Blue Jays announce new outfield dimensions at Rogers Centre
TORONTO -- Much of the Blue Jays’ multi-year, $300 million renovations are focused on the fan experience and player facilities, but we finally have the details on how this will impact the game itself.
The Blue Jays released the new dimensions and heights of their outfield walls on Friday, bringing significant changes to the Rogers Centre setup that’s been fairly traditional until now.
While the lines and straightaway center will remain at the same distances, the most noticeable changes will come in the alleys, where hitters will be rewarded for lifting the ball into the air. The increased wall height will be a challenge for line-drive hitters, though, so how much theses changes will benefit a hitter truly depends on their batted-ball profile.
The same goes for Toronto’s pitchers, with fly-ball pitchers suddenly walking a riskier line at Rogers Centre. Here is the full list of changes, compared to the original Rogers Centre dimensions:
Left-field line: 328 feet (no change), wall at 14 feet 4 inches (previously 10 feet)
Right-field line: 328 feet (no change), wall at 12 feet 7 inches (prev. 10 feet)
Left and right:
Left center: 368 feet (prev. 375 feet), wall at 11 feet 2 inches (prev. 10 feet)
Right center: 359 feet (prev. 375 feet), wall at 14 feet 4 inches (prev. 10 feet)
Left-center power alley: 381 feet (prev. 383 feet), wall at 12 feet 9 inches (prev. 10 feet)
Right-center power alley: 372 feet (prev. 383 feet), wall at 10 feet 9 inches (prev. 10 feet)
Center field: 400 feet (no change), wall at 8 feet (prev. 10 feet)
A full season is needed, at minimum, to determine exactly how this park will play. There’s certainly the potential for increased offense, but as we’ve seen in parks with shorter porches like Yankee Stadium, unique dimensions can hurt just as much as they can help. Toronto’s dimensions are officially “unique,” though, and that matters when it comes to roster construction.
This offseason, the Blue Jays swapped out Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier. There were dozens of factors here, including money, but in the simplest of terms, the Blue Jays swapped offense for defense. Kiermaier has long been one of baseball’s best defenders in the outfield, and Varsho has the potential to be elite in left field. It’s no coincidence both were added ahead of a season that will test outfielders in a much different way.
Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro addressed this in December at the MLB Winter Meetings, saying that the new dimensions won’t necessarily change the identity of the park offensively, but that they should “create some uniqueness” and add some “interesting outcomes with balls in play.”
That’s the likeliest outcome here, and depending on your appetite for a little chaos, it’s a good one. These walls aren’t nearly climbing to the heights of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, but you’ll see some bounces that are brand new to Toronto.
“The new outfield not only creates a dynamic and unique ballpark character, but most importantly, brings Blue Jays fans closer to the action,” said Marnie Starkman, executive vice president, business operations. “It was critical to understand how any modifications would impact play, so where the walls come in, heights go up to offset significant changes. Our team modelled these adjustments, and we anticipate they will create a similar neutral environment while providing a modernized experience for our fans.”
Many of the Blue Jays’ renovations this offseason go hand-in-hand with the new dimensions, too.
The organization has raised the bullpens beyond the outfield walls and brought fans closer to the wall and action. There have also been four new “neighborhoods” added to the stadium, including bars and social areas that work to incorporate the city around Rogers Centre. Those have shaped the fan areas that will now line these new-look outfield walls.
The Blue Jays will begin their 2023 season on the road with a long, 11-game trip, so the grand debut of these new dimensions will come on April 11 against the Tigers.