Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, met with the media on Tuesday afternoon before the Blue Jays took the field for their first game at Sahlen Field in 2021. Shapiro fielded many questions ranging from ballpark upgrades to seating capacity in Buffalo, here are some of
Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, met with the media on Tuesday afternoon before the Blue Jays took the field for their first game at Sahlen Field in 2021. Shapiro fielded many questions ranging from ballpark upgrades to seating capacity in Buffalo, here are some of the highlights:
On what is most impressive coming to Sahlen Field: “It’s a little overwhelming to walk in, our operations staff continues to over-exceed expectations and leave a pretty dramatic impact whenever we see the facility and go into a new facility.”
On the new Right Center Field bullpens: “The bullpens are probably as good…as any Big League bullpens…as far as what our guys have to prepare to get up, come into the game, the vantage point they’ve got to watch from, certainly being off the field in and of itself will be a positive, but they’re first class.”
On the new batting cages: “The batting cages are a stand-alone, climate-controlled environment that our guys can both utilize technology and video, and resources to get their work in and do it in a way that is close to the field, but certainly not on the concourse in front of concession stands, that this year wouldn’t have been a possibility.”
On what the players think of the upgrades: “To talk to our players, uniformly, has been just they’re excited, the appreciation shouldn’t come to me, it should come to a lot of other people who don’t get mentioned enough that spent the last six weeks here [Sahlen Field] every single day preparing this place to be what it is, and have gotten an amazing amount of work done in a short period of time.” Shapiro continues, “they’re appreciative for two things: one is the facility, and second is a chance to finally feel some home crowd.”
On the partnership between the Blue Jays and Bisons: “I could not be more pleased with what the upgrades at the facility will mean for our player development going forward, and you know that’s a lynchpin of everything we’re trying to build here. Minor League Baseball is about relationships, and those relationships for the Blue Jays haven’t been [around] for a while, but certainly Ross and I have been more decades than years. So, when I think back to the relationships built with Bob and Mindy Rich, with Mike Buczkowski, and Jon Dandes, among others, Minor League Baseball and player development is built upon that alignment and those relationships, we could not have pulled off what we pulled off here without their support and partnership.”
You can see most of the renovations to Sahlen Field in a social media video released today by the Blue Jays.