The Toronto Blue Jays announced some major upgrades coming to the Rogers Centre over the next couple of years as ownership and the club try and transform the stadium from a concrete multipurpose structure to a true ballpark experience.
Some of the major announcements made by Mark Shapiro and the Blue Jays include:
- Increased social spaces in the lower two levels of the stadium
- Raising of both bullpens that will be surrounded by fan seating for a more immersive experience and asymmetrical walls in the outfield
- Removal of the 500-level seating in the left and right field corners and replace it with areas for groups and people to meet featuring a patio/bar
- Replacing the remainder of the 500-level seating with new seating
- Redesigned clubhouse, weight room, and additional facilities for both the players and their respective families
- Overhaul of the lower bowl seating
This project will take over the next two to three offseasons to complete and is completely funded by Rogers ownership, enhancing the fan experience at the ballpark for both diehard and casual fans while also improving amenities for the players and coaching staff, which could in turn help the front office in convincing free agents to sign with Toronto. Populous, the same group that led the Dunedin Complex transformation, will be leading the charge for the estimated $300 million overhaul at the Rogers Centre.
This is a huge boost for both the organization and its fans as the concrete structure turns more into a ballpark experience that fans at other stadiums across the league are experiencing, as the Rogers Centre is no longer the multipurpose facility it was back in 1989 and is now home to just the Toronto Blue Jays.
Furthermore, with the expected transformation slated for completion by at least Opening Day in 2025 (barring any major setbacks), this also sets up the Blue Jays to potentially bring back the All-Star Game North of the border, as well as potential other large events like the World Baseball Classic.
With the Blue Jays announcing upgrades to the Rogers Centre over the next three years, the All-Star Game could potentially follow further down the line.
As Shi Davidi reported, the club is looking into a potential bid for the 2027 All-Star Game, which would be a year after the World Cup comes to Toronto. The organization has to submit a plan to the MLB and go through the process but one would imagine an improved ballpark would go a long way toward convincing the powers to be that the Blue Jays should be able to host the All-Star Game again.
The All-Star Game has only made the trip to Toronto once since the Jays became a team back in 1977, hosting the 1991 Midsummer Classic one year before the club won back-to-back World Series titles. For context, Jack Morris (Twins) was the starter in the AL while Tom Glavine (Braves) started for the NL, with each club featuring many top names in the game of baseball like Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Carlton Fisk, and Ryne Sandberg (to name a few).
Representing the Blue Jays was Roberto Alomar (starting 2B), Joe Carter (reserve OF), and Jimmy Key (SP) as the AL won 4-2 with Key earning the win in the contest, going one inning while giving up one hit while striking out one batter and allowing no runs. Alomar went 0 for 4 in the affair while Carter went 1 for 1 with a single and a walk.
While the Rogers Centre won’t be ditching the artificial turf in the renovations, the Blue Jays and their fans will surely benefit from all the upgrades that are coming over the next few offseasons.