It’s still unclear what the Major League Baseball will look like and work this season, but connecting the dots could mean a new temporary home for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Unlike the NHL and NBA, which plan to play games in centralized locations to reduce travel, the MLB still seems to be considering playing games at home, even if the league schedule is changed.
According to a report by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the MLB plans to temporarily realign itself into three geography-based divisions, which would be a departure from the traditional division between the American League and the National League. The East, Central and West divisions of each league would be combined, respectively, which means the Blue Jays would be in the same division as the New York Yankees of AL East and the New York Mets of NL East for example.
Teams would only play in their 10-team divisions, but this still poses a unique problem for the Blue Jays. As Canada’s only MLB team, crossing the border poses unique challenges during the pandemic.
Current restrictions on international travel would require players, coaches and staff to quarantine for 14 days each time they cross the border. Obviously, it would not be possible to play a baseball season under these rules, which could force the Jays to find a new temporary home.
Toronto Mayor John Tory spoke to the Blue Jays on Tuesday, saying he had been contacted by team officials, while acknowledging that the team could play elsewhere this season.
“I have been contacted by senior Blue Jays in Toronto who are looking for information at a very initial preliminary level regarding the possibility of the Blue Jays at some stage, obviously based on the information that has to do with border and quarantine and public health, may be able to play certain games, whether here or elsewhere, “said Tory.
Since it is highly unlikely that crowds will be allowed to attend the games anyway, this will not have a major impact on fans, although the logistical problems are many. The team would need to secure a new stadium, while the players, coaches and staff would need a new place to live during the season. The Jays could play in Buffalo, where their Triple-A affiliate is located, or in Dunedin, Florida, at their spring training center.
Anyway, it certainly promises to be a season like no other, if of course there is a season played.