Wow, here's a new wrinkle.
How might team travel between Canada and the United States be affected if and when spectator sports continue?
An Associated Press report filed on Tuesday suggests that international travel and conflicting national regulations and restrictions could impact Toronto's re-entry into the mix when the long-anticipated Major League Baseball regular season finally begins. Leagues hope to start play in late July.
The Toronto Blue Jays are the major's only Canadian team. While travel and customs requirements for professional athletes and staffs are generally eased during normal times, the COVID-19 pandemic has created justifiable concerns about travel and the possible spread of the virus.
Fears are heightened since the European Union today placed restrictions on American citizens who travel to E.U.-member nations. Thus far, Canada has not been subject to restrictions. While E.U. policy doesn't directly impact North American policy, there's now growing concern about the health and safety of Americans who travel abroad, and may end up in Canada. Certainly, Canadian officials are taking the issue seriously.
Ontario's provincial government says frequent travel between the two countries complicates the issue and could even delay approval for Major League League Baseball to play in Toronto. If Ontario refuses to allow Americans into the province, that would render Blue Jays home games virtually impossible, since all opponents would need to cross the border.
Lisa Anne MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, said MLB's plan is more difficult to approve because all 30 teams plan to be travelling. The NHL and NBA are intending to use hub cities. (Source: A.P. Toronto)
For now, the Toronto Blue Jays remain the focal point in the complicated issue of pro team sports resuming play. Indeed, the National Hockey League will not have international travel issues since games are expected to resume with playoff series and hub cities, at least one of which will be in Canada. Toronto and Edmonton are the leading contenders to host the puck drop.
Meanwhile, for baseball fans hoping to finally enjoy opening day in 2020, it now appears the pathway to paradise will pass through and depend entirely on what happens in Toronto.
Headline Photo Credit: DigitalVPR.net