When it first opened in 1989, the SkyDome, now called Rogers Centre, was a technological marvel because it was the first stadium designed with a retractable roof. Also notable was the hotel built into the facilities, which offered 70 rooms which actually faced the field. Since then, the MLB has gone in a different direction, preferring to build ballparks dedicated to baseball and nothing else, unlike Rogers Center, which is a multipurpose stadium that hosts the Toronto Blue Jays. In the past, it also hosted Canadian Football, the NFL and the NBA.
The stadium took nearly three years to complete, breaking ground on October 3rd, 1986, before finally opening on June 3rd, 1989. Amusingly, the celebration that took place had the leader of the province of Ontario open the roof despite the fact that it was raining, leading those in attendance to chant “close the roof”, which the management decided not to do.
Rogers Centre is located close to Lake Ontario, in the southern portion of downtown Toronto. It’s right beside the CN Tower, which was the tallest freestanding building in the world until 2007, when the Burj Khalifa was finished.
Toronto Blue Jays Stadium
With the exception of doubles, which typically occur at a greater rate than other ballparks because of the bouncy fake turf, Rogers Centre is among the bottom in terms of run and hit production compared to other stadiums. The 2015 MLB Park Factors statistics also show that the amount of homers and triples hit at this stadium are roughly an par with average rates, which means that this stadium produces extra base hits at a greater rate than most ballparks. However, Rogers Centre is typically considered to be a batter’s ballpark.
The Toronto Blue Jays play very well at home, enjoying a considerable home field advantage. In 2014, they won nine more games at home compared to on the road, earning a superb home record of 46-35 in the process. The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays are among the very best home teams in the league, finishing with 50 plus wins, providing a cushion that has allowed them to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, which was the longest futility streak in North American pro sports.
The most recent change to Rogers Centre was the installation of Astroturf 3D Xtreme. A natural grass playing field might be installed by 2018.
Date Opened: June 3, 1989
Construction Cost: $570 million
Architect: Rod Robbie
Ballpark Type: Multipurpose
Capacity Attendance: 49,282
Playing Surface: AstroTurf 3D Xtreme
Previous Toronto Blue Jays Stadiums
Other Major Events
The first game of the Toronto Raptors, the only surviving NBA team in Canada, took place at Rogers Centre on November 3rd, 1995, against the New Jersey Nets. The Raps won their debut by a score of 94-79. Somehow, the franchise beat Michael Jordan and the Bulls later on in the season, besting them by a score of 109-108, handing the near-unbeatable Bulls one of their ten losses during the season.
2015 Pan American Games
Rogers Centre was the venue chosen to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games, which invited thousands of people from dozens of countries to participate in this sporting event.
The biggest event to take place at Rogers Centre, other than the Blue Jays World Series walk-off homer by Joe Carter, was WrestleMania X8, which occurred on March 17th, 2002. An attendance record was set by fans of the WWE, as 68,237 gathered to watch the spectacle unfold.