Toronto Blue Jays: Buffalo still an option for home games in 2020

A view of Buffalo, home of the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
A view of Buffalo, home of the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images) /

With the start of the 2020 regular season fast approaching, the Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly reconsidering Shahlen Field in Buffalo to host home games.

After all the issues and disagreements in recent months, it’s hard to believe that we’re now less than two weeks away from the start of the 2020 MLB season. (At least as things stand, with the ongoing concerns in respect of COVID-19.) The Toronto Blue Jays are set to begin their campain on July 24 on the road, against the Tampa Bay Rays.

What isn’t quite so clear for the Blue Jays, is where they will be playing their home games this year. In an ideal world the club wants to play at Rogers Centre, where they are currently holding training camp.

However, if the Blue Jays are to play home games in Toronto, they have to overcome the challenge of going back and forth across the boarder, for road trips in the United States. As things stand there is no agreement in place with the government, which would enable them to play at Rogers Centre.

With this in mind, the Blue Jays are apparently considering Sahlen Field in Buffalo to potentially play home games. With the Minor League Baseball season being cancelled, the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate Bisons do not need to use the stadium in downtown Buffalo.

What makes this interesting, is that the Blue Jays had previously considered and dismissed Shalen Field as a possibility. However, as per Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, desperation is growing to find somwhere to hold home games in 2020.

To put this desperation into context, consider that the Blue Jays are set to host their first home game on July. 29 against the current World Series champion Washington Nationals. In theory, playing in Buffalo makes sense because of its proximity to Toronto, meaning the players would at least be relatively close to home. (Not that this will necessarily matter with quarantine rules.)

As you’d expect however, it isn’t entirely straightforward. One of the main reasons the Blue Jays previously dismissed Sahlen Field, was because the infrastructure wasn’t up to par.

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As reported by TSN, the lighting in the stadium is not up to MLB standards. As such, relevant upgrades would need to take place in a timely fashion in order to host Blue Jays home games this year.

Unsurprising at this stage, Rich Baseball Operations declined to comment when asked if the Blue Jays had been in touch with them about playing at Sahlen Field. Someone who has commented though is Buffalo mayor Byron Brown.

Brown shared a statement, when contacted by Harrington to discuss the matter. The mayor has told the Bisons he supports the idea and will assist in any way he can, but appreciates the Blue Jays need permission from the Canadian government.

It wil be interesting to see how this all plays out. With less than three weeks until their first home game, everyone connected to the Blue Jays will be hoping for a prompt solution.

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What is your take on the potential of the Toronto Blue Jays playing home games in Buffalo? Would you be on board with such a move, or disagree with it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.