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The Toronto Blue Jays are currently without a home stadium, but soon you’ll be able to call them the Pittsburgh Blue Jays. According to Sportsnet reporter Hazel Mae and Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun, the Jays will be sharing PNC Park with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the duration of MLB’s shortened season.
Why is this happening?
The Jays received local and provincial clearance to play their home games at Rogers Centre in Toronto, but they were forced to start looking for a new home last week when the Canadian government denied their request to play there. The Jays and MLB had requested an exemption from Canada’s Quarantine Act, which prohibits any non-essential border crossings and requires anyone entering the country to quarantine for 14 days. Canada essentially refused to classify MLB as an essential business.
Other options besides PNC park had reportedly been floated, including the stadium of the Buffalo Bisons, the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate. But according to Baseball America, no minor-league baseball stadium in the country meets the minimum lighting requirements for a major-league stadium. Installing additional lights was possible, but unlikely due to the minuscule timeframe and additional cost.
The Jays’ schedule is not an exact mirror of the Pirates’ schedule, which presents some complications. When the two teams share home dates, the Jays will need to find somewhere else to play. They’re scheduled to play at least three series at home while the Pirates are also at home, including the Jays’ home opener against the Washington Nationals on July 29.
With the 60-game season starting in just two days, MLB will have to work quickly to figure this out. It’s possible that the Jays will play those conflicting home games at the visiting team’s stadium. Luckily for the Jays, they start their season with a five-game road trip which takes them to to Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C. They don’t play a “home” game until July 29, giving MLB a few extra days to figure things out.
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