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New look Rogers Centre outfield a potential boon for Blue Jays

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After the Blue Jays’ playoff loss in October, the outfield walls fell at Rogers Center.

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And now, as the process of putting them back up nears completion, some of the barriers will “come in” at a renovated ballpark scheduled to be unveiled for the 2023 season.

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On Friday, the team released the official dimensions for the redesigned stadium, and at first glance it appears they’ll be hitter-friendly in some shorter-distance parts of the park, although it’s not necessarily a bomber’s haven, given higher walls to defend of long distances contribute Ball.

The biggest changes will see the center right wall move from 375 to 359 feet, the center left to 7 feet from 368, and the center right Power Alley to 372 feet from 383.

The Toronto Blue Jays released official dimensions for the Rogers Center's new look.  (TORONTO BLUE JAYS/handout)
The Toronto Blue Jays released official dimensions for the Rogers Center’s new look. (TORONTO BLUE JAYS/handout)

In part, these changes reflect the reconfiguration of some outfield seating areas and the visitor bullpen. But by redesigning the dome dimensions away from a more routine design, it also has the potential to help a team when things heat up.

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That concept didn’t escape the mind of new midfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who was already looking forward to being in what is among the most prolific lineups in the American League.

“For us, the new dimensions and moving the walls will mean all these big guys hitting even more home runs,” Kiermaier said while in Toronto recently as part of the Jays Winter Tour.

Of course, hitter-friendly dimensions in certain parts of the stadium could also be good for the opposition, but the Jays are clearly confident in their own offensive abilities.

With an all-new outfield look, the new Park’s defense is placed on Kiermaier, one of the best in the game in midfield, and George Springer moving to right field, while another new body, Daulton Varsho, is on the other side Left.

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“On the defensive side (the new dimensions) will help us a lot more than hurt because we have good field players out there,” said Kiermaier.Me, George (Springer) and Varsho and everyone else that’s going to be playing out there… we’re going to get used to it very quickly and do everything in our power to make it play to our advantage.”

The walls themselves will not be a linear experience. While the construction won’t necessarily be quirky, it certainly will be different. As the team noted in a press release on Friday, the aging dome is “undergoing a significant transformation from a stadium to a stadium, including redesigned outfield dimensions and wall heights that will add nuance to the park’s play and modernize the fan experience.”

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We apologize, but this video could not be loaded.

As the attached graphic shows, the new outfield wall will vary in height, angle and depth, fulfilling Jays President Mark Shapiro’s vision of creating a more distinctive baseball character. The new configuration is a by-product of Rogers Center’s $300 million renovation, the first phase of which is expected to be completed in time for the team’s April 11 home game.

The shorter distances in some parts of the park are compensated by walls that are higher in places. For the record, the team says they expect the park to play like they always have.

“It was important to understand how changes would affect the game. So where the walls come into play, the highs rise to accommodate significant changes,” said Marnie Starkman, Jays’ vice president of business operations, in a statement. “We anticipate that (the adjustments) will create a similarly neutral environment while providing a modernized experience for our fans.”

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For example, at center right, where the wall is now only 359 feet from home plate, the height it used to be has increased from 10 feet to 14.4 feet. The wall will be taller by the same amount up to the left field line where it stays at 328 feet.

In the direct center, the 400-foot distance remains the same, but the wall is lowered from 10 feet to 8 feet.

While the new specs have the potential to make life more robust for both teams’ pitchers, the Jays have put a large portion of their offseason priorities on run prevention. As such, they are betting on an outfield that no longer includes occasional defensive commitments, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez are more consistent.

“With guys like Kiermaier and Varsho … our defense is going to be as good as ever,” Jay’s closer Jordan Romano said. “As a pitcher, I’m glad these guys are playing behind me when the dimensions have slipped in a bit.”

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