While the Blue Jays remain hopeful that they’ll be able to play their home games in Toronto in 2021, there’s a very good chance they’ll be back in Buffalo, at least to start the season.
It feels like the Covid-19 pandemic has been a thing for far too long already, and despite the fact that vaccines have started rolling out across the world, we’re unfortunately still going to be dealing with restrictions to every day life for a while yet.
And that may very well include another year without a Blue Jays game played on Canadian soil.
Of course, a lot can change over the next few months, and banking on any outcome is probably foolish at this stage. However, after the latest developments in the Canadian sports world this week, I’m not sure that it would be wise to expect to play home games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
I actually say that because of NHL news that was reported by Sportnet’s Chris Johnston on Thursday. As a quick recap, the league has been looking at having an All-Canadian team division to work around the pandemic, but unfortunately they’re running into some significant snags at the moment. So much so that the NHL may have no choice but to move games involving Canadian teams to the United States.
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The biggest factor is that three levels of Canadian government have to approve a league operating, and right now there isn’t much of anything happening in Canada as far as organized sports as a second wave of the pandemic hits the country. Most of the Junior hockey leagues are on a hiatus, and youth sports are mostly shut down across the country. We’ll see how long these situations continue, but that’s where it stands at the moment.
With it looking like a vaccine may not start reaching the general public in Canada until around April, the situation may not significantly improve ahead of the start of the next MLB season. Couple that with the fact that every other team will still have to come from the United States, and it there’s a good chance that the hurdle remains into the spring.
The good news is that the Blue Jays are far more prepared for such a scenario if that’s how things play out. This year they were less than a week away from the start of the regular season and still didn’t have a confirmed home. This time around they won’t have to search or reschedule games around hasty renovations. It’s not the scenario they’re hoping for, but Sahlen Field in Buffalo will certainly do the trick. In fact, several Blue Jay hitters like Teoscar Hernandez and Rowdy Tellez seemed to be right at home in their former minor league station, so there are plus sides to the arrangement as well.
It’s a situation to keep an eye on, but as I’m seeing the NHL in Canada idea potentially fall apart, and we’re learning more about vaccine rollout timelines, it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays starting the season in Toronto. Here’s hoping they can make it back to the Rogers Centre at some point in 2021 though. I have a few thousand friends I’d love to hang out with.