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Evil Dr. Len
02-03-2005, 07:13 AM
TORONTO -- It was a busy day for the Blue Jays. The company that owns the team changed the name of its home stadium on Wednesday, opting for Rogers Centre instead of the former SkyDome title.
Rogers Communications Inc., recently purchased the stadium for approximately $25 million in Canadian funds, adding it to the company's standing ownership of the Jays and their flagship station on both television and radio. The name-change was rumored from the outset of the deal, which was announced in late November.


Indeed, the Jays have begun transforming their stadium and their team. Toronto announced a significant increase in funds available for payroll, committing $210 million over the next three seasons. That includes this year's team, which is currently budgeted at $50 million, leaving $160 million for the general manager to play with over the next 24 months.

The Jays will be cautious, but they won't sit on the increased funding. J.P. Ricciardi, Toronto's GM, said he's already exploring avenues that were unthinkable as recently as two weeks ago.

Toward that end, Toronto made a few other announcements on Wednesday. Godfrey spoke in detail about the adjustments to the stadium, which include a new playing surface and a new set of big-screen boards for instant replays.

The new field will be provided by FieldTurf, courtesy of a deal that cost the Blue Jays nearly $2 million in Canadian funds. Godfrey said the installation came with an eight-year warranty. He also said that the new Daktronics TV screens cost nearly $8 million, which stands in stark contrast to the old system.

"We're getting seven boards, five in color, compared to the one that cost $17 million when the building opened," he said. "This is $6 million, plus $2 million for the control room. The control room is much more expanded. I've gotta tell you, it's going to be an amazing thing to see."

The work started around a month ago, and Godfrey said the alignment of the TVs will create a state-of-the-art viewing environment. He said the main screen in center field will be similar to the old one, measuring 33 feet high and 110 feet across. From there, just about everything else is different.

Rogers Centre will have two large screens on the outfield fence, each one measuring 10 feet high and 65 feet across. Not only that, two more long and narrow screens will radiate out from the center-field board. They're both 135 feet long, stretching nearly as far as first and third base.

For the first time, Toronto fans will get a detailed out-of-town scoreboard, complete with up-to-date information about the current inning and who's on base. The Jays hope those developments, along with some others, will convince more people to come to the ballpark.

"The process starts with turf and video screens, but it's by no means our finish," said Godfrey

Esks4ever
02-03-2005, 07:17 AM
Its pretty good news... I just hope in a year or two they can produce a contending ball team...