Major League Baseball’s one Canadian team will have to find a new home for the upcoming 2020 season. The Canadian government announced on Saturday that it will not allow the Blue Jays to play their home games for the shortened MLB season in Toronto, as it does not believe that it will be safe for players to travel back to Canada from the United States, which has been hit significantly harder by coronavirus.
Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the decision, which will prevent the Blue Jays from using the Rogers Centre as their home base as baseball returns to action this week:
There were serious risks if we proceeded with the regular-season proposal of the MLB and the Jays and therefore we concluded it was not in the national interest.
Toronto will now have to find another place to host its home games; according to the Associated Press, some options include the team’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, or Sahlen Field in Buffalo, which is home to the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate. As of now, it doesn’t appear that the club has decided on one or the other, at least according to team president Mark Shapiro:
Dunedin is the only one that is 100% seamless right now and ready to go. That from a player-health standpoint has some challenges,” Shapiro said. “Buffalo is certainly one that we’ve spent an increasing amount of time on in the past few weeks. That is not done.
The player-health concerns for the Florida facility have to do with the recent spike of coronavirus cases in the state, while the actual facility in Buffalo is not up to what the team would consider major league standards. However, Shapiro appears confident that the team could make the Buffalo location work with some additional upgrades to the facilities, which are currently empty.
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