a major-league baseball team to Toronto; all meet significant public opposition, and none are seriously pursued.
1975: City spends $18 million to renovate then-26-year-old Exhibition Stadium. April 1977: The Blue Jays begin play at the Ex. Continue reading