Blue Jays Shuffling Off to Buffalo
The Toronto Blue Jays will play most, if not all, "home" games this season in Buffalo, NY.
Due to the Canadian government's decision last week not to permit games at the Rogers Centre, the longtime usual home of the Toronto Blue Jays, team officials have been forced to scramble looking for workable alternatives. With the Blue Jays scheduled to begin playing a week from now, the shift across the border from Niagara to Buffalo made the most sense.
The decision wasn't surprising for those who have been following the saga which transcends sports, politics, and public health and safety. The Blue Jays finally announced their decision on Friday:
This means that between 28 and 30 "Toronto home games" games of the shortened 60-game regular season will be played in Buffalo. Interestingly, team officials noted that "most" games will be played in the minor league ballpark. That leaves open the possibility postseason games could be shifted to another venue, assuming the Blue Jays have a successful season.
Blue Jays officials has been considered alternating "home" game with teams in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. However, those negotiations failed to produce a workable plan. Reportedly, Blue Jays players look at Buffalo as a mixed blessing. Yes, baseball will resume and Buffalo is reasonably close to Toronto. However, games and facilities will still be in a minor league stadium.
Fan interest, which would normally be high in upstate New York and southeastern Ontario for major league sports, is irrelevant since games will be played with no spectators.
One bit of good news: Buffalo's Coca-Cola Field consistently ranks among the top ten in minor league ballpark rankings.