Blue Jays denied government approval to play games in Toronto
Just days ahead of the scheduled start of the 2020 MLB season, the Toronto Blue Jays will reportedly need to find a temporary new home.
As first reported by Rob Gillies of the Associated Press, the Canadian government has denied the Blue Jays permission to play home games at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino confirmed the decision in a statement.
“Unlike preseason training, regular season games would require repeated cross-border travel of Blue Jays players and staff, as well as opponent teams into and out of Canada. Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would be required to play in locations where the risk of virus transmission remains high,” Mendicino said.
“Based on the best-available public health advice, we have concluded the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians’ health and safety. As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”
The Blue Jays have a couple options. Their spring training home in Dunedin is a possible site for home games. They have also looked into playing in Buffalo, which would keep them closer to home. The organization is going to have to work quickly to nail one of them down, as the team’s first home game is scheduled for July 29 against Washington.