The Toronto Blue Jays have found a new home for the 2020 season. The team will play the majority of their home games in Buffalo, New York amid the coronavirus pandemic. Their home stadium will be Sahlen Field, the home of the Blue Jay's Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.
"We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season, thanks to the openness, creativity, and partnership of the Buffalo Bisons, Major League Baseball, and Blue Jays staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare us for games at Sahlen Field," Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement. Shapiro went on to say the players are staff members are not going to "make excuses- we are determined to take the field on Opening Day today, and for the coming months, with the same intensity and competitiveness that our fans expect."
The Blue Jays are not permitted to play their home games in Toronto due to health and safety concerns. With the United States having the most COVID-19 cases in the world, the Canadian government cited the risk of travel to players and teams into Canada. It looked like the Blue Jays were going to play their games at PNC Park, which is the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but those plans were called off. According to ESPN, Maryland offered the Blue Jays to play games at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles, but they would have to wait until September. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York sent a letter to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to pick Buffalo as the Blue Jays' new home.
"Since it is Opening Day, there is little time for continued deliberation -- now is the time to act -- and Buffalo is ready to roll out the red carpet and welcome Major League Baseball to Sahlen Field and Western New York," Schumer wrote. "I strongly urge MLB and the Blue Jays to choose Buffalo as your home for the 2020 season."
As the Blue Jays get ready for their new home stadium, the team's first two home games, scheduled for July 29-30 against the Nationals, have been moved to Washington. Depending on when the stadium gets done, the Blue Jays will have their home opener either July 21 or Aug. 11.