Rogers Centre renos are for players too

Toronto – The Toronto Blue Jays are doing everything they can to make ‘home’ a home field advantage.

A major makeover of the Rogers Center outfield seating has caught the attention of Blue Jays fans, but team president Mark Shapiro has made major changes to the ballpark’s restricted areas that he believes will give the team a competitive advantage. I was. He said in his hour-long tour of the new facility on Friday that “controlling the controllable” is part of his philosophy.

“There’s going to be a lot of things that happen within our sphere of existence that we have no control over,” said Shapiro, standing in the ballpark’s new weight room. . “But if you commit resources like the owner did, it’s going to be really thoughtful, spending time and thought, not just checking boxes and building spaces. It can be a competitive advantage both in recruiting and helping players stay on the field.”

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This includes the largest gym in Major League Baseball, a barber shop, and a family area with a two-story playground for the players’ children. To help players stay healthy, get healthier, and make players and their families feel better.

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“The most important part is to show players that we care and that we do everything humanly possible to help them reach their potential and become the best they can be. That’s it.

This means major changes along Rogers Center’s so-called Ring Road, a 705-meter underground boulevard that runs around the perimeter of the stadium, mainly under the 100th floor concourse.

Facility staff pick up uniforms, journalists walk (or sometimes run) from the media conference center to team clubhouses and merchandise storage, and player facilities are all located along Ring Road.

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The Blue Jays’ new weight room and batting cages are located on the outer edge of the road in the northwest corner of the stadium. This is where some of the biggest changes have been made.

“This is clearly a dream come true,” said strength and conditioning coach Scott Weberg. I made it.”

At 7,900 square feet, the new Rogers Center Weight Room is the largest in MLB, surpassing the facilities of the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. The new gym replaces the ballpark’s former weight room with 14,000-pound weights, a 48-yard long lawn, 1,000 square feet of mats for individual training, 18 pieces of cardio equipment, and a soundproof recovery room. It’s three times as big.

The space also addresses mental health, with sensory deprivation tanks planned and meditation rooms available for players.

“We schedule times for men to use it. It’s very popular,” said Werberg of the meditation room. “A lot of the staff do breathwork as well, so that helps a lot.”

Another popular destination is a barber shop about 100 meters further along the ring road. Joshua Diamante, the team’s chief barber, said it’s another place for players to relax.

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“We got this beautiful place, we call it like a sanctuary,” said Diamante. “It’s great to see the team come together and feel really comfortable and confident in themselves in this space.

“It also incorporates Toronto culture and feels like a cozy home.”

Next to the Barbershop is the Family Room, a spacious area where the player’s spouse, relatives and children gather. There is a large two-story playroom where a treehouse-themed playground dominates the space. Unique touches include a video game room for older kids and lockers with nameplates just like their fathers above each cubicle.

“My boys love it. They think of themselves as a stupid pottery barn on steroids,” said Toronto manager John Schneider. “They have a lot of fun and love the ball pit.

“My 6 year old loves the Nintendo setup upstairs. It’s really cool.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 28, 2023.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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