The Toronto Blue Jays played their last 2021 regular-season home game at Dunedin’s TD Ballpark, with the next stop Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, as the team’s road odyssey continues with the Canadian border sealed.
This is surely one of the most unusual seasons for any MLB team, even by COVID-19-era standards. Prevented from playing at Rogers Centre by a basically closed border between the United States and Canada, the Blue Jays have been forced for a second consecutive year to find a temporary home in the US. Last year the Blue Jays played home games in Buffalo; this year the Blue Jays began the season at their spring-training home, Dunedin’s TD Ballpark, and that tenure ended Monday. Players were not necessarily thrilled with TD Ballpark as a long-term home–it is, after all, a spring-training ballpark–but say they enjoyed the small-town atmosphere in Dunedin. And, of course, the fans loved seeing MLB baseball at an intimate ballpark with limited capacity, per the Tampa Bay Times:
TD Ballpark workers and local businesses weren’t complaining either. Having the Blue Jays around — if only temporarily — was a boost to the local economy. Fans of outdoor baseball liked it, too.
“It’s definitely an odd location, but very homey,” said Kate Black of Land O’Lakes.
“We had to come because it was the last opportunity to see something like this,” said Black’s husband, Ian, a longtime Blue Jays fan who has attended Dunedin spring training games for decades. “Honestly, it might be better for the team in Buffalo, closer to the home area, not so many fans rooting for the other team. But it was great to experience this and have them here.”
(For those keeping score at home: this also means the Dunedin Blue Jays will return to TD Ballpark on June 3. The team had been playing “home” games on the road with the parent team playing in Dunedin.)
After a road trip, the Blue Jays will begin the Buffalo portion of their 2021 regular-season schedule on June 1. It will be a different experience than 2020 both for the Blue Jays and local fans, who will be allowed into games this season. How many is a work in progress: right now the ballpark is sold out through June 17. But the Blue Jays are adding more fully vaccinated seating sections at Sahlen Field beginning June 15 vs. the New York Yankees while also increasing ballpark capacity to 45 percent, with 66 percent of those seats in fully vaccinated sections while 34 percent are in physically distanced pods. Those additional tickets for the Yankees series go on sale this morning at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Tickets are being sold first to Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A East) season-ticket holders, and then to the general public. Makes sense: the Bisons were temporarily relocated to Trenton to make way for the Blue Jays.
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