J.D., Joey Bats, and The Jays
Formerly the “SkyDome,” Rogers Centre has been the home field of the Toronto Blue Jays since 1989. It was the first professional stadium to have a fully functional, fully retractable roof (weighing in at a delicate 11,000 tons). For the Jays’ first 12 seasons of their 40 years in the American League East, they called Canadian National Exhibition Stadium home. It wasn’t until they settled into the SkyDome that Toronto was able to bring home a World Series Championship in 1992, and another the very next year.
Icons to suit up in “Blue Jay” blue throughout the franchise’s relatively young history include some big-time all-stars, including Carlos Delgado, Joe Carter, and Vernon Wells. Delgado holds the Jays’ all-time record for career home runs, with 336 long balls.
Toronto’s active leading bleacher-burner is José “Joey Bats” Bautista. The six-time All-Star slugger is entering his 14th season (his 10th as a Blue Jay). Second to Bautista, and his active tally of 265 round-trippers, is third baseman Edwin Encarnación, who heads to Cleveland this season, leaving behind 239 home run balls over eight seasons in Toronto.
Where To Sit For That Homer
2015 American League MVP Josh Donaldson dialed long distance 37 times last season for Toronto. He’s also the mightiest Blue Jay of 2016, going yard for 466 feet against KC last summer at Rogers Centre. The three-time All-Star already has 78 career home runs for the Jays (24th on their all-time HR list) after only two seasons in with the club.
If you were sitting in one Rogers Centre’s left field hot spots last year for any of Donaldson’s deep shots, the view must’ve been nice. Unfortunately, his longest dinger would have been far beyond the reach of your “Fred McGriff” palm-stamped Rawlings. If you’re looking to snag a souvenir ball at Rogers, the bulk of left field long balls are landing closer to the fence in sections 137, 138, 140, 141, and 142. In right field, you’re dragging your mit to the park as merely a hand-warmer (Oh, Canada), unless you’re sitting in sections 104, 105, 106, 107, or 108. These sections have historically harbored the most home runs.
Blame it on the metric system, but Rogers Centre’s dimensional measurements are shorter than the Major League Baseball average, making it one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the bigs. The 328-foot fences to both left and right field are especially favorable.
“For it’s un, deux, trois strikes you’re out at the old-” … Toronto Blue Jays baseball will soon be back at Rogers Centre, with Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and newly acquired Troy Tulowitzki once again swinging for the fences. If you’re heading out to the ballpark this season, maybe it’s time to check out Fanatics for a fresh, new Jays jersey to upgrade your home run-catching wardrobe.