Blue Jays plan another home if border prevents play in Toronto

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TORONTO – Major League Baseball’s hopes of hosting a 2020 season in as many cities as possible could force the Toronto Blue Jays to find another home if border restrictions in the event of a pandemic are not relaxed beforehand.

There are still many avenues for the Canada-US crossing rules to evolve based on the effectiveness with which COVID-19 is contained before a potential start in empty stadiums in July. Yet the only Canadian entry among the 30 major teams is scenario modeling with dates of residence inside and outside of Toronto.

As things stand, games at the Rogers Center are excluded from the table as long as the emergency order issued on March 24 under the Quarantine Act remains in effect. This order states that all travelers arriving in Canada must undergo a screening by a border or quarantine officer, then undergo 14 days of self-isolation if they have no symptoms, while travelers with symptoms must submit to a mandatory quarantine of 14 days.

The Blue Jays will be held to the same standards as all other Canadians, which would leave them in need of a new home under the current circumstances. The club’s spring installation in Dunedin, Florida, which was to be the club’s home in 1995 when the owners planned to open the season with replacement players in the midst of an ongoing strike, is the option. more logical.

Mark Shapiro, club president and chief executive, recently spoke with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto mayor John Tory, who said on Tuesday that the Blue Jays “were looking for information at a very initial preliminary level “on” perhaps in a position to play certain games, whether here or elsewhere. “

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated on Sunday that NHL players arriving in Canada from another country “will have to follow all quarantine rules in an extremely strict manner”, before adding that “we do not We are not there yet in our discussions with the NHL. “

The border is just a challenge to Major League Baseball’s goal to start in as many of its regions as possible.

The remaining 29 teams are spread across 18 different states, each subject to their own pandemic restrictions and trajectory. Some governors are all involved, some are cautious and some are not interested until things stabilize further.

Therefore, league-wide scenarios that include organizing a season in a neutral site combine environment or in collective poles remain under consideration. Part of the health orientation baseball got is that the fewer cities, the better the chances of a successful season without interruption.

Richard Deitsch and Donnovan Bennett are hosting a podcast on the impact of COVID-19 on sports around the world. They speak to experts, athletes and personalities, providing a window into the lives of the people we normally look for in entirely different ways.

There are a myriad of issues to be resolved long before potential travel restrictions also come into play, with the health protocols and what training / practice / competition looks like and how realistic the environments are. in each market in the foreground.

The possibility that Major League Baseball decides that teams would organize a shortened spring training in their home town rather than Florida / Arizona is also on the table, using this as a way to facilitate the logistics of player travel. .

The Blue Jays would likely camp at Dunedin anyway, alleviating any possible border issues when the game started.

Once the border is reopened, expected progress and large-scale deployments of rapid-result diagnostic tests could help eliminate the need for 14 days of self-isolation.

Potentially, this would allow the Blue Jays or another team unable to start their home season to return. More effective and more widespread testing will also be essential to avoid an epidemic if a season begins.

In the meantime, Major League Baseball is closely monitoring how the launch of the Korean Baseball Organization is progressing while closely monitoring whether the progressive reopening of certain states and the baby steps in Ontario are causing a new wave of coronavirus infections.



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