Blue Jays to begin installing dirt infield for 2016 next week


As originally reported late last season, the Blue Jays brass and ownership has confirmed that they will install a dirt infield into the Rogers Centre. According to multiple reports including Matt Synder’s at CBS Sports, the installation is set to begin next week.

Stephen Brooks, who is the VP of business operations for the Blue Jays, released a statement saying “We are very excited to proceed with this project. This will both improve the surface for the players and also enhance the atmosphere of the stadium for our fans”.

According to that release, here’s how it will shake down:

"Following months of investigation and planning, the work will involve excavation of the cement floor at Rogers Centre in the affected base path and infield areas to a depth of 30.48cm/ 12inches and will impact an area of approximately 1,115 square metres/12,000 square feet. Layers of gravel, sand and clay will be inlayed in the exacted areas to ensure proper moisture content and conditions suitable to a major league playing surface."

While this may seem like a minor bit of news, this has been a touchy subject in Toronto and with fans for several years now. Many players, including Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie, have complained about the toll that standing on the artificial surface had on their bodies, and this alleviates that issue.

The Blue Jays are the last MLB team to install a dirt infield, and only the Tampa Bay Rays still have an artificial playing surface, so it will be a welcome change and step in the right direction at the Rogers Centre.

The ongoing study into the feasibility of natural grass in the Rogers Centre is still ongoing despite comments from Mark Shapiro earlier in the offseason. Given the variables, both logistically and financially, that larger conversation could continue to play out through the 2016 season.