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Empty seats at Rogers Centre during game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the division leading Baltimore Orioles May 30, 2012. (The Globe and Mail/The Globe and Mail)
Empty seats at Rogers Centre during game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the division leading Baltimore Orioles May 30, 2012. (The Globe and Mail/The Globe and Mail)

Jays' attendance woes

Will the new media bring fans back to the old ballpark? Add to ...

One-hundred and fifty new 42-inch flat-screen video monitors were installed in the first- and second-tier Rogers Centre concourses, which brings the number of stadium monitors to around 300. Stephen Brooks, senior vice-president of business operations for the Blue Jays, was loathe to admit it, but none of the new monitors were installed on the 500 level, the nosebleed seats in the upper echelons of the stadium. It could be argued that’s where TV monitors are needed most – or at least a pair of binoculars. “You’ve got to start somewhere,” Brooks said. “And you start where most of your traffic is and kind of work your way up.” The picture is now high definition thanks to a multimillion-dollar renovation to the stadium’s main control room. When the building’s 33-by-110-foot video scoreboard over centre field is finally replaced it will feature an HD picture.

GET THAT BASEBALL VALIDATED

The Blue Jays have a new program, primarily directed toward children, in which a baseball hit into the stands can be taken to guest services and a certificate will be issued as proof that it was, indeed, an authentic MLB projectile.

HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB?

The lighting at Rogers Centre had fallen below major-league standards. Although fans might not realize it, the entire lighting system was upgraded in a two-month conversion process with all 840 of the 2,000-watt bowl lights replaced. They are on six banks encircling the field near the roof. It wasn’t simply a matter of changing one light for another. According to Kelly Keyes, the vice-president of building services, each light was individually tailored, using computers, to cast its beam to a specific spot on the field. The pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box are always the brightest areas on a baseball field.

TAKE AWAY A PIECE OF A.J. BURNETT HISTORY

Another new addition this year is the Memorabilia Clubhouse, home for game-worn jerseys, baseballs, bats and other baseball artifacts. On April 15, Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated throughout baseball and the bases from Toronto’s game that day were collected and put on display there. One collector has already purchased second base, paying $250. You can also get the locker nameplate belonging to A.J. Burnett, the former Toronto pitcher, for $150. A nameplate that once adorned the locker of John Farrell can be had for anywhere between $100 to $150, while one containing the name of former manager Cito Gaston could run you as much as $300.

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