Behind the scenes: Stadium staff prepare for the Blue Jays' home opener
Published Friday, April 4, 2014 12:47PM EDT
The months-long process to prepare for a new baseball season is complete, and every detail has been double-checked ahead of the Blue Jays home opener on Friday night.
As the Toronto Blue Jays trained, a group of engineers, maintenance and construction staff spent the off-season tearing up and replacing the AstroTurf, digging out the bases, and rebuilding home plate.
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While the Jays began the season in Tampa Bay against The Rays, CTV Toronto went behind the scenes at the Rogers Centre to take in the final steps in the race to game day.
The Toronto Blue Jays host the New York Yankees Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In the last week before the home opener, a crew inspected the fresh plastic AstroTurf, laid earlier in the year so that staff could install a layer of artificial soil meant to add bounce and assist with drainage. Natural grass is expected to be planted in 2018.
Groundskeepers also dug out home plate, soon to be the focus of all eyes in the stadium.
The team got to work chalking lines across the diamond. The lines need to be precise, because opposing coaches can call in an umpire to inspect at the end of the game if he suspects there are any discrepancies, head groundskeeper Tom Farrell told CTV Toronto's Ashley Rowe.
The clay of the pitcher's mound was sculpted by tools and flattened with the help of workers' shoes.
Groundskeepers measured the height of the pitcher's mound against home plate by laser. The top of the mound must be exactly 10 inches higher than plate.
Even the letters on the backs of players' jerseys were measured before being pressed onto the cloth.