Sport: Blue Jays announce $230 million stadium renovation plan

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TORONTO (AP) — The Blue Jays announced plans Thursday for a $230 million renovation of Rogers Centre, their downtown home since 1989 but said the change will not involve replacing the artificial turf surface with grass.

The renovation, to be undertaken in stages over the next two or three winters, will begin with replacing all the seats in the upper deck, adding raised bullpens in left and right field, adjusting the dimensions and heights of the current outfield wall and adapting outfield seating areas to add bars and patios, as well as a section of bleachers.

“The largest focus was to focus on modernizing the fan experience,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said.

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Shapiro did not disclose the outfield dimensions and fence heights, saying they have not been finalized.

After the 2023 season, the team will remodel the lower bowl to create better sight lines and reduce the amount of foul territory. The current design was meant to accommodate Canadian Football League games, but the Toronto Argonauts left Rogers Centre following the 2015 season.

The Blue Jays will also use the renovation to upgrade and expand the home clubhouse, as well as facilities for players, such as weight rooms and training areas.

Shapiro said overall stadium capacity would be reduced once the renovations are complete, but could not say by how much.

Rogers Centre opened as SkyDome in June 1989, as the first retractable-roof stadium in the major leagues. It is now the seventh-oldest stadium among the 30.

Shapiro called the plans “a medium-term solution,” adding that the Blue Jays will eventually have to consider building a new stadium or undergo an even more substantial renovation of their current home.

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