As first reported by Sportsnet, the team says it recently submitted a proposal to the federal government asking for approval to return to the Rogers Center this summer. A spokesperson for the Blue Jays confirmed that they had received support from the city and the province to take the step. They added that July 30 is a possible date, but that they could come back later if necessary.
“The request is not explicitly tied to that date,” a Blue Jays spokesperson said in an email to CBC News on Monday.
In June, team president Mark Shapiro announced that the team would be extending their stay at his adopted home in Buffalo until July 21.
He had not ruled out the possibility of the Blue Jays returning to Toronto this season, but warned the decision would depend on Canada’s easing of border restrictions.
Starting today, border restrictions begin to ease for fully vaccinated Canadians. You can read more about it here.
Absent since September 2019
So far this season, the Blue Jays have 43 wins and 39 losses. The team occupies third place in the AL East.
The Blue Jays haven’t played in Toronto since the 2019 season ended with an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay on September 29.
Seeing the “boys in blue” play would be a welcome change after so much time away, one fan says.
“I’m dying to watch baseball here at Rogers Center,” said Mauricio Prada. “I know everyone missed it here. ”
Quincy Brathwaite of Toronto agrees.
“I would be so happy,” he told CBC News Monday. “Give them a chance and an opportunity to bring them home. ”
The proposal to the federal government comes after Ontario announced an accelerated return-to-play plan in June for professional and elite amateur leagues as the province eases COVID-19 restrictions.
Sports Minister Lisa MacLeod said on June 14 that high performance teams can now run full contact and dry land training as long as it meets provincial guidelines.
She said the leagues would be allowed to resume games as early as August.
The province’s return-to-play plan covers 18 leagues in six sports, including the Canadian Football League, Ontario Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association.
While it’s currently unclear if – and how many – fans would be allowed to enter the arena, Prada says he hopes they can cheer on the “Boys in Blue” at Rogers Center this summer.
“Just to have fans in the stands to see them play, especially for a year and a half that this has been going on… I think it would be huge for the city,” he said.
Jasminee Persaud says the move would also be a step towards normalcy for Torontonians.
“I think everyone after COVID can use a boost – economically, socially and emotionally – I think people are ready to go out and enjoy the things that represent normal life,” she said. declared.
Toronto FC returns
Meanwhile, Toronto FC President Bill Manning is optimistic that the MLS team will soon be able to replay games at BMO Field.
Toronto, which ended the 2020 campaign in East Hartford, Connecticut, has moved to Orlando this season due to travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.
But the traveling team returns home Thursday with hopes of hosting matches soon.
“The regulations allow us to go home and train, those who are fully vaccinated,” Manning told reporters Sunday from Orlando. “So we will definitely take advantage of it. “
He added that the team are happy that border restrictions have eased and that they will be back on Thursday, following their game against New England on Wednesday.
But there is still work to be done to get the green light for BMO Field.
“We are still in discussion there. But everything seems to be going in the right direction, ”Manning said. “Next week will be really important to finalize these discussions and hopefully get a positive decision to that end. “
Toronto last played at BMO Field on September 1, 2020. Since then, he has played 25 regular season games and one road playoff game.
While the team managed to finish second overall in the regular season last year at 13-5-5, it currently sits in the league’s basement at 1-8-2.
General manager Ali Curtis said all team staff and nearly all players are fully immunized.
After the midweek game against New England, Toronto won’t play again until July 17, against Orlando City. Manning said the game will not take place at TFC’s pandemic stadium, Orlando’s Exploria Stadium.
“I am optimistic,” he said. “I think there are good discussions and that things with the pandemic are going in the right direction. You see more and more things opening up. “
He said the club have a backup plan involving another US host city in case they don’t get the deal. He did not specify the city, adding that it had not been finalized.
Manning made his comments during a virtual press conference to address the sacking of head coach Chris Armas.