Report: Blue Jays looking into playing home games in Buffalo
The Toronto Blue Jays have contacted Rich Baseball Operations about the possibility of playing their home games at Buffalo's Sahlen Field during the 2020 campaign, sources told Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News.
The Blue Jays currently don't have a ballpark to call home for the fast-approaching season, which starts July 23. The club wants to play at the Rogers Centre, but the situation remains unclear due to restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Canada amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The team is holding its camp in Toronto and isolating at a hotel inside the Rogers Centre; any player seen outside the ballpark will reportedly be subject to a $750,000 fine and potential jail time in accordance with Canada's Quarantine Act.
Playing in Buffalo would mitigate issues related to MLB teams crossing the border, and the Blue Jays are already planning to station their taxi squad there. But Harrington notes the lighting system at Sahlen Field doesn't meet the technological standards for major-league stadiums.
Rich Baseball president Mike Buczkowski declined to discuss the situation when reached for comment Saturday, according to Harrington. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown did share some insight about the Blue Jays potentially playing at the home of their Triple-A affiliate.
"I have spoken to (Buffalo) Bisons management," Brown said. "They told me that the Blue Jays playing in Buffalo will require (the) permission of the Canadian government and is also impacted by the current U.S.-Canadian cross-border issue.
"I told the Bisons that I'm in total support and as mayor that I will assist in any way that I can."
The Blue Jays could also head to Florida to play at their spring training ballpark in Dunedin, but that option seems risky with COVID-19 cases surging in the state.
The team has less than three weeks to determine the location of its home games. The Blue Jays' home opener is scheduled for July 29 against the Washington Nationals.