Pandemic Creates Buffalo Blue Jays

Team has been homeless since Canada prohibited games in Toronto
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2020 4:40 PM CDT
Blue Jays Find a Home in Buffalo
Rich Baseball Operations President Mike Buczkowski addresses the media Friday at Sahlen Field in announcing the Toronto Blue Jays will play their 2020 home games there.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

After a couple of rejections, the Toronto Blues Jays have found a place to play their home games this season. Their search ended not all that far away. "We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season," the team's president said. Sahlen Field usually is the home of the Buffalo Bisons, Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, whose season was called off July 1 because of the pandemic, CBS Sports reports. The Blue Jays were displaced when Canada's government refused permission for the team to play this year in Toronto. Buffalo was an obvious choice for the team in the beginning, but some players were hoping for an MLB stadium. In fact, per the AP, outfielder Randal Grichuk said Buffalo would be a "worst case" solution. Sahlen Field will need some work to bring it up to major league standards, including changes to the clubhouses and field lights.

And that's before social distancing and other pandemic modifications. The Blue Jays could make their Buffalo debut as soon as next Friday—the first official major league game in the city since 1915—though Aug. 11 looks more likely, per the Buffalo News. After being booted from Toronto, the team wanted to play in Pittsburgh but was turned down by Pennsylvania. Maryland said the Blue Jays could play in Baltimore in September, per ESPN, but the team wanted a plan now. The team also considered playing their 30 home games in Florida, where the Blue Jays train, but the rise in coronavirus cases ended that plan. The Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said playing in Buffalo will be different; the field is larger than that of Rogers Centre. "There are no fans anyway," Guerrero said. "We're just going to go play baseball." (More MLB stories.)

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