Where In The World Are The Toronto Blue Jays Playing?

The Major League Baseball season opens up on Thursday and the Toronto Blue Jays do not have a home. While the Canadian government allowed the team to hold summer camp in Toronto at Rogers Centre – while staying at the hotel attached to the stadium – they denied the team an exemption that would allow them, and their opponents, to cross the border without being required to quarantine for 14 days.

It was the right decision.

It also begs the question: why are 29 U.S. markets okay with their local baseball team travelling around the country and possibly bringing the coronavirus back home with them?

Is Canada the only adult in the room right now? Should they bring more juice boxes to the meetings?

Currently, MLB players are tested fro COVID-19 every other day. Between July 9 – July 16, 10,548 samples were taken, which resulted in 6 positives – 5 players, 1 staff member.

Dare I say those numbers are good? Yes, we all want it to be zero, but to have only six, is a good sign. What happens when teams start travelling from city to city and players leave their hotels? I don’t know. We’ll find out.

As for the Blue Jays, where do they go now?

General Manager, Ross Atkins, claimed yesterday that the team had “well over five solid contingency plans.”

WELL OVER FIVE SOLID CONTINGENCY PLANS.

I love those six words. You can analyze each one, as if they’re frames in the Zapruder film.

That tells me the Blue Jays have options. It also tells me they’re trying to figure out which bad situation is the best one.

Their Spring Training home, and newly-renovated training facility, is in Dunedin, Florida. That would be nice, except for the fact that it’s in Florida. Enough said.

Buffalo is another possibility, as it is the home of their Triple-A affiliate, Buffalo Bisons. However, it is a minor league stadium, complete with lighting that isn’t up to MLB standards – both for the players and the television audience.

There is also the issue of, “This place is small, how are we expected to adhere to social distancing protocols?”

What about television production? The Blue Jays aren’t going to have their usual television crew cross the border to produce the games. Are there reliable camera operators who know how to film, and present baseball games on TV?

Edit: The production teams for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres would be more than capable.

Will Instant Replay capabilities be available?

I am probably missing a bunch of other issues that would need resolving, but as you can see, there are so many variables that factor into this and make it a lot more complicated than just, “there’s a baseball field in Buffalo, they can play a nine-inning game on it.”

Oh, one more thing – the Jays’ players have informed the front office that it is their preference to play home games at a major league ballpark.

Sure, it makes them sound like a bunch of prima donnas who are being picky, but they should be picky. I mean, if I were in their position and playing in someone else’s major league stadium was an option, I would push for that option.

A minor league stadium is not going to have the amenities these players are used to. Not only that, the feel of the stadium is going to hit them right in the face the moment they get off the bus every day.

They’re going to think, “Aw man, back to our minor league stadium. What a joke.” Or something along those lines.

Heck, when I was a kid playing softball, we played at different ballparks. Just looking at the schedule, I knew when we were going to have a game at one of the better locations. The whole aura is different and it excites you.

When you show up to a rinky-dink field, you know it, and you think about it, if only briefly.

Yes, these are professionals, who get paid very well to play baseball, but if their preference is a major league field, I can understand that.

Also, I’m not a fan of the bullpens being in foul territory in Buffalo. We can’t afford an outfielder to trip over a mound, especially in a shortened season like this one.

Yes, I looked at a satellite map of the stadium.

So, where else could they go? I’ve seen Baltimore and Washington as possibilities.

PNC Park in Pittsburgh seemed to emerge as a front-runner yesterday. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ team President, Travis Williams, even put out a press release saying it would be a “monumental challenge for our staff, but leaning in to help others is what Pittsburghers do.”

If there isn’t a restaurant called Pitts Burgers in Pittsburgh, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Teams don’t put out press releases just for fun. And, oh yeah, the new General Manager of the Pirates is Ben Cherington, who just spent three years with the Blue Jays as VP of Baseball Operations.

I don’t think “cahoots” is the right word in this situation but, needless to say, the Blue Jays “know a guy”.

Is this viable? Are we really going to have two teams sharing a stadium? Sure, they won’t be there at the same time, but cleaning and sanitizing that stadium is going to be essential, if this is going to work.

Also, is there space? Can the Blue Jays put all of their stuff somewhere and not move it?

I don’t know what the Blue Jays plan on doing to uphold their end of sponsorship agreements that include signage in the outfield and/or around the stadium. Companies pay good money to have their logo featured in places the camera will catch it.

Will the team be rolling into town with signage? Will they be in the form of tarps, that cover the seats? Will they somehow take down the Pirates’ sponsorship signage on the outfield wall and put up their own? I’m not even sure that’s physically possible.

Will all advertisements be done digitally, via the television broadcast?

So many questions and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the team hasn’t announced who is filling the last three spots in the starting rotation.

The Blue Jays first home game is July 31, so whatever they do, has to be done fast.

Would playing all of their games on the road be an option? As in, if they have a home game against Baltimore, they’d just go to Baltimore and play at Camden Yards, while batting second.

I don’t know if that’s a last resort, or if it’s the simplest solution.

It would require a lot of extra travel and strip the team of any benefit to a homestand that lasts more than one series. Instead of staying “home” for a week, they’d have to hop on a plane every three days.

It’s not like they’re leaving the Eastern time zone at all, but all those extra trips are another layer of annoyance they don’t need. It would also hinder the players’ ability to properly rehab and recover from games.

My only hope is that the team held a meeting before they left Toronto (they play exhibition games in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday), where everyone in the room realized that they can either embrace this situation and accept it for what it is, or they can look at it as an inconvenience that they’ll never overcome.

In all sports that are about to resume play, I firmly believe the teams that are going to be successful are the ones that are able to embrace the weirdness and not harp on the fact that everything is a nuisance.

The Blue Jays face a unique opportunity where this situation can bring the team closer together because all they have are each other.

This season will either turn into a touching 30 for 30 documentary, chronicling a team’s determination to push on and play for a country, after being left without a home.

Or, they’ll win 25 games and we’ll never speak of this summer again.

Either way, baseball games will be played and we’ll all be reminded of how abnormal this whole thing is as soon as we see the fake fans in the stands. That will get old very quickly, I’m sure, especially if they stand up for the 7th inning stretch.

“There is no place like home” and “Home is where the heart is” are two phrases that don’t really apply to the Blue Jays right now. Perhaps I can offer up a different one.

Round third and go home.

Here’s hoping the Blue Jays are currently getting the wave.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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28 Responses to Where In The World Are The Toronto Blue Jays Playing?

  1. >>Is Canada the only adult in the room right now?

    Yes.

    I’ve been reading the stories about the Blue Jays using Camden Yards and I just don’t see how that will work. Will the Orioles players no longer have use of their home locker room — where, you know, they typically just leave their stuff lying around like 15 years olds? There are additional locker rooms available, though, but none as tricked out, of course, as the home clubhouse. Plus, just creating more risk.

    Plus, jamming 60 games into 66 days makes it difficult to find a schedule that syncs up properly. (Probably why DC/BALT is appealing … just a quick drive on 95 to the other park.)

    I am so upset with MLB creating this mess and putting players at risk. But, if they insist on playing, I admit, I will watch … and try to squeeze whatever joy I can out of the game itself.

    Canada really is the only adult in the room.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Those questions you raise about Camden Yards are exactly what I thought about when this whole Blue Jays in Pittsburgh thing came up. Is there enough space in these secondary locker rooms…can they leave their stuff their. Will it be like they’re moving in, but sleeping on the couch?

      From what I read, one of the major league locations lines up really well schedule-wise outside of a few dates in September. I can’t remember which place that was though. Still, that means they need two homes now.

      When the schedule came out, I almost expected them to give the Blue Jays all 30 home games to start the season, just so it would be only one team entering Canada at a time. Then Toronto could just go on the road and not come back. But that didn’t happen.

      I hope we can enjoy the games. Nothing can go wrong while they’re playing nine innings right?

      Like

  2. markbialczak says:

    To me, Paul, lighting is the biggest issue if indeed Buffalo’s Triple A wattage falls way below major league standards. I’m no Thomas Edison, but watching plenty of night games down the New York State Thruway in Syracuse, it doesn’t seem that far off from the games I’ve caught in the Mets’ CitiField.
    They say they can dress players in the luxury suites as well as the small locker rooms …
    Yeah, the Bisons’ stadium falls short in aura. But with no fans, all stadiums this shortened season fall short in aura. And all home stadiums will be in use for 30 games and maybe playoffs.
    Camera crews? Technology? Buffalo does have an NFL squad, you know. It’s not exactly a backwater village.
    I’m advocating for my fellow upstate New York stadium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha silly me, it slipped my mind that the Buffalo Bills and Sabres have capable camera crews. I heard someone make the point of TV about needing a crew to film it and my my instantly went to a skeleton crew of untrained interns for some reason. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Yeah, they’ve said they would have to install lights and the MLB replay system before throwing a pitch. You’re right, I’m sure they could space players out throughout the stadium.

      Buffalo would be my first pick. It would be convenient and maybe a little fun. But if the players have an issue with it being a minor league park, I won’t fault them for trying for something better.

      Like

    • Paul says:

      One more thing – if the Jays end up playing in Buffalo, the rest of their 60-man roster will train in Rochester.

      Like

  3. Okies….so I was totally with you up to the point where the Canadian government won’t let US teams cross borders to play a sport. In the middle of a pandemic. I know you miss sports a lot, like a lot a lot, but look at those numbers. over 10,000 tests just for a baseball team? One baseball team. When my best friend has had a fever and can’t make lunch because it’s difficult to breathe and she’s been waiting almost a week for her test results? Maybe I’m a little biased and jaded but if they go to the USA they put the entire team at risk of infection, even with the very best precautions. The USA had over 63,000 new cases yesterday. That’s almost double Ontario’s total number for 5 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I think we might’ve gotten lost in translation a little bit here lol. The 10,000+ test were for the entire league of 30 teams. I think MLB has hired a private company, or multiple, to do the testing. The Blue Jays aren’t coming back to Canada at all this year. The government won’t allow it, so all 30 teams will be staying in the US all summer. If anything, the US is putting themselves at further risk. Canada is safe in all this.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Becky says:

    WELL OVER FIVE SOLID CONTINGENCY PLANS.

    Also so that’s where Ben Cherington has been since he peaced out mid-season in 2015 from the Red Sox.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i read they will play in Pittsburgh?? i figured Buffalo would be the natural choice

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It did seem like the natural choice, but there were problems with that route. There really was no benefit of being in Buffalo, it’s not like they need to be close to Canada. Pittsburgh has one of the nicest stadiums in the league so at least we get to see it a lot this year!

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Minor baseball has 50 pages of protocol aka contingency plans. That’s for kids. Also, they’re not paid millions to whack a ball with a stick. We parents pay. 😬

    I don’t know. It’s a sad summer without the Jays here but I agree with the decision. I enjoyed the few games I saw live in Toronto.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next.

    In the meantime my teen’s baseball team started practices…just this week. We’ll see how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      For a few hours it looked like they were on their way to Pittsburgh, but that’s not happening anymore.

      That’s good that your kid can get out and play! I can just picture the parents in the stands rooting their kid on, and then telling them not to get too close to anyone lol

      Like

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