Stoeten: What if Toronto’s Maple Leaf Stadium had been made into a viable big-league ballpark?

From Andrew Stoeten at The Athletic on April 14, 2020:

Exhibition Stadium was a messy compromise, as any baseball fan who remembers what the place looked like can attest. An auto racing grandstand turned into a football stadium in the 1950s and remodelled for baseball in the ’70s, Toronto’s own “mistake by the lake” was vaguely horseshoe-shaped, with thousands of useless seats flanking a vast expanse of no man’s land beyond the right-field fence.

Because of its dual purpose, many seats were oriented toward the football configuration’s 50-yard line. Two-thirds of the stands were uncovered, leaving fans to bake in the midsummer sun. And its proximity to Lake Ontario made the park a magnet for seagulls — Yankees star Dave Winfield was arrested by Toronto Police for killing one with a warmup throw in 1983 (the charges were later dropped).

When SkyDome opened with great (and cringeworthy) fanfare in June 1989, few tears were shed by baseball fans at the thought of leaving the Exhibition Grounds behind.

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Originally published: April 15, 2020. Last Updated: April 15, 2020.