Clem's Baseball home

Sahlen Field *
Temporary home of the
Toronto Blue Jays
(2020)




Sahlen Field

DYNAMIC DIAGRAM:
Mouse rollover.

regular view upper deck lower deck hypothetical
Rogers Centre War Memorial Stadium
Key to diagrams

* Previously known as "Pilot Field" (1988-1995), "NorthAmeriCare Park" (1995-1999), "Dunn Tire Park" (1999-2008), and "CocaCola Field" (2009-2018).
It has been the regular home of the AAA Buffalo Bisons (International League) since 1988.

Vital statistics:
Lifetime Seating
capacity
Seating rows
(typical)
Overhang /
shade %
Est. territory
(1,000 sq. ft.)
Fence height  CF
orien- tation
Back-stop Outfield dimensions
Built Status Lower deck Middle deck Upper deck Lower deck Upper deck Fair Foul LF CF RF Left
field
Left-center Center field Right-center Right field
1988 FINE 16,600 38 - 10 75% 70% 104.7 22.8 12 8 8 SSE 55 325 371 (399) 367 325

* The Toronto Blue Jays are playing their home games there in 2020, due to the coronavirus and Canada's restrictions on non-essential travel from the United States.

BEEN THERE: I paid a brief visit to what was then called "CocaCola Field" on the way to see the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2015. See photos below.

When I bought the second edition of Green Cathedrals (1992), I learned of the existence of a new minor league ballpark -- Pilot Field (as it was originally known) -- that was actually the pioneer of the "Neoclassical" baseball stadiums, of which Orioles Park in Camden Yards was the first in the majors. (In fact, the angles of the outfield fences are similar in those two stadiums.) Pilot Field was a marked improvement over the Buffalo Bisons' previous home at War Memorial Stadium, and clearly outclassed The Diamond, a minor league stadium built in Richmond, Virginia just a few years before. In fact, it was built in part as a means to get a major league expansion franchise awarded to Buffalo, but that city lost out to Miami and Denver in 1993. That really wasn't a practical idea, however, as there was only limited space in downtown Buffalo to expand the stadium. Nevertheless, a hypothetical expanded version of Sahlen Field with a third deck is shown above. Illustrating the tight space available, a major thoroughfare passes within a few feet of the left field fence, and a 60-foot high net was installed to prevent home run balls from crashing into automobiles. Beyond right field is a party deck with table seating, and a grassy slope for casual fans. Beyond those seating areas is a multi-deck parking garage, visible in the panoramic photo below. A nice defining feature of Sahlen Field (which is named for a regional sausage and meat packing firm) is the pyramid-shaped pavilion with a big sphere on the top, at each extreme end of the grandstand. Another aesthetic touch is that roof of the grandstand has cross-hatches that remind one of Bavarian architecture.

thumbnail As one of the many strange consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the Toronto Blue Jays were forced to find an alternative venue for playing their home games during the 2020 season. (The Canadian government refused to allow American baseball teams across the border to play at the Rogers Centre.) Sahlen Field made perfect sense, as it was geographically close to their real home in Toronto, and was the home of their minor league affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Since all minor league games were canceled in 2020, they were able to make all the necessary upgrades to the facilities, including stronger lights, repaired infield turf, and better dugout and clubhouse facilities. They also added huge promotional banners covering the empty seats (not shown in the diagram), as has been done in most other MLB stadiums. On August 11, the Blue Jays played their first "home away from home" game at Sahlen Field, winning 5-4 in ten innings -- taking advantage of the temporary extra innings rules. (See the Anomalous stadiums page.)

SOURCES: mlb.com, milb.com, wikipedia.org (for the previous names)


Coca Cola Field panorama

ABOVE: Panorama (spliced-together) of what was then called "Coca Cola Field" in July 2015. Click on the image to see it full size. (Not recommended for mobile devices.)

BELOW: The entrance just beyond the end of the upper deck on the third base (east) side.

Coca Cola Field exterior
The Clem Criteria:
Field
asymmetry
Architectural
design
Seat
proximity
Location * Aesthetics Overall
5 8 8 8 7 7.2

Sahlen Field (L.A):
Chronology of diagram updates


 



NOTE: Roll your mouse over the adjacent thumbnail to see a preliminary version. .

Sahlen Field
 
14 Aug 2020

Vox populi: Fans' impressions

Have you been to this stadium? If so, feel free to share your impressions of it with other fans! (Registration is required.) Also, I welcome submissions of original stadium photos that fans have taken, and will make sure they get properly credited. Just send me an e-mail message via the Contact page.


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