On Monday the Blue Jays and the city of Dunedin unveiled more details about their planned upgrades to the club’s facilities, including a first look at what the new Florida Auto Exchange Stadium will look like, should the plans go through.
That’s an image of the new-look stadium above, which comes via the Tampa Bay Times — who have done excellent reporting on this process throughout — and is part of a video presentation shown yesterday in Florida. Those of you familiar with the current state of the F.A.E.S. — essentially run-down prison chic — will notice a world of difference.
The Times shared the full video, which you can see below (though I had difficulty getting it to play in Chrome), which reveals a bar in centre field, tables with umbrellas to sit at all along the outfield wall in centre, actual seats beyond the outfield wall (a new feature), a sign for a separate “LF Bar” (which is only visible for a second, but is clear if you pause the clip around the 30 second mark), a sloped grass for fans to picnic on down the left field line, a new video scoreboard, shaded seating areas at the top of the stands around the entire main bowl, a big outdoor area that appears to incorporate a playground, and a giant team store, as seen in the image above.
Or, if you prefer Florida-ish terminology to mine, the Times explains that “the plans show a tiki hut bar in right-center field, lawn seating along the third baseline, several drink rails, lounge and shaded spots, beach huts and other ‘destination’ seating. The plans also include several breezeways, so air can flow in and out of the stadium to keep it cool, a year-round team store and a more welcoming entrance.”
There’s even, at around the 50 second mark of the video, what appears to be a pixellated concourse mural of the pile-on after the Jays won their first World Series in Atlanta in 1992. It only flies by for a split second, but what a detail! And what all of tells me, or at least what I hope it tells me — though I am, of course, pretty deeply in the tank for the club’s new regime at this point — is that they get it.
The park in the video reminds me a lot of Bright House Field down the road in Clearwater, and having been there as well, I can say that’s a very good thing.
And if this hints at how the club will approach upgrades at the Rogers Centre — fan friendly open spaces and moar barz! — I’m rather alright with that, too.
Anyway, here’s the clip of what the new facility will look like — provided, of course, it doesn’t hit any sort of snag with respect to funding (i.e. nobody from the state or county says, “hold the fuck on here, the Jays are only paying $15-million of this!?!!?!?”). (Also, though I had trouble with this in Chrome on the Times’ site — that new shitty Microsoft browser played it with relatively few problems! — I should note that it seems to be working fine embedded over here)
The aim is to have the new stadium ready for Spring 2019, and I’ve gotta say, I kinda can’t wait.