In January, I analyzed Forbes Field. Last month, I took a look at The Polo Grounds. Now here’s a look at Exhibition Stadium, former home of the Toronto Blue Jays from 1977-1989.
This stadium, in a word, was weird. That’s because it was originally built for football. Here’s an aerial view that shows how the field was “converted” for baseball games:
See what I mean?
Not only was it a single-deck stadium, but the bleachers were covered…and the grandstand wasn’t.
Here’s a photo taken during a game…
…and here’s another:
As you can see in the three-part photo below, there was a cross-aisle that extended around the entire grandstand:
This means it would’ve been easy to catch foul balls, especially behind the plate where the aisle appears to be much wider. Here’s a closer look at it:
There’s no telling what that open concrete area was used for. Wheelchair seating, perhaps? Even so, it looks like there would’ve been significant room to roam for foul balls.
But forget the fouls. This place was a dream for snagging home runs. Even though there wasn’t a cross aisle in the left field seats…
…the first few rows were always empty because it was impossible to see over the outfield wall. (BTW, do you see that yellow line running down the middle of the left staircase in the photo above? That unofficially marked the boundary between fair and foul territory.) In other words, if you were willing to sacrifice your view, you could’ve hung out in the front and had a totally clear path to any homer that barely reached the seats.
But wait, it gets better…
Every time a home run was hit to right field, the fans sitting in the far end of the bleachers would run out onto the football field to try to snag it. Can you imagine the opportunities?! Here’s another aerial view that’ll show you how that would’ve been possible:
In the photo above, check out the open area just foul of the left field corner. It looks like there are a few buses parked there, and that there’s a fence at the back…but still. Any ball that landed there probably had a chance to bounce out into the open. And what about foul balls flying completely over the grandstand? The stadium seems small enough that it could’ve happened, if not regularly, then at least on occasion.
That’s about it. Short analysis. There’s really not much to say about this stadium — no corner spots, bullpens, unusual distances to the outfield walls, or unusual protective netting — but I still wanted to blog about it. I’ve always been fascinated by the bizarre configuration. I wish I’d made it to a game there, but I was only 11 when the Jays moved out.