After weeks of negotiations between the Toronto Blue Jays and government officials it looks like the team will play a quarantined 2020 season at Rogers Centre, with players confined to the ballpark hotel.
Canada has imposed a 14-day quarantine period on foreign visitors entering the country, widely seen as a barrier to the Blue Jays gathering players for a training camp and then a regular season. But after lots of negotiations with said government officials, it looks like the team will basically operate under quarantine, with players staying at the attached Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel and then go directly to the ballpark for workouts and games.
The team had been looking at playing games and training at the Dunedin spring-training complex or Sahlen Field, home of top affiliate Buffalo Bisons. But with the team shipping equipment from Dunedin north to Rogers Centre and the team signaling play in Canada, it looks like an announcement is forthcoming. From the Toronto Sun:
The team is not yet confirming any of the details of the return to Canada, but general manager Ross Atkins is expected to comment later in the week. Players had recently been told to be ready for a potential trip to Canada.
“We have to deal with the reality that we have logistical issues that we have 60 players and staff to transport,” [team president Mark] Shapiro had said on Friday. “If we delay a decision too long, there are implications in our readiness and competitiveness. We are working on an accelerated time frame and we need to make a decision very soon.”….
Shapiro spoke then of creating “a modified quarantine for our players and if we move to a regular-season scenario for visiting players. That would be in addition to the MLB protocol.”
UPDATE: Sounds like negotiations about a Toronto return are still happening. Tonight the Blue Jays issued the following statement:
The Toronto Blue Jays today confirm the club has started moving players and personnel to Dunedin, FL, to begin the intake screening and isolation process, which is the next step in MLB protocol regardless of training location. Upon the conclusion of intake and isolation, the team will either board a charter flight to Toronto to begin training under a modified quarantine, isolated from the general public, or remain in Florida to conduct training.
The Blue Jays are hopeful to stage training camp and play regular season home games in Toronto and will continue to work through this possibility. The team will communicate updates as information becomes available.
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