Toronto’s first homestand of the season is scheduled to begin April 8 against the Los Angeles Angels. The Blue Jays will also host the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves over their first two homestands, the last series ending May 2.
The Blue Jays played their home games last season in Buffalo, home of their Class AAA affiliate, going 17-9 at Sahlen Field during the abbreviated 2020 MLB regular season and earning the No. 8 seed in the American League playoffs. The recently renovated TD Ballpark in Dunedin seats 8,500, and the Blue Jays will allow the stadium to be filled to 15 percent capacity for spring training games (about 1,275 spectators). The Florida site also features the team’s recently completed player development facility and complex.
In a video conference with reporters Thursday, Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro said the most likely scenario for the team this year is a combination of home games in Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto.
The NBA’s Toronto Raptors are using Tampa as their home base for the entire 2020-21 season because of the pandemic. Three Canadian MLS clubs — Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC — also will start the season with home games on U.S. soil. The NHL grouped all of its Canadian teams together in one division so they would not have to cross the border during the regular season.
The U.S.-Canada land border has been closed to nonessential travel since March, and the restrictions have been renewed every month since then (the latest restrictions run through at least Sunday). Only essential workers and people who have successfully petitioned to travel for compassionate reasons are still permitted to travel between countries. All travelers to Canada also must take a coronavirus test upon arrival and pay for a three-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel while waiting for the test result. Even if the test comes back negative, travelers to Canada still must complete a 14-day quarantine.
“Just like in anything competitive all you can do is focus on what you can control,” Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins said last month. “And the complexity of a border is what it is. Everyone has unique challenges. We also have unique opportunities. There’s so much positivity ahead of us and so now how can we embrace it?”