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"(Reds pitcher Don) Gullet's the only guy who can throw a baseball through a car wash and not get the ball wet."
--Pete Rose, Reds 3B on rookie pitcher Don Gullet



By Wikipedia

SkyDome, also known as Rogers Centre (another example of an owner's ego getting in the way of a good name), is a multi-purpose stadium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated next to the CN Tower near the shores of Lake Ontario. It is home to Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. While it is primarily a sports venue, Skydome also hosts other large-scale events such as conventions, trade fairs, and concerts.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 1 Blue Jays Way
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1J3
Broke ground October 3, 1986
Opened June 5, 1989
Replaced Exhibition Stadium
Owner Toronto Blue Jays
Surface AstroTurf (1989-2004)
Grass (July 2004-2005)
Construction cost $570M (Canadian dollars)
(Sold to Blue Jays for
$25M in 2005)
Architect Rod Robbie, Michael Allen
SkyDome (1989-2005)
Rogers Centre (2005-)
Toronto Argonauts (CFL, 1989-)
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB, 1989-)
Toronto Raptors (NBA, 1995-1999)
Seating capacity
50,516 (2005 Baseball)
53,506 (2005 Football)
Left Field - 328 ft
Left-Center - 375 ft
Center Field - 400 ft
Right-Center - 375 ft
Right Field - 328 ft
Backstop - 60 ft

SkyDome is also noted for being the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof.


Rogers Centre was designed by Rod Robbie and Michael Allen and was constructed by Ellis-Don Construction of Toronto. The stadium's construction lasted just over three years, from April 1986 to May 1989. The approximate cost of construction was $600 million (CAD) which was paid for by the Canadian federal government, Ontario provincial government, and a large consortium of corporations. Though nominally a multi-purpose stadium the primary impetus for its construction was the need for a new baseball stadium for the Blue Jays, who until 1989 played in the wholly inadequate Exhibition Stadium.

Fly to the SkyDome!
If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to the site of the SkyDome. (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

In the early 1990s the consortium of companies that had built the stadium had amassed a huge debt and a massive, and controversial, government bail-out was given them. However, by 2004, Rogers Communications, parent company of the Blue Jays, agreed to acquire SkyDome from Sportco International, LP for about $25 million CAD (about $21.24 million USD) which was 1/24 the cost of construction.

Recent Developments

On February 2, 2005 Ted Rogers, President and CEO of Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays, announced that his company will significantly increase the Blue Jays team payroll to the tune of $210 million over the next three seasons, starting in 2005 and announced a three-year corporate contract to change the name of SkyDome to the Rogers Centre. While many sportswriters and broadcasters are forced to use the new name, we prefer the old one and will continue to use it on this site.

After the purchase, Rogers refurbished the stadium by erecting a new state of the art, integrated scoring and display system along with replacing the Jumbotron. Rogers Centre features a new artificial playing surface called FieldTurf.


Rogers Centre on the Jays 2005 Home Opener. Note the new Jumbotron, FieldTurf and video boards on the outfield walls and ring video board between the 200 and 300 levels. This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

Photo by 'Canadian popcan'

In May 2005, the Toronto Argonauts agreed to three 5 years leases at Rogers Centre, which could see the Argonauts playing out of Rogers Centre until 2020. The team has the option to leave at the end of each of the three lease agreements. The Argos also announced that they will not move into a new stadium being built at York University, a project which York subsequently cancelled.

06/05/1989 Brewers 5, Blue Jays 3
Umpires Rocky Roe, Mike Reilly
  Rich Garcia, Dale Scott
Managers Cito Gaston, Blue Jays
  Tom Trebelhorn, Brewers
Starting Pitchers Jimmy Key, Blue Jays
  Don August, Brewers
Ceremonial Pitch Blue Jays CEO Peter Hardy
Attendance 48,378
Batter Paul Molitor (double)
Hit Paul Molitor (double)
Run Paul Molitor
RBI Gary Sheffield
Single Kelly Gruber
Double Paul Molitor
Triple Jay Buhner (06/18/1989)
Home Run Fred McGriff
Grand Slam Terry Steinbach (07/16/1989)
IPHR Rance Mulliniks (07/11/1991)
Stolen Base Fred McGriff
Sacrifice Hit Robin Yount
Sacrifice Fly Robin Yount
Cycle George Brett (07/25/1990)
Win Don August
Loss Jimmy Key
Shutout Dave Stieb, David Wells
Save Dan Plesac
Hit by Pitch Tony Fossas hit Lloyd
Moseby (06/07/1989)
Wild Pitch Jimmy Key
Balk Tony Fossas (06/07/1989)
No-Hitter Dave Stewart (06/29/1990)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet


SkyDome was the first major team sports arena in North America to sport a fully retractable roof. The roof is composed of four panels and covers an area of 345,000 square feet. It takes 20 minutes for the roof to open or close.

The venue is also well known for its enormous Jumbotron television, at 30 by 100 feet. For a while, it was the largest of its kind in the world. The Jumbotron and the stadium played host to several television events, including the series finales for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Cheers.

The centre also has an on-site fitness club, hotel, and Hard Rock Cafe. Such features may seem quaint here in the 21st Century, but they and the retractable roof were downright revolutionary in the late Awesome80s. This stadium may have been the last of the bland, concrete multipurpose stadiums before Camden Yards changed baseball for better, but it was the coolest stadium on the planet when it opened.

Other Sports

Besides baseball and Canadian football, SkyDome was the original home of the National Basketball Association's Toronto Raptors, who played at the venue from November 1995 - February 1999. The centre has also hosted exhibition soccer and NFL games. In June 1997, SkyDome featured a well-publicized 150 meter race between sprinters Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson. Soccer matches have also become commonplace in the past few years. Previous attempts were few and far between when the old Astroturf was in place.

SkyDome is the site of several major high school and collegiate sporting competitions including the Prentice Cup for baseball and, from 1989 to 2003, the Vanier Cup for Canadian Interuniversity Sport football.

Other Uses

Besides sporting events, the Rogers Centre contains a large exhibit space of 143,000 square feet (13,000 mē) that hosts a variety of events year-round.

It is home to several annual auto shows, with the Canadian International AutoShow in February and Importfest in October. Travelling shows like World Wrestling Entertainment (which has used the facility to host two WrestleMania events, WM VI and WM X8), Disney On Ice and circuses also have used the venue.

Rogers Centre is the largest indoor concert venue in Toronto and over the years it has hosted many international acts including U2, The Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Avril Lavigne, and Andy Lau. The stadium has several concert configurations, including smaller Theatre (capacity 5,000 to 7,000) and Concert Hall (formerly SkyTent; capacity 10,000-25,000) setups with acoustical curtains to improve sound quality.

The centre has also hosted many public speakers, including appearances by the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and J. K. Rowling, for a book reading.


  • The original mascot of the stadium was a turtle by the name of Domer.
  • It is the tallest and most massive stadium used by any Major League Baseball team.
  • The retractable roof was reportedly a demand made by the Blue Jays, who hoped that it would kill the deal, and they could make their own park exclusively for baseball.
  • Natural grass was installed at SkyDome in July 2004 for international soccer games between Liverpool versus Porto on July 30 and AS Roma versus Celtic on July 31.
  • Home to the 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the 1992 and 1993 World Series.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Skydome

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