Playoff journal: Roof helps make Toronto's special playoff moment even better

TORONTO — Maybe, for some people, baseball under a roof feels normal. If you’ve experienced something enough, it generally does. And it’s the wave of the future. As cities spend more and more money on playgrounds for billionaires and their sporting enterprises, it only makes sense to have facilities that can be put to use 365 days a year, rain or shine, hot or cold, whatever the world brings to the door.Still, when you walk up to the ballpark on a crisp fall day, the bright sun warming one side of the street but the shade providing palpable chill on the other, it is a bit jarring to go inside and find that the blue sky has been blotted out by a lattice of support beams and an overarching cap. FAGAN: Blue Jays all the way? | MORE: Jays' logos, uniforms over the yearsIt’s not just the visual effect. Hours before Game 1 of the American League division series, with a carnival-like atmosphere outside leading up to the Blue Jays’ first playoff game in 22 years, it was nearly silent inside the place that was called SkyDome when it opened in 1989, an architectural marvel that drew its name from the two possibilities for what might be above the playing field. The roof, closed because of a slight chance of rain as day progressed toward evening, blocks out the ambient noise of the world, noise that you don’t really notice until it’s not there. Music accompanies home batting practice, and it sounds a little more normal, though the crack of the bat really pops more. As fans start to filter in, the sounds are oddly amplified. People in the lower level of the stadium, who should not be audible in the press box, can be heard squawking.And the noise builds… and builds… and builds… until the place is full and i

t’s something incredible. The atmosphere in a domed stadium that is full is something to behold. Combine that with the two-plus decades of waiting, and it is something very special.Particularly special on Thursday, then, was the ovation during pregame introductions for Jose Bautista, the longest-tenured member of the Blue Jays, acquired from the Pirates in 2008 for Robinzon Diaz, on his way to a career of little distinction, and then suddenly the best reason to watch baseball in Toronto when he smacked 54 homers for a fourth-place team in 2010. Bautista has been an All-Star every year this decade, a standard bearer for improbable ascension — something that finally applied to his team this year as the Blue Jays went from 50-51 and eight games out of first place in July to rolling to a six-game win in the American League East and status as just about prohibitive favorites for the pennant.When you don’t have a dog in the fight, if you walk away from a playoff game with something you’ll remember for years, the day has been a success. Regardless of the way the game went on to play out, that happened in Toronto on Thursday afternoon because of the bond between a player and the fans of a city that went without success for so long. It would have been special outdoors, too, but the volume boost provided by being indoors took the roof from weird aerial interloper to helpful aid to a special moment.


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