Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Philadelphia Phillies fans are not complaining about the three extra games at Citizens Bank Park, but it is an extremely unusual event when a road series gets turned into a home series (sort of), all because of international security concerns. The Phillies had been scheduled to play three games at the Toronto Blue Jays from June 25 through June 27, but those dates coincided with the G-20 meeting in Toronto, so a collective decision was made to move the baseball games out of town, Major League Baseball announced today.
Rogers Sports Entertainment President and CEO Paul Beeston said: "This was an extremely difficult decision and one which we did not take lightly. By moving our games to Philadelphia, we are acting in the best interests of our fans, our employees, the players and the game of baseball. We did not want to move the games but in looking at the realities of this situation, we felt that relocation was the most prudent course of action."Ever since the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle, and the protests which were staged there (the "Battle in Seattle"), security has been very tight at all major international economic meetings. The home park of the Blue Jays, Rogers Centre, is close to the convention center where the G-20 participants will meet, and evidently the logistics of providing fan access to the ball games would have been too complex. So, faced with the prospect of anti-globalization or anti-capitalist protesters, MLB decided that, like W.C. Fields, on the whole, they would rather be in Philadelphia.
The games in Philadelphia will actually be home games for the Jays -- the designated hitter rule will be used (as if this interleague series was being played in the AL park) and the Jays will bat in the bottom of the inning.
It spoils the return of pitcher Roy Halladay, who was the long-time ace of the Blue Jays, and signed with the Phillies as a free agent this past off-season.
There is no word on whether Philadelphia police will be loaning their Taser equipment to security forces in Toronto.
UPDATE: SportsProf has a funnier post on this topic.