The coronavirus pandemic definitely made the Toronto Blue Jays more blue than usual. The Major League Baseball team has now migrated to the United States. Last week, the Blue Jays announced that they would land at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York. The stadium is home of the Blue Jays ball club’s Triple-A (minor league) affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. So why does the big-league team have to leave home when the rest of us are still limiting our outings?
The Canadian government told the Blue Jays that they wouldn’t be allowed to play in Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border for games posed too great a risk for bringing back the virus.
So the team started looking for other major league stadiums to serve as their nest for the season. The Blue Jays considered playing home games at their vacation and training facility in Florida. But management decided against Florida because the state is currently a virus hot spot. Senator Chuck Shumer of New York invited the Blue Jays to come to Buffalo. He thinks it’s the best roost for the team when it comes to geography and facilities. The Blue Jays and the MLB agreed!
The Blue Jays will play the Washington Nationals away in their first scheduled series. During this time, the minor league Sahlen Field will be modified for the team. These changes will upgrade the field to meet MLB playing standards and COVID-19 safety requirements. The Blue Jays’ first game in Buffalo will be on August 11th against the Miami Marlins.
“We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season, thanks to the openness, creativity, and partnership of the Buffalo Bisons, Major League Baseball, and Blue Jays staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare us for games at Sahlen Field,” Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro says.
The team is optimistic about flying high in the 2020 season. Shapiro says, “This process has no doubt tested our team’s resilience, but our players and staff refuse to make excuses.” Way to persevere, Blue Jays!
(The home plate umpire signals for the pitch during a Bisons game at Sahlen Field. MLB’s displaced Toronto Blue Jays will temporarily call the minor league ballpark in Buffalo, New York, “home.” AP Photo/Bill Wippert)