Stadium Timeline

  • Exhibition Stadium
    April 1977-June 1989
  • SkyDome
    June 1989-September 2004
  • Rogers Centre
    SkyDome renamed after the 2004 season following purchase of the stadium by Rogers Communications.

Blue Jays Ballparks
Jump To SkyDome/Rogers Centre >>

 


Exhibition Grounds, Toronto — 1977 to June 1989.

 

Originally built in 1959 for football and then modified in 1975-76 for baseball. It was first called the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium. The Blue Jays played there from April 7, 1977 to May 28, 1989.

 

Exhibition Stadium was problematic for hosting baseball. Like most multi-purpose stadiums, the lower boxes were set further back than comparable seats at baseball-only stadiums. This was magnified by the fact that Canadian football fields are 30 yards longer, and considerably wider, than American football fields. Additionally, it was not a true multi-purpose stadium, but a football stadium that could convert into a baseball stadium. Due to the vaguely horseshoe-shape of the stadium after it was expanded for the Blue Jays, many of the seats down the right field line and in right-centre were extremely far from the infield; they actually faced each other rather than the action. In fact, some seats were as far as 820 feet from home plate — the farthest such distance of any stadium ever used as a principal home field in the majors. Over 10,000 seats in centre field and down the right-field line were so far from the playing field (and did not even directly face the baseball diamond) that the Blue Jays did not even offer them for sale during the regular season.

 

The outfield seats were the only seats that offered protection from the elements. Ironically, they were the cheapest seats.

 

Relatively close to Lake Ontario, the stadium was often quite cold at the beginning and end of the season. The first Blue Jays game played there on April 7, 1977 was the only major league game ever played with the field covered entirely by snow. The Blue Jays had to borrow Maple Leaf Gardens’ Zamboni to clear off the field. Conditions at the stadium led to another odd incident that first year. On September 15, Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver pulled his team off the field because he felt the bricks holding down the bullpen tarps were a hazard to his players. This garnered a win by forfeit for the Jays. It remains the last time in major league baseball history — and the only time since 1914 — that a team deliberately forfeited a game (as opposed to having an umpire call a forfeiture due to unruly fan behaviour).

 

An April 30, 1984 game against the Texas Rangers was postponed due to 60 mph winds. Prior to the game, Ranger manager Doug Rader named Jim Bibby as his starting pitcher, stating that “he’s the heaviest man in the world, and thus will be unaffected by the wind.” However, Bibby would never make it to the mound. Two Rangers batters complained about dirt swirling in their eyes, and Blue Jays starting pitcher Jim Clancy was blown off balance several times. The umpires stopped the game after only six pitches. After a 30-minute delay, the game was called off.

 

The stadium also occasionally had problems with fog, once causing a bizarre inside-the-park home run for Kelly Gruber, when an otherwise routine pop up was lost by the outfielders in the thick fog.

 

CAPACITY

  • 43,737 for baseball
  • 53,816 for football

DISTANCES FROM HOMEPLATE

  • Left field: 330 feet (100 meters)
  • Left-center field: 375 feet (114 meters)
  • Centre field: 400 feet (122 meters)
  • Right-center field: 375 feet (114 meters)
  • Right field: 330 feet (100 meters)
  • Back stop: 60 feet (18 meters)

DUGOUTS

  • Blue Jays: Third base line
  • Visitors: First base line

FENCE HEIGHT

  • 12 feet, lower eight feet were padded

FORFEIT
The Blue Jays have played one forfeit game, a 9-0 decision vs Baltimore on September 15, 1977. In that game Jim Clancy had held the Orioles to two-hits over five innings before Earl Weaver pulled his club off the field. His reason was that the tarps on the Blue Jays bullpen created a hazard for his players.

 

GROUND RULES

  • Foul poles are outside of playing filed. Any batted ball hitting foul pole above fence is a home run.
  • Ball sticking in fence or padding, or going through wire screen in front of general admission stands – 2 bases.
  • Ball remaining under or behind tarpaulin – out of play.
  • Ball going into bullpen bench and rebounding onto playing field – In Play.
  • Ball hitting any portion of fence or screen in back of home plate – In Play.
  • Ball hitting padding and bouncing over fence – 2 bases.
  • A fairly batted or thrown ball that crosses the yellow line in front of the dugouts is considered in the dugout.

LOCATION

  • North: Gardiner Expressway and Ontario Drive
  • West: Prince’s Boulevard
  • South: Lakeshore Boulevard and Exhibition Place
  • East: New Brunswick Way and CNE Amusement Park

NO-HITTER
There never was a no-hitter pitched at Exhibition Stadium.

 

SCOREBOARD
Built by Stewart-Warner, installed in 1978, was 41 feet high and 131 feet long.

 

SURFACE
Monsanto Astroturf of 160,000 square feet was the largest artificial playing surface in North America. New turf was installed in 1985.

 

SUSPENDED GAME
One game was suspended at Exhibition Stadium: August 28, 1980 in a 7-5, 15-inning loss to Minnesota. The game was suspended after 14 innings due to a 5 p.m. Canadian National Exhibition curfew.



SkyDome from June 1989-2004, renamed Rogers Centre February 2, 2005.

 

Now known as Rogers Centre, this world class entertainment facility has been home to the Toronto Blue Jays since June 5, 1989. The stadium is best known for the retractable roof which is one of many innovations that can be found in a stadium that was ahead of its time. SkyDome was renamed Rogers Centre on February 2, 2005 which marks the first day the Blue Jays had full control of their facility.

 

At conception, the building took an innovative approach to financing, construction and design. Until 1994, it had been owned by The Stadium Corporation of Ontario, a consortium comprised of both public and private funds. The Province of Ontario and the Municipality of Toronto each contributed 30 million dollars. Joining these two levels of government were 30 Canadian corporations including the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club. Each private company contributed 5 million dollars in exchange for preferred supplier status and a SkyBox. Rogers Centre was previously owned by Sportsco International, L.P. (April 1999), the principals of which were Alan Cohen and Harvey Walken. The final construction cost of SkyDome exceeded 500 million dollars.

 

Architects Rod Robbie and Michael Allen designed the building and had patented its retractable roof system. Preparation of the site began in April 1986, with groundbreaking taking place in October of that same year. The last exterior concrete was poured in November of 1988 and the first test of the moveable roof panels took place in January 1989. More than 10,000 person-years of employment were created by the construction of Rogers Centre.

 

ROOF

  • Rogers Centre’s roof system features a series of 3 moveable panels and 1 stationary panel. Panels 2 and 3 slide on parallel rails while panel 1 slides on a circluar rail “tucking” underneath 2 and 3
  • the roof operates on a system of steel tracks and 54 drive mechanisms called “bogies” and is powered by a series of DCmotors that generate over 750 horsepower
  • roof area is 339,343 square feet or 31,525 square metres
  • weight is 11,000 tons
  • span at widest point- 674 feet or 209 metres
  • height is 282 feet or 86 metres (from field level to highest point)
  • covering is single PVC membrane on insulated acoustic steel deck
  • 100% of the field and 91% of the seating area is exposed with the roof open
  • open/close time — 20 minutes (71 feet or 21 metres per minute)

VIDEO BOARD

  • In 2005, the club purchased an integrated display and scoring system from Daktronics
  • Main display in centre field is 33 feet high (10.0 metres) by 110 feet wide (33.6 metres).
  • Colour outfield wall displays, left and right-centre field are 10 feet (3.05 metres) by 65 feet (19.8 metres).
  • The full colour ribbon boards along the 300 level facing are four feet (1.2 metre) by 435 feet (132.6 metres)
  • The scoreboard has highly versatile programming capabilities including the ability to display full colour commercials during events.
  • The screen is one of the industry’s leading with PROSTAR® VIDEOPLUS which utilizes state of the art led (light emitting diode) technology. This will provide excellent resolution, increased brightness and improved viewing angles.
  • The majority of spectators have a great view of the scoreboard.
  • Even those few fans who are sitting in sections beside the video board can still view the screen in addition to the coloured display boards on the outfield wall which measure 10ft high x 65ft /3 metres x 20 metres wide, and coloured display boards on the 300 level facing boards which measure approximately 4ft high x 435 ft/1.3 metres x 132.6 metres long on each side.
  • Images can travel the entire 435 foot span of the screen.
  • The video boards have the ability to work in tandem with one another or independent of one another.

SEATING

  • five levels: 100, 200, 300 Luxury Suites, 400 Luxury Suites, 500 level
  • 49,539 for baseball
  • 49,808 for football
  • 55,000 for concerts
  • 67,000 for other events
  • Concert Hall seats 10,000-25,000
  • Theatre seats 3,000 to 7,000

 

Rogers Centre Seat Map

 

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