Howard Talbot Park, the home field of the Ryerson Rams baseball team, will be shut down for the remainder of the season due to poor drainage and flooding.
“Talbot has always drained poorly and anyone that plays baseball in Toronto is aware of that,” Rams baseball head coach Ben Rich said. “But this goes beyond anything we’ve experienced in terms of poor drainage.”
Water from a storm drain near the third base line has flooded some of the foul territory. Regardless of the weather, the playing surface remains swampy and unplayable.
The Leaside Baseball Association (LBA) leases the field from the City of Toronto. The day before Ryerson’s home opener, the LBA and city officials examined the field and determined the surface is unplayable, forcing the Rams to find another place to play.
They hosted the York Lions at Lambert Wilson Field in Aurora the next day and won the doubleheader. The following weekend, the team was forced to play a pair of “home” games over 100 kilometres away from campus in Waterloo against Laurier, and lost both games.
The team is set to play each of its remaining home games on different turfs: U of T’s Dan Lang Field, Stan Wadlow Park in East York and Bond Park in North York. The City of Toronto hasn’t informed Ryerson of a reopening date, and the club has yet to explore options for next season’s home field.
The Rams have moved past the home field problem, shifting their focus to winning games. “It’s the reality that we face, we have to move past it and look beyond it,” Rich said. “We can’t spend the rest of the season sulking about our home park.”
Field conditions haven’t been an obstacle for the baseball team in the past, but Ryerson’s sports clubs have dealt with issues at public parks before. Last year, the men’s soccer team was forced to move a key playoff game to Downsview Park because of construction at Monarch Park Stadium.
The Rams baseball team will continue its regular season today against Western at Stan Wadlow Park.