Friday, April 7, 2023

Stadium Fridays

 This week has been a bit of a rough one.. I almost skipped doing this today because I basically did not want to get out of bed or do anything today.. In fact I'm typing this wanting to go to bed for the night. 

This may not be as in depth as last week's. I apologize. 

This week is Exhibition Stadium.. The Mistake By the Lake. The only MLB park to have covered bleachers but no covered seats behind the plate. Considered to be one of the worst places MLB has played baseball in... And quoted as being the worst in sports by a TEAM EXECUTIVE FOR THE JAYS....

So.. How did this stadium come to host Major League Baseball from 1977-1989? It started in 1948 when the grandstand, the covered area, was built for concerts at the Canadian National Exhibition. In 1959, football bleachers were added to allow the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL to move from Varsity Stadium to here.. 
In 1974, the stadium was reconfigured again, adding baseball seating and orientation to lure a MLB team. They almost had the San Francisco Giants, but the Giants stayed put and Toronto got an Expansion team for 1977, though there was a lot of trying by the Commissioner's Office to move the award to Washington DC...

Digital Custom courtesy of TCForums member Benson

The day had come. April 7, 1977. Opening Day for the Jays in Toronto... Annd...... Snowstorm...
A packed stadium didn't let it deter them.. They sat waiting for the game to start. The team had to borrow a zamboni from an arena nearby to clear the snow off the infield. 
Finally, the game was on! 
The Jays won. Doug Ault hit two home runs. We know the story. 

So some of the issues that come with having a multipurpose stadium in Canada. 
Yes, we have football as well. The problem is... The field is slightly larger in the CFL than it is in the NFL... So those seats are a little further away from the field than in the US. 
The seats were also not pointed toward the action, but rather each other. There was also the issue of some of the seats being over 800 feet away from home plate.. Those seats would not be sold except in extreme circumstances like pennant races. 

As with Cleveland and San Francisco, The Ex also had issues with cold and fog. A game was called off due to heavy winds, as Jim Clancy was blown off balance three times and swirling wind kept kicking up dust in the batters' eyes. 

We also have to mention the seagulls.. Ohhhh the seagulls... They love food.. Baseball stadiums are full of food.. So as a result, seagulls loved to come around looking for food.. It lead to the famous 1983 incident of Dave Winfield getting arrested after a throw struck and killed a gull. Some claimed Winfield did it on purpose, leading his manager to state "If you watched him all season, you wouldn't say that.. It's the first cutoff man he's hit all year"

The death of The Ex started in 1982, after the Grey Cup ended up being a soup bowl due to rain. The next day at City Hall, fans there to see the Argos chanted "We Want a Dome!" at the Ontario Premier. Work had begun looking for a site in 1983, as a separate group looked at feasibility studies of building the dome at Exhibition Place. In 1984, Canadian National Railways agreed to sell land by the CN Tower for the purposes of building the new stadium. 

It was started in 1986, and the Rogers Centre, (SkyDome) was built and opened in June 1989.
The venue was used for the odd concert and racing event. It was also used to host a WWE card in 1996 after they stopped using Maple Leaf Gardens. 

The stadium was demolished in 1999 and is used as the Parking lot for BMO Field, the home of TFC and the Toronto Argonauts. 


  1. Hey Mike, great post for not feeling well. Hope you get better soon and get a chance to enjoy the long weekend.

  2. That digital custom of Exhibition Stadium is really cool. Not often you get to see snow on a baseball field. My least favorite thing about going to the Oakland Coliseum or AT&T are the seagulls... but like you said... they love all of the food laying around.

  3. Say what you will, at least it had character; the same of which cannot be said about all of the homogenized stadiums that they keep throwing up these days.