Blue Jays' Semien unhappy in Dunedin: 'I've enjoyed being on the road'
The Toronto Blue Jays' temporary stay in Dunedin, Florida, is nearing its end, and at least one member of the team won't shed any tears when they leave.
Second baseman Marcus Semien was quite frank about not enjoying life at TD Ballpark - normally a Low-A and spring training stadium - following the Blue Jays' 10-8 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I've enjoyed being on the road this year, actually, just because we're playing in big-league stadiums," Semien said, according to Jordan Horrobin of MLB.com. "It's a little different here. I do enjoy the Tampa area, Dunedin area, living here, off the field. But I think a lot of us wish we were in a big-league ballpark."
The Blue Jays haven't played in Toronto since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that's kept the Canada-United States border closed. Renovations at Buffalo's Sahlen Field, their temporary home last summer, forced the team to play its first few home series in Dunedin.
Semien, who homered in Sunday's win, has struggled to hit in Dunedin. He entered Sunday's game sporting a .614 OPS in 57 plate appearances at TD Ballpark, compared to .855 on the road. But his main complaint relates to an absent home crowd while playing thousands of miles away from Toronto. He feels that fans of the opposition have populated TD Ballpark since spring training ended.
"When you go on the road, you may get booed or no cheers for you, but it seems like that's how it is here in Dunedin, too," Semien said. "There's a lot of fans of other teams. Personally, I don't think playing here is a relief, or whatever you want to call it. I just enjoy living in the Tampa area, I guess."
The Blue Jays play their final regular-season game in Dunedin on May 24 against the Tampa Bay Rays. They'll open up the Buffalo portion of their home schedule on June 1 against the Miami Marlins.
A timeline for the team's return to Toronto remains unclear, but general manager Ross Atkins said Sunday that he and president Mark Shapiro have had "consistent dialogue and communication with" government officials about coming back later this season, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith. Atkins added that while public health concerns remain a priority, the front office is "encouraged by the communication that has occurred."