Who could have foreseen that Major League Baseball would be played in what amounts to internment camps?
That's basically the situation as the long-awaited "training camp" is about to open for the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre and the nearby Marriott hotel. The Blue Jays landed at "home" this weekend after the team was granted permission from the Canadian government to host training camp in the City Centre area.
But don't look for players out on Front Street.
All players, coaches, and staff are required stay inside the Rogers Centre and the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel during their entire training period.
Nonetheless, no one appears to be complaining or dissatisfied with the unusual arrangements. Virtually everyone contacted and interviewed is elated at the prospect of playing baseball again.
If players weren't motivated enough by the season about to start, punishments for breaking the rules will be severe. On Friday, TSN reported that anyone who leaves the team “bubble” — which refers to a a quarantine space spanning the Rogers Centre and the attached Marriott — could face a hefty fine of $750,000 and even possible jail time.
That should keep players focused and in line with mandated requirements.
The Blue Jays scheduled to begin the regular season on July 24 in St. Petersburg, Florida, versus division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.
At present, it remains uncertain if any games will actually take place in Toronto this season. In order to host games, the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball would have to get an exemption to the strict Coronavirus restrictions from the Canadian government.
No games in Toronto likely means that all home games this season would take place in Florida. That said, other major league teams face similar uncertainties and predicaments. Add the situation in Florida becoming a crisis with record-numbers of new Coronavirus cases, and it remains impossible to predict if and when we'll see the opening day first pitch.