The Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk on efforts to make the former SkyDome a classier sort of baseball venue.
After committing $110 million (U.S.) to future contracts this summer, the Blue Jays are hoping their fans are in the mood to couple new-found optimism with high-end consumerism. Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jack. Try the Pinot and Cabernet.
Both designer grape juices were available in The Wine Lounge at Rogers Centre last night, a chi-chi addition to the concrete cavern formerly known as SkyDome that feels more nightclub than night game. Last night, above the 200-level seats behind home plate, expense-account enthusiasts were afforded the option of sipping a ’98 Dom Perignon (which is a Champagne listed on the menu for $480 a bottle) while watching Bengie Molina uncork the first home run of the Jays’ season. In a year bubbling with high-end expectations ” with a standing-room-only crowd of 50,449 turning out for a 6-3 season-opening win over the Minnesota Twins ” the buzz is as expensive as it is impressive.
“There’s a new energy in here,” said Allan Ezer, a 29-year-old season-ticket holder, stepping away from a luxurious buffet table with a well-mannered portion shrimp and pancetta penne. “We’ve turned the corner. The Leafs have been a letdown, so hopefully baseball will take over.”
The most expensive wine on the list, a 2001 Bordeaux, is $660. The third most expensive wine on the list, the 2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia that goes for $490, is advertised as “Wine Spectator MVP” 2005. As a pressbox connoisseur with access to the Wine Spectator’s website venomously pointed out, the Insignia is, indeed, a one-time MVP. But the MVP year wasn’t 2001.