Illustrated by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday August 23, 2014
Two-Thirds of the New Stadium for Labour Day Classic
At so many steps along the way in the endless saga of Tim Hortons Field, it’s been easy to come to the conclusion that things couldn’t possibly get any more ridiculous.
Apparently they could.
While it’s certainly encouraging to hear that progress is being made and the place may be partially ready for the Labour Day game — a final decision will be made early next week — the fact that the word partially is included in that sentence is just another head-shaking moment in a long string of them.
Honestly, who opens a brand-new stadium halfway? These moments come along once every generation or longer in most cities.
You’d have to be 92 years old to have been alive the last time a new stadium opened here. So it’s a big deal. Yes, even historic.
Can you imagine any other major city unveiling its largest construction project and one of its centrepieces when it’s not yet done? Neither can we. Yet in Hamilton, it appears we’re going to ease our way into it as if we’re moving into our new house but can’t use the unfinished master bedroom, dining room and kitchen.
If the word embarrassing hadn’t been so overused, we’d throw it out here again.
On the flip side, what other choice is there? Blame the Ticats all you want for refusing the West Harbour, but that’s old news now. At this point, the team has been backed into a corner and has no choice but to do what it can with this situation.
If the city says the stadium can be used, the Cats probably can’t refuse to play there and still expect the contractor to pay them $1 million a game in penalties. Not without a fight. Besides, where would they play instead?
Back at Mac? They’re going to turn down 18,000 seats to go with 6,000? Even if they wanted to do that, the Marauders have the field locked up for their opener, which starts at the exact same time. Right as thousands of students are trying to move into their residences, which would create traffic havoc on campus.
Could the Cats go back to Guelph? Possibly, though there are only 4,500 seats, so most fans would have to stand or sit on the hill around the field. That said, the university’s athletic director has expressed his willingness to make something happen if needed. (Source: Scott Radley, Hamilton Spectator)