Toronto Blue Jays set to return to Canada for training camp

Outside Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Outside Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly set to leave Florida and return to Southern Ontario so they can hold training camp at Rogers Centre.

The Toronto Blue Jays are coming home for training camp. At least this is the case according to the latest reports.

As per Sportsnet‘s Shi Davidi, Blue Jays players have been told to prepare to travel to Toronto. There is apparently a charter scheduled to leave Dunedin on Wednesday, although there has been no confirmation from the team at the time of publishing this post.

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Davidi also noted that some players had actually booked flights for Sunday and Monday. However, they were advised to wait until the team had received government approval.

It sure sounds though like the Blue Jays expect to be holding training camp back in Toronto at the Rogers Centre. As reported by the Toronto Sun‘s Rob Longley, trucks are being loaded at the facility in Dunedin, in preparation to ship North.

MLB’s return-to-play plan has training camps starting on July 1, which would likely mean the Blue Jays beginning a day or two later. However, this would be a minor inconvenience if the team is allowed to train back home in Canada.

It would also give the players more peace of mind about their health and safety, especially after some of the staff reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Even though Ontario has the second-highest amount of positive cases and deaths among Canada’s provinces, this is nowhere close to what is currently happening in Florida.

Pending the government’s approval, the Blue Jays have a ready-made infrastructure in place to keep the players protected. They will be able to stay at the hotel which is part of Rogers Centre, with the team likely going straight to the stadium from Toronto Pearson Airport.

Understandably, this will then lead to the question of whether the Blue Jays will be able to play home games in Toronto once the 2020 season begins? Unlike the NHL, MLB is not going to use hub cities to host games.

Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro is in contact with the Canadian government. Assuming they approve the team’s return to Canada for camp, this is a vital step towards finding a way for MLB games to be played in Toronto this season.

If the government doesn’t agree to allow games to be played in Toronto — at least to begin with — an alternative plan needs to be in place. What we do know at this point, as per Michael Bradburn of theScore, is that Buffalo won’t be an option for the Blue Jays.

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Do you agree with the apparent move for the Toronto Blue Jays to hold training camp back in Canada? Where do you predict they will play their home games for the 2020 MLB season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.