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

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Tech mogul looks to grow Vernon’s presence in Okanagan wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in the city hillsides

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Car show a hit at Vernon retirement resort

GALLERY: No drooling over the classic cruisers parked at Parkwood Retirement Resort

GALLERY: Vernon painter captures beauty of Davison Orchards in new series

In a new painting, card series, artist Patricia Lawton was inspired by resident dog, Harlow

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Most Read