The Blue Jays were hoping to be able to play their home games in Toronto this year, but the Federal government officially denied their request on Saturday.
It’s not terribly surprising news, but I’m sure the Blue Jays are a little disappointed all the same. On Saturday the Associated Press broke the news that the Blue Jays will not be allowed to play their home games at the Rogers Centre this season, as they were denied their exemption request by the Canadian federal government.
We’ve talked about this issue here at Jays Journal before, and the problem for the Blue Jays was fairly simple. While they could offer a quarantine environment at the Rogers Centre, which is complete with a hotel, the biggest issue was crossing a federal border. The current rules state that people must enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving in Canada, and that’s obviously not possible with the way the MLB schedule is laid down. Both the Blue Jays and their competition would be coming from all over the United States, and there would be very little time to test them for the virus before they entered the country, and get the results back in a timely manner. At least, that seems to have been an issue for the league thus far.
Perhaps the biggest issue is the fact that MLB still hasn’t really proven themselves to have a handle on Covid-19 testing. There have been several complaints from players across the league, mostly linked to delays with results. Some teams have had to cancel workouts while waiting to hear back, and other players have had to sit on the sidelines while their teammates frantically try to get ready for a shortened regular season. It’s been less than ideal.
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Where do the Blue Jays go from here? They do have their spring training facility in Florida that could be an option, but with surging Covid-19 numbers in the state right now that might not be their first choice. There have been rumblings that the front office has been looking at the Triple-A field in Buffalo as another alternative, but the field isn’t quite up to MLB standards. That said, they may not get the opportunity to be all that picky.
The other alternative that’s been banded about is sharing the notorious Tropicana field with the Tampa Bay Rays as a home facility. It’s also in Florida as well, so the same issue exists there, but the Blue Jays have a few things to take in to consideration here, and not a lot of time to figure it out.
You would have to think that the front office was preparing for this possibility, and hopefully they’re prepared to pivot and come up with a new plan. It’s unfortunate that there won’t be Major League Baseball in Canada this year, but without the ability for fans to go and watch at the stadium, it really doesn’t impact us that directly. I do feel for the players that likely hoped to use the Rogers Centre as a safe(r) haven, but I’m sure they were prepared for the government’s decision as well.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted here at Jays Journal with any announcements in regards to where the games will be played this year. With Opening Day set for less than a week from now, I imagine we’ll find out pretty soon.