One Blue Jays Way
Ontario M5V 1J1
Blue Jays (AL); Toronto Argonauts (CFL)
Opened: June 5, 1989
Style: Retractable Dome
Capacity: 50,516 (baseball); 53,000 (football)
Architect: Rod Robbie (Toronto)
and Michael Allen (Ottawa)
Builder: Ellis-Don Construction
Owners: Interbrew SA (49%), Penfund (39%), Canadian Imperial Bank
of Commerce (10%)
Cost: Approximately $500 million
The SkyDome is truly one of
baseball's technological marvels. Completed in 1989, its retractable
roof is the first of its kind - Montreal's Olympic Stadium was originally
conceived as a retractable dome stadium, but the roof wasn't finished
until 1987, and it didn't become retractable until 1989. (Now,
structural problems prevent the O's roof from retracting.) When the
roof is fully retracted, 91% of the seats and the complete playing field
The carpeted, symmetrical
stadium pre-dated the era of classic, "old is new" ballparks,
like Camden Yards and Pac
Bell, but its success has inspired new ballparks
with retractable rooftops, like Miller Park,
Bank One Ballpark and Safeco Field in the more modern
Some of the stadium's more famous, commercial features include the
numerous McDonald's SkySnacks locations (where I once worked as a youth);
the Hard Rock Cafe, with a view that overlooks the field; Windows
on SkyDome, a 650-seat restaurant that rises above the center-field fence;
Sightlines, a 300-foot-long bar, which sits atop the luxury boxes; and SkyDome Hotel,
a 348-room hotel which has 70 rooms
overlooking the playing field, and
where several couples have been caught on film in their rooms ... er,
"sliding into home."
The SkyDome also features baseball's largest
video display board in North America, and second largest in the world.
dimensions are 110 feet wide and 33 feet high.
In addition to baseball,
SkyDome hosts the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts,
concerts, and a plethora of other sporting events. Because the movable
lower stands are on rollers, and the Astroturf field rolls up, conversion
from baseball to football takes only 10-12 hours. Opening or closing the
roof takes only 20 minutes. The roof was closed during a game twice in the
Blue Jays’ first year in the dome, and four or five times a year since
SkyDome cost $500 million to
build, financed by government and private industry. The Ontario provincial
and Toronto city governments contributed $30 million each and 30 Canadian
corporations payed $5 million each. Canada’s three major breweries also
contributed $5 million each. The contributing corporations each received
one of the stadium’s 161 skyboxes, which normally cost between $150,000
and $225,000 a year. They occupy the
third and fourth levels of the five-level stadium.
The ownership of SkyDome
filed for bankruptcy protection in November 1998, the same month in which
the Blue Jays signed a new ten-year lease to play in the stadium.
Batter - Paul Molitor
Hit - Paul
Home run - Fred McGriff
RBI - Gary
Stolen base - Fred McGriff
Victory - Don August
When the park first opened, many thought it would play as a pitcher's
park, because the ball didn't seem to carry very well. In fact, when
the roof is open, the closed end of the stadium serves as a wind scoop
which causes a downdraft in the outfield that tends to prevent home runs.
As it turns out, is has been very close to neutral - this quintessential
cookie-cutter stadium, with its symmetrical dimensions and clean,
artificial turf, favors no one in particular. The walls are padded,
allowing outfielders to leap against them.
The SkyDome places a premium on speed in center field because of
its long alleys. The infield is artificial turf, so naturally the
ball will scoot through the infield faster than it would on
natural grass. Teams with below-average range infielders or
a center fielder with little range can have trouble with the big
alleys and the slick artificial turf on the infield.
benefits: Although the park plays neutral in terms of runs and home
runs, the longish alleys help create a high percentage of doubles, so
speed can play a big offensive role in this park. In general,
high-speed, high-contact teams with aggressive baserunning tendencies and
line drive gap hitters will profit from the speed of the infield
turf. Liners and grounders skitter to the wall extremely quickly,
which can add up to lots of extra-base hits.
gets hurt: Slower teams struggle defensively because they can't stop
speedy teams from manufacturing runs. Players with limited range,
both in the infield and the outfield, get hurt. The even artificial
turf is kind to baserunners and base thieves, giving catchers a hard time.
Toronto, Ontario. The center field
wall (N) borders on Front Street West; the third base (W), looks over
Spadina Avenue; the home plate (S) edges on the Gardiner Expressway; and
first base (E) borders on John Street underneath the CN Tower, the
world’s tallest freestanding structure.
field and right field foul posts: 328 ft.
and right-center power alleys:
field: 400 ft.
- This was the first ballpark to break
the 4 million attendance mark:
it did it in 1991, though in the late 1990s attendance has fallen off
- In 1992, SkyDome set the World Record
for the greatest number of Hot air Balloons in an enclosed area - 46
inflated Hot air Balloons on the field.
- SkyDome's 99¢ hot dogs ($0.70 U.S.)
are the lowest price at any Major League stadium.
- SkyDome's Hard Rock Café is the home
of the largest electric guitar in North America
- The Jumbotron is a 33-feet by 110-feet
scoreboard, with 420,000 light bulbs.
- The apex of the retracted dome is 310
feet high, making it the tallest in Major League baseball.
- The bullpens are located just behind
the outfield fence, so each dugout includes a television monitor,
allowing the manager to see who’s warming up on each side.
- The roof panels are made out of a
single polyvinylchloride membrane over an insultated acoustic steel
- There are no bleachers.