Rogers Centre - Toronto, ON
Toronto Blue Jays
Rogers Centre in Toronto is as unique a venue in baseball today as it was when it opened as SkyDome in 1990, but for different reasons.
When SkyDome replaced Exhibition Stadium as the new home of the Blue Jays, it was believed to be the future in ballpark construction. It was the first ever dome with a retractable roof, taking the weather factor out of the baseball equation—which included snowstorms, as experienced when the team played its first ever home opener. But it was also the first real “mallpark”—or at least the first to take the idea to such extremes. SkyDome featured a Hard Rock Café, over a dozen McDonald’s stands, two levels of luxury suites, even a hotel for crying out loud.
It was big and majestic and modern, and soon it would be the home to back-to-back champions.
But just a couple of years after its grand opening, Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in Baltimore, and not only did every major league city want a new baseball venue, they wanted it retro-style…with bricks, and grass, and open air, and rainouts if God decided a team’s pitchers needed a rest.
Soon new ballparks were sprouting up everywhere, all of them drawing on the Camden Yards theme but also adding touches of their own—like the view of the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, or the Western Metal Supply building in San Diego, or a location right along the bay in San Francisco.
Today SkyDome…now Rogers Centre…with its concrete and circular shape, seems as dated as the cookie cutters of the 1970s. But the perception isn’t entirely fair. Toronto did, after all, figure out the retractable roof…an innovation that was used in five new ballparks since. Until SkyDome, not many ballparks had restaurants with a view of the field…today that is as common as padded seats in new ballparks. And to this day, they’re still the only major league ballpark with a full-scale hotel with rooms overlooking the action.
Rogers Centre still features many of the best attributes of the baseball experience today…a location in the heart of a great city, outside vendors hawking hot dogs, fans singing along to a hometown 7th inning stretch song, and a horde of fans that are as loud as any city’s. Best of all, you know the game won’t be rained—or snowed—out.
It may not be the retro-classic style we’ve become accustomed to in ballparks, but Rogers Centre is unique in its own way, and it’s got a lot going for it.
So here’s some help from Ballpark E-Guides in your next visit!
Toronto Blue Jays Tickets: A lot of fans buy tickets from the box office on game day, which isn’t wrong, but you may find a better deal through StubHub and other third parties. Here is my recommendation for searching for Blue Jays tickets online.
The Blue Jays FanPass: Just in case you didn't know, the Blue Jays offer an outstanding season ticket deal...
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