The MLB season officially starts on Thursday with two games. The Toronto Blue Jays, on the other hand, start the season on Friday, but this game against the Tampa Bay Rays is less of a concern for some fans. They are more worried about the home opener on July 29 and the fact that the Blue Jays don't have a stadium to play the game.
The Canadian government has prohibited the Blue Jays from playing home games in Toronto due to health and safety concerns. The government cited the risk of travel to players and teams into Canada from the United States, which has the most COVID-19 cases. This ban led to discussions about the Blue Jays sharing PNC Park with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but this will not happen. The exact reason for this plan failing is unknown, but one report indicates that the MLB did not obtain permission from Pennsylvania prior to discussing the arrangement.
"I am extremely proud of our staff's effort, together with the support of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Perduto, to very quickly present Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays with an option to host their home games here at PNC Park during the 2020 season," said Pirates President Travis Williams in a statement Wednesday. "This is an unprecedented situation and, therefore, we understand and support Governor Tom Wolf's decision." Williams also said that the team is in agreement about the health and safety of the region being paramount.
Without the ability to play at PNC Park, there is an increasing number of questions about where the Blue Jays will play their home games or if they will face a full season on the road. Fans in Buffalo have called for the MLB team to head to New York, which remains an option. Adam Benigni of WGRZ Buffalo heard from a team spokesperson that the Blue Jays "will re-consider options for 2020 home now that Pennsylvania has denied them the right to play in Pittsburgh. Told options include Baltimore, Buffalo, and spring training home in Dunedin, Florida."
Buffalo is the home of the Blue Jays' minor-league affiliate, and it sits within reach of Canada. Additionally, the team plays all of its games on the East Coast. There is one issue in that the facilities "aren't up to major league standards," which includes the lighting. However, team executives assessed the situation and determined that upgrading the facilities could take place in roughly one week.