Could the Toronto Blue Jays be headed south to Buffalo?
That's the latest report according to The Buffalo News. Frustrated by the hassle and compounded by the bureaucratic uncertainties of border crossings and a strictly-enforced lockdown which is far more austere in Canada than the United States, Major League Baseball and the Blue Jays are now exploring the option of playing Toronto's home games in Buffalo, New York.
The seemingly outlandish idea actually makes sense in a bizarre year when nothing has been predictable. Buffalo is located only 100 miles from Toronto. Hence, logistics – moving equipment and staffs, in addition to players who live in the Toronto area within commuting distance – would be relatively simple to manage for an abbreviated regular season. Buffalo also has an existing state-of-the art minor league baseball park quite suitable for hosting games, especially if spectators are banned or limited.
Sahlen Field is a downtown ballpark with a seating capacity of 16,500. Buffalo's minor league team, the Bisons, has also drawn some of the highest spectator averages for any baseball squad not in the majors. All minor league games have been suspended this season, so the existing tenants are not a factor.
Quality hotels in the area helps the case for shifting games to Buffalo, with the Harborcenter Marriott, Courtyard at Canalside and Westin on Delaware Avenue among properties with close proximity to the ballpark.
While the Blue Jays are training now at Rogers Centre in Toronto, a decision will have to be made soon. The Blue Jays' home opener is scheduled for July 29 against the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals. Based on complications related to Covid-19, especially related to travel, Buffalo now is looking like a solid alternative.
Toronto's home schedule includes seven games against the New York Yankees – all played in September – and Baltimore. The Blue Jays will also plays three-game series versus the NY Mets, Boston, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, and two games each against Washington and Miami.
Headline Photo Credit: The New York Times