With the Toronto Blue Jays set to open the 2020 season, the team has finally reached an agreement to play most of their home games in Buffalo.
The decision came on Friday just hours before the team was set to open the season on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays.
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After a decision was made by the Canadian government on July 18th to not allow the Blue Jays to play their home games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the team was put into scramble mode to try and find somewhere to play.
It seemed like a breakthrough had come Tuesday night, when an agreement appeared to be in place between the Jays and the Pittsburgh Pirates to split PNC Park for both teams to play their home games. That decision was quickly squashed by the Pennsylvania state government and Pennsylvania Department of Health the following day.
Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary didn’t think the plan was a good idea.
“To add travellers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams” said Dr. Levine in a statement to Will Graves of The Associated Press.
The nightmare scenario for the Blue Jays was looking like it might come true: playing all 60 games on the road. Buffalo had been a viable option from the get-go, with the issue being that it’s a minor league ballpark with minor league amenities. But in times like these, it’s hard to be picky.
However, due to the fact that the ballpark isn’t up to MLB standards yet, the team will have to wait until it’s ready to host games. According to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, that could be as soon as July 31st.
Some of the areas that need to be worked on as Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling mentions are lighting but that appears to be ready to be installed, the clubhouse isn’t an adequate size when it comes to having enough room to social distance and there need to be upgrades made to the training rooms, batting cages and rehab facilities to get them to MLB quality.
It’s been a roller coaster ride of a week for the Blue Jays, but at least now they’ll be able to focus on playing baseball.
Are you happy with the decision to play in Buffalo? Do you think there were better options available? Let us know in the comments section below.