Sahlen Field hosted 23 Blue Jays games & 23 Bisons game in same season
The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) announced Sahlen Field, the home of the Buffalo Bisons and temporary home of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, has been named 2021 Professional Baseball Field of the Year.
The Field of the Year is awarded annually by STMA to natural grass fields that exhibit excellent playability and safety, and whose managers utilize innovative solutions, effectively use their budgets, and have implemented a comprehensive agronomic program.
In 2021, Sahlen Field served as home to both the Toronto Blue Jays and Buffalo Bisons, but not before the two teams jointly funded several ballpark upgrades, which included moving the bullpens off the field of play to behind the outfield walls, and the resodding of the outfield grass (which completed a full field replacement that began with the infield in 2020).
On June 1, Sahlen Field reopened as a Major League ballpark to welcome in the Toronto Blue Jays for 23 home games over the next two months. Then, following the Blue Jays return to Rogers Center in late July, Sahlen Field was transformed back into the home of Bisons, welcoming the Herd after just 20 days for a 23-game home schedule in August and September. Both the Blue Jays (12-11) and the Bisons (14-9) had winning records at Sahlen Field in 2021.
Led by head groundskeeper Kelly Rensel, the Bisons played all 23 of their home games as scheduled. Only a pair of the Blue Jays games were postponed due to weather, as Sahlen Field shined for the baseball world to see during an unprecedented season.
Also serving as the Blue Jays temporary home in 2020, Sahlen Field hosted 49 Major League Baseball games over the past two years, tying the ballpark with Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan, Puerto Rico for hosting the most regular season MLB games for a non-home ballpark.
STMA is a nonprofit, professional association for the men and women who manage outdoor sports fields worldwide. Since 1981, it has provided education and practical knowledge in the art and science of sports field management. The single goal of the more than 2,600 members is to manage sports field playing surfaces to the safest level possible. Every year, STMA presents the industry’s highest honors to members who manage baseball, football, soccer, softball and other sporting playing surfaces at the professional, collegiate, schools (K-12), and parks and recreation levels.