Toronto Blue Jays play an MLB intersquad baseball action in Toronto on Friday, July 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Blue Jays can’t play home games in Toronto after federal government rebuffs plan

MLB season slated to start next week

TORONTO — The Blue Jays can’t play home games in Toronto this season after the federal government rejected the club’s plan to use Rogers Centre on Saturday.

While the government gave the green light to the Blue Jays to hold training camp at their downtown facility during the COVID-19 pandemic without the normal 14-day quarantine for those entering Canada, Ottawa said no to a request to have a similar setup for Canada’s lone Major League Baseball team and visiting teams for regular-season play.

Therefore, the Blue Jays will be the lone MLB team not to be playing in their usual home stadium during the 60-game season, which starts next week.

Ottawa turned down the Blue Jays’ plan, despite the fact Ontario approved it earlier this week.

The club hasn’t named its home venue for 2020 yet. Before the decision by the government, the Blue Jays said their spring-training facility in Dunedin, Fla., was their most likely venue for games if they couldn’t play in Toronto.

However, COVID-19 has hit Florida hard in recent weeks, with some calling the state the new epicentre of the virus.

The Buffalo News reported last week that the Blue Jays have reached out to the owners of their triple-A team in Buffalo, N.Y., to discuss the possible use of Sahlen Field.

The Blue Jays open their season July 24 at Tampa Bay. The home opener is July 29 against Washington.

RELATED: Ontario says Blue Jays cleared to play at home, but final decision lies with feds

The federal government allowed the Blue Jays to come to Toronto a few days into training camp, waiving the quarantine rule after the club agreed to be restricted to a hotel inside Rogers Centre when not in the actual stadium.

But with regular travel between the harder-hit United States and Canada during the season for the Blue Jays and other teams during the season, the government had an extra layer to consider before making its decision.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Friday that the regular border crossings were an issue for the government.

Njoo said the government preferred the NHL’s plan, which will see all teams gather in hubs in Edmonton and Toronto later this month and not leave until their respective seasons come to an end.

There was internal controversy during the first week of training camp, with Blue Jays infielder Travis Shaw eventually apologizing for a series of tweets where he criticized COVID-19 rules and the team’s plan to enforce a closed environment at Rogers Centre and adjoining hotel for the season.

Shaw told reporters on a Zoom conference call that he was “a little tone deaf” with the tweets that were “out of frustration.”

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

BaseballCoronavirusMLBPro sports

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ballenas students help keep essential community services going

Club donates $1,000 to SOS Grateful Hearts campaign

Rebound recovery program helps more than 50 PQB businesses remain open

Nearly $90K in aid received through Oceanside Initiatives plan

Parksville-area family receives anonymous letters complaining children are being too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in the backyard is ‘unbearable’

PQBeat Podcast: Beloved Parksville volunteer Joan LeMoine

Discussion includes childhood memories, receiving the key to the city and more

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Cooler days help crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Most Read