- Blue Jays denied permission to play home games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh
- Canadian government ruled over the weekend that the Blue Jays cannot play home games in Toronto due to the pandemic
- Jays’ first scheduled home game is slated for July 29 vs. Nationals
Over the weekend, the Canadian federal government ruled that the Toronto Blue Jays will not be allowed to play home games at Rogers Centre this season. Despite having gotten local and provincial approval of their plans to play games in Toronto, Canada’s federal government denied the team’s request.
Canada has closed its border to Americans as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Cases in the US have soared in recent months, while Canada has done a better job of flattening its curve. Because teams would be traveling back-and-forth between the US and Canada with the Blue Jays playing games in Toronto, the government decided against allowing the team to play games in its usual home park.
So, less than a week before their scheduled regular-season home opener, the Blue Jays are still trying to find a home stadium. Initial reports said the team would consider playing games at its Triple-A affiliate’s home stadium in Buffalo, New York, or at the team’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida.
However, Florida has emerged as the United States’ epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, which means the team would prefer to avoid the area. The lighting at the stadium in Buffalo is reportedly substandard for a Major League facility, as well.
PNC Park Off The Table
The Blue Jays were reportedly strongly considering using Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as its temporary home stadium, but Major League Baseball still has not received approval for the plan from Pennsylvania’s governor’s office. The two sides have been in communication, but the state will not approve of the team’s request. Later on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that it will not let the Jays play home games in the state.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced today that it will not allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play their shortened 2020 season at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. https://t.co/og8ZxLdlp0
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) July 22, 2020
Opening Day was originally scheduled to happen on March 26, but the season has been delayed by nearly four months due to the pandemic as well as a subsequent labor dispute. Now, every team will play a truncated 60-game schedule that begins Thursday and concludes on September 27. The Blue Jays will begin their season on Friday in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays.
PNC Park received strong consideration due to the fact that the Blue Jays’ schedule aligns nearly perfectly with the Pirates’. Other than July 29, the two teams don’t have a home game scheduled on the same day until September 7. The Jays are slated to play host to the Washington Nationals on July 29, which comes just a day after Toronto will be in DC to play a two-game series. In all likelihood, the Jays can just stay in Washington to play those additional two games instead.
Baltimore Under Consideration?
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he would have had no issue with the Blue Jays playing their home games in Pittsburgh, and Toronto manager Charlie Montoya said he was excited about the idea, too. However, that idea is now dead.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore is another site reportedly under consideration, according to Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk. The team has said it would much prefer to play in a big-league facility, which makes the Buffalo and Dunedin options unlikely at this point.