The Blue Jays have had preliminary talks with the city of Dunedin about starting their 2021 home schedule at TD Ballpark, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Their home opener is currently scheduled for April 8 against the Los Angeles Angels.
TD Ballpark - the team's spring-training home since 1977 - is the Blue Jays' most likely option for a temporary home if Canada's travel restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic aren't lifted before April, according to Topkin. Dunedin city officials have already indicated they're eager to help the Blue Jays if necessary.
"We would welcome the opportunity if they were to open their season here," Vince Gizzi, Dunedin's parks and recreation director, said. "It would just be wonderful for our city, if they were restricted from going in and out of Canada, that they could play here. ... We'd be excited to see that happen, especially in our newly renovated stadium."
The Canada-United States border continues to be closed for most travel. Any travelers entering Canada must immediately quarantine for 14 days. Last week, the province of Ontario enacted a stay-at-home order and declared a state of emergency. While returning to Toronto remains the team's preference, it would require government clearance.
The Canadian government did not grant the Blue Jays an exception last summer, forcing them to set up shop at Buffalo's Sahlen Field, home to their Triple-A affiliate. With the Bisons set to resume operations in 2021, a return to Buffalo appears unlikely.
Permission from both MLB and the players' association would be required in order to play regular-season games in Dunedin, according to Topkin. There is no timetable for a decision.
If the Blue Jays do play in Dunedin, they'll be the second Toronto team to temporarily relocate to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. The NBA's Raptors are playing at Tampa's Amalie Arena for at least the first half of their season.