With Major League Baseball trying to find a way to begin the 2020 season, the Toronto Blue Jays may be in a difficult decision when it comes to playing home games on Canadian soil.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic swept through North America, professional sports leagues like the MLB were immediately put on hiatus (and for good reason). In Toronto (home of the Blue Jays), the city and province were quick to shut down non-essential services as well as canceling any major events/gatherings until June 30 at the earliest, along with a CVS receipt list of items to keep the public safe.
Between the United States and Canada, the border was closed on March 21 and the restrictions between who was allowed to cross was tightened to limit the spread of the virus between the two countries.
Like every other MLB team (except for some team in New York), the Toronto Blue Jays disbanded their training camp and all players were sent home to continue training and wait for the call to action. There have been some rumblings that the MLB and MLBPA are having teams get ready for Mid-June, with the season potentially beginning sometime in July but nothing is set in stone.
That is all fine and dandy, considering fans will most likely have to watch the games on the tv anyway, but what happens if the border still isn’t open between the USA and Canada?
This is where the big problem for the Blue Jays lies.
When the virus hit Canada, the federal government was quick to enact the Quarantine Act, which essentially highlights all the various laws and rules that citizens and visitors must follow when they are on Canadian soil.
The law that pertains to the Blue Jays comes in the form of entry to the country, where any person(s) who enter Canada from outside of the country must self-isolate at home for 14 days regardless if they are showing any signs of the virus. This means that any Blue Jays player, staff, etc that comes back from the USA, as well as the opposing team, must self-isolate before playing again (and no, professional athletes are not exempt from the rules nor should they be).
This scenario is obviously not logical for both the Blue Jays and the MLB, so if the season was to open in July and the border restrictions are still in place, the organization could most likely be calling Dunedin home for the year.
TD Ballpark, the Blue Jays new and improved spring training stadium, sits in Dunedin and is where the teams spring training facility is located (it is right down the street from the ballpark). While it has not been used for regular-season games, it would be the most likely alternative if the Blue Jays are forced to stay in the lower 48 for the remainder of the year.
There is one other alternative.
The Blue Jays could always use the visiting teams ballpark as their own home stadium. For example, you travel to play the Tampa Bay Rays and play at Tropicana Field, but the Blue Jays would bat last and have all the privileges of being the home team.
It would suck for the Blue Jays considering they would always be traveling to play games, but the virus isn’t making life easy for anyone at this point time. I personally would prefer the Blue Jays play in Dunedin and utilize their brand new stadium, but my voice doesn’t have any push or pull whatsoever obviously.
No matter the outcome, the Toronto Blue Jays are still waiting at home like the rest of the MLB. Even if they do get a chance to play this season, I will be happy that there will be baseball on the tv regardless of whether they are playing in Toronto or not.