Toronto’s first homestand of the season is set to begin on April 8 against the Los Angeles Angels. The Blue Jays will also host the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in their first two home countries. The last series ends on May 2nd.
The Blue Jays played their home games last season in Buffalo, home of their AAA subsidiary, 17-9 at Sahlen Field during the shortened 2020 MLB regular season and took the number 8 in the American League playoffs. The recently renovated TD Ballpark in Dunedin can accommodate 8,500 fans, and the Blue Jays allow the stadium to be filled to 15 percent capacity for spring training games (approximately 1,275 fans). The Florida site is also home to the recently completed player development facility and the team’s complex.
In a videoconference with reporters Thursday, Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said the most likely scenario for the team this year is a combination of home games in Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto.
The NBA’s Toronto Raptors are using Tampa as their base for the entire 2020-21 season due to the pandemic. Three Canadian MLS clubs – Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC – will also start the season with home games on US soil. The NHL has put all Canadian teams in one division so they don’t have to cross the line during the regular season.
The land border between the United States and Canada has been closed to unnecessary travel since March, and the restrictions have been renewed every month since then (the last restrictions apply at least until Sunday). Only key workers and individuals who have successfully applied for travel for compassionate reasons are allowed to travel between countries. All travelers to Canada are required to take a coronavirus test upon arrival and pay for a three-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel while they wait for the test result. Even if the test is negative, travelers to Canada must complete a 14-day quarantine.
“As with any competition, you can only focus on what you can control,” said Ross Atkins, general manager of Blue Jays, last month. “And the complexity of a border is what it is. Everyone has unique challenges. We also have unique opportunities. There is so much positivity ahead of us and how can we accept it now? “