Although the Toronto Blue Jays had been practicing, provisionally, at their home Rogers Centre in Toronto, they had long been awaiting official approval from the Canadian government to actually hold their season there. Today, that approval … did not arrive.
The Blue Jays won’t be playing in Canada this year:
TORONTO (AP) — The Blue Jays won’t play their home games in Toronto this year because Canada’s government doesn’t think it’s safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/6G7NDT80mi
— Rob Gillies (@rgilliescanada) July 18, 2020
Toronto had said yes to the Blue Jays, as had the province of Ontario. But the country says no. Given the state of the pandemic in the United States, it’s pretty hard to blame the Canadian government on this one. Even if the risk of relatively small groups of ballplayers, playing under very tight conditions, spreading the virus in a way that meaningfully impacts the country of Canada is pretty low, there are messaging considerations. And, at a national level, those messaging considerations can have a major long-term impact (oh, like, say, when the idea of masks gets shit on by national leaders for months and then you try in vein to unring that bell).
As for the Blue Jays, they say they’ll work now to find a new home for games for the abbreviated season:
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 18, 2020
Your good bet is that they’ll land in Buffalo, where their AAA affiliate resides, or Dunedin, where they spring. The weird and challenging season gets weirder and more challenging.
From here, MLB and its teams have to hope the state of the pandemic in this country doesn’t get even worse, such that localities in the United States start making these same kinds of decisions.