One strike and Toronto is out as a home for the Blue Jays in the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Read MoreBlue Jays strike out in bid to have home games played in Toronto — Toronto SunOne strike and Toronto is out as a home for the Blue Jays in the 2020 Major League Baseball season.
In a statement on Saturday afternoon, federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that the government has rejected the Jays return to play proposal, denying the club the opportunity to have 30 home games hosted at the Rogers Centre.
“Unlike preseason training, regular season games would require repeated cross-border travel of Blue Jays players and staff, as well as opponent teams into and out of Canada,” Mendicino said in a statement revealed by the Associated Press. “Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would be required to play in locations where the risk of virus transmission remains high.”
The Jays had previously received clearance from the Ontario provincial government and the City of Toronto but the feds have the final say on border issues.
“Based on the best-available public health advice, we have concluded the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians’ health and safety,” Mendicino said. “As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”
The Jays had put together an exhaustive protocol plan that went above and beyond MLB’s thorough guidelines but ultimately the federal government denied the press.
The frontrunner for 30 home games remains Sahlen Field in Buffalo, home of the Jays triple A affiliate Bisons.
The announcement comes less than a week before the Jays begin the 2020 season next Friday against Tampa Bay. The home opener, wherever that will be, is scheduled for July 29.
Previously, the team had been granted permission from the feds to conduct training camp at the Rogers Centre where it has been for the past two weeks. The Jays players and staff have been quarantined in the Marriott Hotel attached to the Rogers Centre.