Friday, February 05, 2010

The SkyDome's Ribald Past

I saw that SF Giants were having a Visa pre-sale for the 2010 season and I thought I'd go to the Blue Jay's website to see if tickets went on sale there and what the pricing was for the year. No such luck, but I found the Rogers Centre seating map and noticed HOTEL::

That jarred my memory, as I seem to recall various stories throughout the 90s about risqué going-ons at the Renaissance Hotel overlooking the field in the SkyDome. Sure enough, a Google search found this article, originally in the Ottawa Sun, which ran after a July 2008 incident of a topless woman in on of the 70 rooms overlooking the field. Here's the rundown, along with Jay's results {but no box scores}::

Other incidents at the Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome, and game results:
May 1990-During a Blue Jays game, hotel security and police throw out a man who was seen masturbating behind a hotel room window that overlooked the baseball diamond. Police said the man thought he was behind a one-way window.
May 1990-A couple has sex in one of the 70 hotel rooms overlooking a ball game attended by 55,000 fans. The couple -- who apparently weren't aware they could be seen with the lights off -- were "mortified." The incident received media attention around the world, including five minutes on The Arsenio Hall Show.
The Jays lost.
May 1990-The Renaissance Hotel at the then-SkyDome adopts a new policy, which makes patrons of the very public rooms sign a waiver agreeing they won't do anything rude in front of the windows. Reminders are also placed in the rooms overlooking the diamond.
May 1995-In front of 40,000 fans, a couple has sex in a chair right next to the window overlooking the field during the 7th inning of a Jays-Royals match. The couple were seen right above the then-Jumbotron (now the Rogers Centre videoboard).
The Jays lost.
May 1996-At a Jays-Red Sox game attended by 31,000 fans, a couple puts on what reporters dubbed a "20-minute sex show." Hotel staff consider making waivers more explicit, and even installing one-way glass in the diamond-side rooms.
The Jays won.
September 1997-Reporters and cameramen spot a couple, tucked high up in the cheap seats of the SkyDome, having sex.
The Jays won.
July 2008-After more than a decade where nudity and sex in the Renaissance hotel rooms at the Rogers Centre go unreported, an attractive blond woman -- surrounded by men -- was seen wearing nothing but a thong and a smile in one of the hotel's suites during a Jays-Yankees game.  
The Jays lost. "

I've never been to the SkyDome, I mean Rogers Centre, and I look forward to checking it out.  I remember seeing Jays highlights the summer it opened in 1989 and won a bet that they would take the AL East.  The Oakland As would go on to win the ALCS and play in the ill-fated Bay Area World Series, marred by the Loma Prieta quake. Wikipedia had details on the "opening celebration", which was practically comedic::
"The roof was opened by the Premier of the Province, David Peterson, who pointed a laser pen at the ceiling to officially 'open' it. The roof opened, exposing the crowd to a downpour of rain. This while a crowd of famous Canadians sang a song on stage that was written specifically for the opening, with the lyrics: "Open up, Open up the Dome". Yet as the crowd got increasingly wet, they could be heard chanting "Close the roof". But Stadco president Chuck Magwood insisted that the roof fully open. And once open, a group of civilian skydivers flew into the now soaked stadium often skidding across the concrete floor to the cheers of the audience. By the time the roof had opened, most of the crowd had sought refuge in the concourse areas and beneath the overhangs of the various parts of the structure."
Ironic, given that the impetus for getting the SkyDome built was a Grey Cup game at Exhibition Centre that was played in severely inclement weather. The stadium would have political implications. It was a public/private partnership that cost $570M CAN, with the hotel and health club adding $112M to the price tag. The Ontario Liberals would take the heat for overspending on the project, which, in its first year made only $17M, while servicing debt of $40M. Bob Rae's New Democrats inherited the debt-laden venue and managed to pay the debt down and sell the SkyDome in early 1994 for a huge discount of $151M.

Twitterversion::  Searches for #BlueJays tix reminds me of risqué shenanigans at the hotel overlooking the SkyDome field in the 90s. @Prof_K

Song:: Kylie Minogue-"Can't Get You Out of My Head"

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