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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Articles tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays players pushing to play in MLB park

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The Toronto Blue Jays are homeless just ten days before their scheduled home opener, and the players aren’t willing to accept just any stadium.

Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass said Sunday that he and his teammates want to play in an MLB-level park, and he made that clear to GM Ross Atkins. Bass went on to say that Atkins assured him that the organization was trying to comply with the wishes of the players to make that happen.

There’s only so much the Blue Jays can do, but it sounds like they’re trying. Some sort of agreement to share a stadium with another team based in an area with a relatively low caseload is possible. However, with the schedule already set, the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball would probably have to get very creative for such an arrangement to work.

It had previously appeared that Buffalo was the most likely destination for the Jays, especially when the city’s mayor extended an invitation to the franchise. It’s pretty clear that the stadium isn’t up to MLB standards, though, and would not fit with the wishes of the players. The city of Charlotte has also been mentioned, but again, Truist Field was built for a minor league team and has a capacity of just 10,200, so it probably wouldn’t be good enough for the players either.

Could Charlotte become home for Blue Jays this season?

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The Toronto Blue Jays were told recently that the Canadian government will not allow them to play home games at the Rogers Centre this season, so they team will need to temporarily find a new home. One option is Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dan Shulman, who works for ESPN and calls games for the Blue Jays on Sportsnet, said on Saturday that the team is looking at high-level minor league stadiums. He mentioned Charlotte as an option.

Shulman also mentioned that the Blue Jays are looking at Buffalo, which makes sense considering the mayor of the city extended an invitation to them as soon as the news about Toronto surfaced.

The Charlotte Knights play at Trust Field, which is in downtown Charlotte and just opened in 2014. It’s one of the nicer minor league ballparks in the country, so it is definitely worth consideration.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to have their first home game on July 29 against the Washington Nationals. They need to make a decision quickly, and an announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.

Ex-Yankees pitcher takes funny shot at Blue Jays stadium

Phil Hughes

Former MLB pitcher Phil Hughes took a funny shot at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Twitter Saturday.

The Canadian government ruled that they will not allow the Blue Jays to operate out of Toronto for the MLB season. The Jays are considering playing at one of two of their minor league facilities in the U.S. –in Buffalo, N.Y. or Dunedin, Fla.

Hughes cracked wise about the planned move.

The city of Buffalo is trying to get the Jays to play there. Buffalo has a large Triple-A stadium in Sahlen Field, with a capacity of 16,600. Stadium lighting would have to be upgraded to MLB quality, and on-site replay capability would also be required, which is to what Hughes was referring.

Hughes, 34, pitched seven seasons for the Yankees, five for the Twins, and finished his career in 2018 with the Padres. He was an All-Star in 2010 and has been cracking jokes on Twitter ever since.

Buffalo mayor invites Blue Jays to play home games in city

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Momentum appears to be growing for the city of Buffalo to host MLB games this summer.

The Canadian government announced Saturday that it has denied the Blue Jays permission to play home games in Toronto, leaving the team deciding on a new home days before the 2020 season is due to start. The team’s spring training home in Dunedin has been listed as a possibility, but there are concerns about the number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida.

The other option frequently mentioned is Buffalo, and the city’s mayor, Byron Brown, made clear Saturday that the Jays would be welcome there.

As recently as this week, the Jays were still exploring Buffalo as a possibility. The city boasts a large Triple-A stadium in Sahlen Field, which has a capacity of 16,600. Stadium lighting would have to be upgraded to MLB quality, and on-site replay capability would also be required.

We do know the mayor is definitely in tune with his city’s sports fans. Fans in Buffalo wouldn’t be allowed to attend games, but they probably wouldn’t mind having an MLB team in town for a little while.

Blue Jays denied government approval to play games in Toronto

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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.

Canadian health official gives hint on what could help Blue Jays play in Toronto

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Time is running out for the Toronto Blue Jays to figure out where they will be playing home games for the 2020 season.

The Blue Jays are still focused on playing their games in Toronto, but are still in need of final government approval to do so. The major issue remains travel in and out of the country, as both the Blue Jays and their opponents will have to cross the border between Canada and the U.S. multiple times. That border remains closed to non-essential travel.

Canada Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo had an idea that he thought might make it easier for the Blue Jays to play in Toronto — namely that the Blue Jays should have an extended homestand to reduce their travel in and out of the country.

“We’re seeing what’s in the realm of possible,” Njoo said, via Rob Gillies of the Associated Press. “I could get myself in trouble but I’m going to say it anyway. Look at the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Canada. I know the schedule has already been set for the Blue Jays, but in trying to respect the quarantine and keeping players safe, I don’t know, maybe one option is the Blue Jays staying in Canada for an extended period of time and playing a quite a long series of games.”

As Njoo notes, the problem with this is that MLB’s schedule has been set for 2020. Any change would need to come from the league, and could result in awkward travel schedules for opponents.

The Blue Jays can’t like the amount of uncertainty that still exists with regard to their home schedule. They continue to look at alternate sites to potentially play games, but with the season starting in a week and a half, the decision will have to be made very soon.

Report: Blue Jays still exploring playing home games in Buffalo

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The Toronto Blue Jays still don’t know where they’ll be playing their home games in 2020.

The Blue Jays have been given permission to stage summer camp at Rogers Centre in Toronto, with major restrictions on movement. However, they have yet to receive approval to play regular season games there due to the amount of travel in and out that would be required for both the Blue Jays and visiting teams.

According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, the Blue Jays have subsequently reached out to the Buffalo Bisons, their Triple-A affiliate, about the potential of playing games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. This is a contingency plan for if the Blue Jays cannot get approval to play in Toronto, which remains their preference and goal.

While Sahlen Field is a decent option, there are concerns over the quality of stadium lighting as well as whether there is enough space to accommodate an MLB operation. Ultimately, though, the Jays may be left with no other option if they are told they can’t play in Toronto.

The Blue Jays had also looked into using their spring training home in Florida for the 2020 season. It’s not clear whether that plan could also still be on the table.

Report: Blue Jays players told they could be fined $750K, jailed for leaving Toronto bubble

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Toronto Blue Jays players and staff have been living at a hotel near the Rogers Centre as they prepare for the 2020 season, and they will reportedly face some harsh penalties if they don’t follow quarantine protocol.

According to TSN’s Seth Mitchell, any Blue Jays player who leaves the Toronto campus without clearance could be fined up to $750,000 and face jail time.

The Blue Jays received an exemption to train in Canada on “national interest grounds.” However, players who have traveled to Toronto from outside Canada must quarantine inside the Rogers Centre and adjoining Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel for 14 days.

Most Blue Jays players arrived in Toronto on a charter flight Sunday night, and others will fly in on a second charter later this week. Players need to be cleared with two negative coronavirus tests in order to join their teammates.

Report: Blue Jays returning to Toronto, will stay at hotel attached to stadium

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The Toronto Blue Jays appear to be heading to Canada after all.

Unlike the NBA which is creating a “bubble” environment in Orlando for teams and players to convene, MLB teams are planning to operate out of their respective home cities for the shortened 2020 season. There were questions about whether the Blue Jays would be hosting games in Canada due to the country’s travel restrictions. There was talk that the team could host games in Dunedin or Buffalo as an alternative.

On Sunday, we learned that the team plans to operate out of Toronto as its home base.

One report said players were told to report to Toronto for their second spring training.

Other reports and photos said belongings were being moved out of the team’s spring training facility in Florida to be sent to Toronto.

The Jays still need approval from the Canadian government for this plan. But there is another interesting element.

Hazel Mae reports that the Jays would be staying at the hotel attached to the Rogers Centre, which is the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel.

Mae says players and staff would be quarantining at the hotel in order to limit possible exposure and spread of the coronavirus.

Report: Blue Jays players told to report to Toronto for spring training

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The Toronto Blue Jays appear on track to train, and possibly play, in their home city.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Blue Jays players have been told to report to Toronto, and a chartered flight is set for next week to get the players into Canada.

There had been significant questions over whether the Blue Jays would be able to play at home. Non-essential travel between Canada and the United States is currently prohibited, and the Jays had to ask the Canadian government for permission to play games at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Blue Jays had alternative plans drawn up in case this couldn’t happen. This is a positive sign that they may not need them after all.