TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays had one of the best home records in the major leagues this season.
They have an even better winning percentage when the Rogers Centre roof is open.
The weather might just might allow for the opening of the stadium's retractable roof for Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday afternoon against the Texas Rangers. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 14 degrees Celsius.
"I'd certainly say there is a chance given what I've seen from the weather (forecast)," said Stephen R. Brooks, the Blue Jays' senior vice-president of business operations. "Obviously the league ultimately will make that call in terms of their control of the post-season in discussions with us. If we're in the mid-teen range, that is admittedly pushing the limits a little bit of the mechanics of the roof.
"However we'll cross our fingers and hope for a day similar to what we see outside today. It would be great if we could open the roof tomorrow."
The temperature reached the low 20s on Wednesday afternoon. The roof remained closed as the Blue Jays and Rangers held practice sessions to prepare for the opener in the best-of-five series.
The Blue Jays were 53-28 at home this season — good for a share of top spot in the American League with the Houston Astros. Toronto was a remarkable 38-14 when the roof was open and 11-14 when it was closed.
"I don't have a preference," said Blue Jays ace and Game 1 starter David Price. "I guess whatever our offence wants. It's the best offence in all of baseball so whatever they want is fine with me."
It's also possible that the roof could be open at the start of the game and then be closed later in the afternoon. The Blue Jays were 4-0 this season when the roof was closed midway through a game.
"I think if the temperature is right, everybody likes playing outdoors but we'll see," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "But that's one of the benefits of having the roof. If the weather is ugly, we'll be in good shape."
The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals had the best home record in the majors at 55-26. The Pittsburgh Pirates were even with the Astros and Blue Jays at 53-28.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press