Opening day is in two days and the Toronto Blue Jays are homeless. After being denied permission to play in Canada, the Jays were planning of having their home games at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home stadium PNC Park but needed the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. That approval was not granted.
Blue Jays’ quest to play home games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh indeed falling apart, sources tell The Athletic. Pennsylvania state government has not approved. Team exploring alternative solutions. First: @Buster_ESPN.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 22, 2020
HARRISBURG, Pa. (@AP) _ Pennsylvania Department of Health won’t allow Toronto Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh amid pandemic.
— Marc Levy (@timelywriter) July 22, 2020
The Blue Jays found out they could not play in Canada only six days before the season was set to begin, not giving them much time to find an alternative. Non-citizens are not allowed to enter Canada, nor are non-essential businesses allowed to be open. In order for baseball to be played both of those things would need to be allowed.
“From the onset of discussions with league and government officials, the safety of the broader community — our fans — and the team remained the priority of everyone involved, and with that, the club completely respects the federal government’s decision,” said Mark Schapiro, Blue Jays’ President and CEO in the club’s official statement.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Marco Mendicino, denied the Blue Jays request as playing in Toronto would require non-citizens from highly infected US states to enter Canada to play.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 18, 2020
Multiple thoughts go through my head as this story is developing.
We played a part in this happening.
On July 21, Canada reported 575 new Covid-19 cases and 4 Covid-19 deaths while the US reported this week’s “low” of 63,496 cases and 1,049 deaths. Our selfishness has alienated our neighbors. Now let’s all wear our masks so we can see this season through till the end.
Where the heck will the Blue Jays play?
The season starts for the Blue Jays in two days. Their first two series are away (against Tampa Bay and Washington), which buys them until July 28 to find a new home. But do they really want to wait that long to know where they will be playing their home games? Players need to find places to live during the season. How can they prepare for that if they don’t know where they will be playing?
Before deciding on PNC Park, the Blue Jays appeared to consider playing in Buffalo, NY at their minor league affiliate, at their Spring Training home in Dunedin FL and at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles. They can also consider using other Triple-A stadiums in the North-East.
What if they don’t find a place?
Considering this makes my head spin.
Maybe they can split their home games between many different ballparks?
I played DIII basketball and for one season we played our home games at five different courts — none of which were the one we practiced on — and it was unpleasant. We never got comfortable or got into a rhythm. Of course, in this case, we are talking about professional players at the highest level in the world, but it still would be very uncomfortable.
Perhaps this season was just never supposed to happen, and this is just a sign that it’s at its end.
I hope not, because I am very excited for some high stakes baseball.
I want to hear your thoughts! I can be found on Twitter at @chanazweinberg!