TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have to find a place to play 30 home games this season after the federal government rejected their plan to use Rogers Centre on Saturday.
Here are a look at the possibilities for the team during the pandemic:
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo News reported last week the Blue Jays have had discussions with their triple-A affiliate’s ownership group about using Sahlen Field if they couldn’t use Rogers Centre. Minutes away from the Peace Bridge connecting Fort Erie, Ont., and Buffalo, the Blue Jays would stay as close to home as possible with this option. The Buffalo News reported lighting likely would need an upgrade for television and that there are concerns about the tightness of the facility. There are plenty of downtown Buffalo hotels near the stadium. New York State has had more than 406,000 cases of COVID-19, but the state was hit harder earlier in the pandemic, especially in the New York City area. Erie County (where Buffalo is located, and about an eight-hour drive to New York City) is at just over 8,000 cases.
DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Blue Jays’ spring-training home since Day 1 in 1977, TD Ballpark underwent renovations this year. The Blue Jays said earlier this summer that Dunedin was their most likely location for games if they couldn’t use Rogers Centre, but Florida has been hit extremely hard by COVID-19 in recent weeks, with some calling the state the new epicentre of the virus. Florida has had more than 333,000 positive tests, with more than 13,000 in Pinellas County (where Dunedin is located).
ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE UNITED STATES — The Blue Jays don’t have to use a facility they have ties to, like Buffalo or Dunedin. With minor league baseball cancelled this year, the Blue Jays could make a deal with any team. Lower COVID-19 rates and better facilities could convince the Jays to examine other locations. There also is the possibility of sharing a major-league stadium with another team, though in-facility space for social distancing could be a challenge with two home teams.