Some lighting upgrades to be permanent at Sahlen Field

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – While many of the changes being made to get Sahlen Field ready to host Major League Baseball games are just temporary, some of the lighting upgrades will be permanent.

The new bulbs being installed are permanent and will stay at Sahlen Field, a Toronto Blue Jays team official said Wednesday. The team is also bringing in two additional mobile lighting units, which are temporary.

The Blue Jays will play 25 of their 30 home games at Sahlen Field this year after the Canadian government denied them permission to play in Toronto. The first game in Buffalo is scheduled for August 11th.

Last week, Jays CEO Mark Shapiro said the most significant upgrade needed to get the stadium ready to host the games involved the lighting. Shapiro also said most of the extra space being created for the games is temporary.

“The lighting issue is not just a broadcast issue,” Shapiro said. “The lighting issue is also an in-place issue.”

“Our major league players are used to different standards. The standards of all minor league lighting in almost every stadium is just not up to major league standards,” he added.

Crews could be seen working on the stadium lighting along Washington St. Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he has a phone call scheduled for Thursday with Major League Baseball, the Blue Jays, and the Buffalo Bisons. The reported coronavirus outbreak in the Miami Marlins clubhouse will be the topic of conversation, Poloncarz said.

ESPN has reported at least 17 members of the Marlins organization have tested positive for the virus. Miami is scheduled to be the first team the Blue Jays play in Buffalo on August 11th.

“We want to see games and we want to see it done safely,” Poloncarz said. “It would be great to have the Blue Jays playing in Buffalo, as we hope they will very soon, and winning.

“But it would be the most 2020 thing, especially for Buffalo, if because of what happens elsewhere, we don’t even get to have one game in Buffalo because they shut it down.”

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.

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