Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
|Former names||Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field, Knology Park|
|Location||373 Douglas Avenue #A
Dunedin, FL 34698
|Owner||City of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department|
|Operator||City of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department|
|Field size||Left Field – 333 ft
Left-Center – 380 ft
Center Field – 400 ft
Right-Center – 363 ft
Right Field – 336 ft
|Broke ground||September 1, 1989|
|Opened||March 1, 1990|
|Construction cost||$2.4 million
($4.4 million in 2017 dollars)
|Architect||Johnston Dana Associates|
|General contractor||Case Contracting Company|
|Toronto Blue Jays (Spring training) (1990–present)
Dunedin Blue Jays (FSL) (1990–present)
Dunedin High School baseball
Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (originally Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field) is a baseball field located in Dunedin, Florida. The stadium was built in 1990 and holds 5,509 people. It is the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as home to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Class A Florida State League and the Dunedin High School Falcons baseball team. The stadium name reverted from the name it had since 2004, Knology Park, when the naming agreement with Knology, a southeastern United States communications and entertainment company, expired on September 30, 2008. On November 7, 2010, the stadium was renamed again after the naming rights were purchased by the Florida Auto Exchange, a Dunedin car sales center.
From 1977 to 1989, the Blue Jays played at Grant Field, which had a seating capacity of 3,417. Grant Field opened in 1930 and was named after the mayor of Dunedin Albert J. Grant, who had donated the land. The first Toronto Blue Jays game ever was played there on March 11, 1977 when the Blue Jays beat the New York Mets 3-1.
In 1990, at a cost of approximately $2.4 million, the City of Dunedin built a new stadium called Dunedin Stadium at the same location as Grant Field. It had a capacity of 6,106. The actual playing field and team clubhouses did not change.
In the fall of 2000, the Toronto Blue Jays signed an agreement to remain in Dunedin for an additional 15 years pending a $12-million renovation. The state of Florida paid $6 million, Pinellas County $3 million, and the Jays and Dunedin paid the remainder for the renovations. The agreement took effect in March 2002. Part of the renovations have included a new two-story building that includes a clubhouse, training room, weight room, and office space that was built next to the stadium. The most recent renovations at Dunedin Stadium include remodeled restrooms and replacement of the grandstand seats.
In February 1995, during the Major League Baseball strike, the Blue Jays considered holding regular season games at Dunedin Stadium if the regular season began with replacement players. Ontario law forbade the Blue Jays from using replacement players in Toronto. American League officials inspected the ballpark on February 21, 1995 in response to the club's request to host games in Dunedin. The strike ended in March 1995 and no regular season games were played at the park.
Florida Auto Exchange Stadium is ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top five facilities to watch a Major League Baseball Spring training game. Dunedin has been the only spring home for the Toronto Blue Jays since their inception in 1977.
The current park capacity is 5,510 individual seats and features include a press box level with air-conditioned skyboxes, three picnic areas, two air-conditioned rooms, a scoreboard with electronic message display, regulation-sized Major League playing field and lighting, two half-fields (one natural grass and one artificial turf), batting tunnels, and full concession capabilities. In addition, the administrative offices feature an executive boardroom, dining room and kitchen, classroom, clubhouse and workout and training facilities.
On November 7, 2010, the City of Dunedin announced that it had reached a 7-year, $181,000 agreement with the Florida Auto Exchange, a Dunedin car sales center, for the naming rights of then-Dunedin Stadium. The facility was renamed "Florida Auto Exchange Stadium."
The Jays lease of the facility runs through 2017, but they have the option to extend it by an additional five years twice. After investigating possible alternative sites to host their spring training facility, the Jays are now negotiating a $81 million renovation to the stadium and Englebert Complex, which they would contribute $15.7 million to with the rest coming from the state ($13.6 million), county ($46 million) and city ($5.6 million) governments.
- "Groundbreaking Set for Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. August 26, 1989. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- "Dunedin Stadium at Grant Field" (PDF). Case Contracting Company. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
- "Knology Park Reverts to Old Name, Dunedin Stadium". St. Petersburg Times. November 4, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Walker, Ben (February 21, 1995). "Dunedin Home to Majors?". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 1C. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Harwell, Drew (November 6, 2010). "It's no 1-800-ASK-GARY". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Griffin, Richard (2014-01-25). "Blue Jays likely to keep Dunedin as spring training home". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
- Davidi, Shi (2017-02-21). "Plans for spring facility, Rogers Centre renovations in progress". Sportsnet. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
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