the Toronto Blue JaysThe fan experience is getting a major overhaul in 2023.
Rogers Center, home of the Jays since 1989, has long been criticized for its lack of the true feel of a major league football stadium. The latest update to the retractable playground aims to address this issue.
In July of 2022, the club announced a privately funded, $300 million multi-year renovation that would overhaul the Rogers Center with several projects “focused on modernizing the fan experience and building world-class player facilities”.
The renovations will take place in two phases and will be completed before the start of the 2024 season. This is what the club has been renovating in a ‘Phase One’ process, with the changes taking effect on Opening Day this year.
Raised sheds, exterior walls
To improve the viewing experience, fans need to be closer to the action, and elevated stands in left and right field achieve this goal.
The new setup gets fans amazingly close to warm-up hills. There won’t be any missing seats at level 200 either. Instead, the bullpen will become two levels, with the upper section for pitchers to warm up and the lower section for relievers and bullpen catchers to relax during a game.
These adjustments are bound to have an effect on the players, for better or for worse, as they warm up the bullpen.
“It will create a unique opportunity for our fans to cheer our relievers and perhaps discourage our—best way you can say—opposing relief pitchers,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in July.
When competitors are in divisions such as New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox Come to town, the fans will turn up the heat. Rogers Center already has a league-wide reputation as one of the noisiest buildings in baseball, and now that’s going to be amplified (think Jays fans annoying Gerrit Cole or Chris Sale during the warm-up before the match).
With the oxen now raised, the height of the outer wall has been greatly increased, and the dimensions of the enclosure have changed. The park is sure to play differently, as there are new bends and curves in the playing field, which will make off-the-wall caroms even more challenging. Toronto has upgraded its outside defense this off-season by adding Kevin Kiermayer And Dalton Farshawwho will navigate in new dimensions.
The Blue Jays did not release exact details of the new stadium dimensions. These measurements will be released at a later date.
New seats and slightly reduced capacity
The seats themselves will also change. The old light blue outdoor seats were ripped off and replaced with wider dark blue seats. In addition, a portion of the seating near the visitor’s (right field) table was converted to bleacher-style seating.
The stadium’s total capacity has been reduced due to the renovations, with 3,000 seats—most of the 200 and 500—removed to accommodate the new social spaces. The new Rogers Center is expected to have a capacity of approximately 42,000. This number will decrease further during the next wave of renovations prior to the 2024 season.
New social spaces and dining options
Rogers Center’s food and beverage options, two areas that badly need improvement, will be greatly improved through the first phase of renovations.
By opening day, there will be four distinct “Outer Neighborhoods”. These social spaces, each with a theme based in Toronto, provide fans with a new way to experience the game. There will be perches and display bars at the corners of 100 levels in left field and right field.
Renovations are more extensive at the 500 level, where the left field section features the Jays “Park Social” area, an outdoor space with artificial turf, video games, and other entertainment options for young fans. If grabbing a drink and hanging out is more your style, the right field “Corona Rooftop Patio” features live music and a lounge-style restaurant.
All social spaces will be ticketless, meaning fans from all divisions can visit. There will also be a host of new food options on the menu, including Jamaican beef patties, ban mi sandwiches, and food truck-style foods like bacon and pepper grilled cheese.
It should also be noted that the batter’s eye, previously an empty section of benches with a black cap over it, will be changed. The physical hitter’s seats in center field are now gone, and the 100-level concourse in that area will be extended toward the infield. Fans won’t be able to see the field from this area, but there will be lights, televisions, and graphics to make up for that.
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