Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays will begin the 2021 season at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida amid ongoing travel restrictions caused by the border closure between Canada and the US.
The Blue Jays announced today (Thursday) that the “difficult decision” has been made to play the first two homestands of the regular season at TD Ballpark, which serves as the team’s spring training home.
The Blue Jays, the only MLB team based in Canada, hope to return to play at Rogers Centre “as soon as possible”.
A team statement read: “The club has been actively working through plans for what a safe return to Rogers Centre would look like, while also scenario planning alternatives. The Blue Jays will re-evaluate the situation and those circumstances will dictate next steps following the first two homestands.”
It marks the second consecutive season that the Blue Jays have been forced to play home games away from Rogers Centre. Last season, the team played home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York after it was refused permission to play at Rogers Centre.
In November, Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays, revealed that plans to redevelop Rogers Centre had been temporarily put on hold amid reports that the franchise was considering building a new venue on the site of its current home.
The 49,000-seat Rogers Centre has been the home of the Blue Jays since 1989 but the team has not played at the stadium since September 2019 due the pandemic.
No fans were allowed during the 2020 MLB regular season, although a limited number of spectators were permitted for post-season games at Globe Life Field, the new home of the Texas Rangers.
The new MLB season gets underway on April 1.
Image: Len Williams/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size