Clem's Baseball home

Sahlen Field *
Temporary home of the
Toronto Blue Jays
(July-Sept. 2020 & May-June 2021)

Sahlen Field

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1988 2004 2021 upper deck lower deck hypothetical
Rogers Centre War Memorial Stadium
Key to diagrams

* Previously known as "Pilot Field" (1988-1995), "NorthAmeriCare Park" (1995-1999), "Dunn Tire Park" (1999-2008), and "CocaCola Field" (2009-2018). Also the regular home of the AAA Buffalo Bisons (International League) since 1988.

Vital statistics:
Lifetime Seating
Seating rows
Overhang /
shade %
Est. territory
(1,000 sq. ft.)
Fence height  CF
orien- tation
Back-stop Outfield dimensions
Built Status Lower deck Middle deck Upper deck Lower deck Upper deck Fair Foul LF CF RF Left
Left-center Center field Right-center Right field
1988 FINE 16,600 38 - 10 75% 70% 104.7 22.8 12 8 8 SSE 55 325 371 (399) 367 325

* The Toronto Blue Jays are playing their home games there in 2020, due to the coronavirus and Canada's restrictions on non-essential travel from the United States.

BEEN THERE: July 18, 2015 (when it was still called "CocaCola Field") and July 8, 2022.

When I bought the book Green Cathedrals (second edition, 1992), I learned of the existence of a new minor league ballpark -- Pilot Field, as it was originally known. Built in 1988, it pioneered the "Neoclassical" movement in baseball stadium design, of which Orioles Park in Camden Yards was the first such example in the major leagues -- four years later. Pilot Field was a marked improvement over the Buffalo Bisons' previous home at War Memorial Stadium, and clearly outclassed The Diamond, a minor league stadium built in Richmond, Virginia just a few years before. In fact, it was built in part as a way to get a major league expansion franchise awarded to Buffalo, but that city lost out to Miami and Denver in 1993. Buffalo leaders also tried unsuccessfully to lure the San Francisco Giants and other MLB teams. That really wasn't a practical idea, however, as there was only limited space in downtown Buffalo to expand the stadium. Nevertheless, a hypothetical expanded version of Sahlen Field with a third deck is shown above.

Originally, the outfield were rather deep, with a curved fence stretching from left-center field all the way to the right field foul pole. Then in 1996, after the Buffalo Bisons became affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, the outfield was reduced, with angled fences similar to Jacobs (now Progressive) Field. (NOTE: Most sources have the power-alley distances reversed, but one can clearly see in photos that left-center field is 367 feet, and right-center field is 371 feet.) One subtle feature is that the fence in front of the grandstand angles back slightly between the dugouts and the foul poles, in order to provide enough room for the (original) bullpens. This removes two or three rows of seats near the two corners. In 2004, the curved "bleacher" seating sections in right field were removed and replaced with a new table-top seating section, along with a grassy slope for casual fans. Illustrating the tight space available, a major thoroughfare passes within a few feet of the left field fence, and a 60-foot high net was installed to prevent home run balls from crashing into automobiles. Beyond those seating areas is a multi-deck parking garage, visible in the panoramic photo below. A nice defining feature of Sahlen Field is the pyramid-shaped pavilion with a big sphere on the top, at each extreme end of the grandstand. Another aesthetic touch is that roof of the grandstand has cross-hatches that remind one of Bavarian architecture.

This stadium has undergone many name changes over the years. In 1995 it was renamed "NorthAmeriCare Park," in 1999 it became "Dunn Tire Park," in 2009 it became "CocaCola Field," and in 2019 it became "Sahlen Field." Sahlen is pronounced "SAY-len," and is the name of a local meat products company, best known for their hot dogs and sausages. In the Buffalo area, for some reason, a chili dog is called a "Texas red hot."

thumbnail As one of the many strange consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the Toronto Blue Jays were forced to find an alternative venue for playing their home games during the 2020 season. (The Canadian government refused to allow American baseball teams across the border to play at the Rogers Centre.) Sahlen Field made perfect sense, as it was geographically close to their real home in Toronto, and was the home of their minor league affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Since all minor league games were canceled in 2020, they were able to make all the necessary upgrades to the facilities, including stronger lights (LED), repaired infield turf, and better dugout and clubhouse facilities. They also added huge promotional banners covering the empty seats (not shown in the diagram), as has been done in most other MLB stadiums. On August 11, the Blue Jays played their first "home away from home" game at Sahlen Field, winning 5-4 in ten innings -- taking advantage of the new extra innings rules. Once it became clear that the Blue Jays would need it for at least part of the 2021 season as well, they moved the bullpens to beyond right center field and built a new building on the south side (beyond the scoreboard) with weight rooms, batting cages, etc.(See the Anomalous stadiums page.)

SOURCES:,,, (for the previous names)

camera North side: Swan Street gate (July 8, 2022) camera East (LF) corner: Oak Street gate (July 8, 2022)

camera East (LF) corner at night (July 18, 2015 -- then called "Coca Cola Field") camera Panorama (spliced-together) at night (July 18, 2015)

Sahlen Field north
Buffalo stadiums
Sahlen Field
The Clem Criteria:
Location * Aesthetics Overall
5 8 8 8 7 7.2

* See the Stadium locations page.

Visit Buffalo!

The shipping hub of western New York is best known among tourists as the jumping off point for excursions to Niagara Falls, located about 15 miles to the northwest. Nevertheless, there is much fine architecture in Buffalo itself, mostly from the early decades of the 20th Century, when Buffalo was an industrial and commercial boom town. The Ellicott Square building (top left), Electric Tower (below left), and Erie Community College (in the old Post Office building, below right), are prime examples. At the top right is part of the General Mills food processing complex, just across the Buffalo River from KeyBank Center, home of the NHL Buffalo Sabers.


Sahlen Field:
Chronology of diagram updates


NOTE: Roll your mouse over the adjacent thumbnail to see a preliminary version. .

Sahlen Field
14 Aug 2020 29 Jul 2022

Vox populi: Fans' impressions

Have you been to this stadium? If so, feel free to share your impressions of it with other fans! (Registration is required.) Also, I welcome submissions of original stadium photos that fans have taken, and will make sure they get properly credited. Just send me an e-mail message via the Contact page.

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