By now everyone knows that the Toronto Argonauts have been forced to move their October 6 home game versus the Ottawa Redblacks to TD Place in Ottawa due to a possible scheduling conflict with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Before the official announcement was made yesterday, one of the options considered was playing the game in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field. For Argos fans and the team itself, this would likely have been the preferred option. Hamilton is just an hour down the road from Toronto, so it would not have disrupted the team’s routine too much and plenty of Argos fans would have been able to make the trip to Hamilton, something many are unlikely or unwilling to do for a Tuesday “home” game in Ottawa.
But while it might have been desirable for the Argos and their fans, playing the game at Tim Hortons Field was never truly a viable option, or at least it shouldn’t have been.
The Argos-Redblacks game is sandwiched in-between two Tiger-Cats home games, their October 2 showdown against the Calgary Stampeders and their October 9 game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Had the Argos been relocated to Hamilton for one game, it would have likely caused a disruption for the Ticats, forcing them to move their scheduled Tuesday practice off-site — at McMaster, in all likelihood — on the day of the Argos-Redblacks.
While I am sympathetic to the plight the Argos face, forcing the Ticats to alter their routine should simply not have been an option. The Ticats have already sacrificed enough practice time over the course of the last two and a half seasons — remember that during their time in Guelph, the delayed stadium completion and the Pan Am Games, the Ticats lost hours of practice time shuttling players back and forth from McMaster — and doing so to help another CFL team was one sacrifice the team simply did not have to make.
The Ticats, nor any other team, bear any responsibility to ensure that a fellow league mate’s interests are looked after. Their priorities are to their team and their best interests, and it simply would not have been in the Ticats’ best interests to have the Argos play their game against the Redblacks at Tim Hortons Field.
Also, there would likely have been no financial benefit to the team to host the game in Hamilton. It is highly likely that Toronto owner David Braley is going to pocket all the ticket sale money from the game being played in Ottawa — and game that will likely be close to, if not an actual, sell out — and the same deal would likely have been in place for any game played at Tim Hortons Field.
Again, I feel bad for the Argos and what that team has had to endure during their final season at the SkyDome, but with no monetary incentive to the team coupled with a disruption to their normal work, it was simply not an option for the Argos to play their October 6 game against the Redblacks at Tim Hortons Field.