Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays will return to Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, home of the team’s Triple-A affiliate the Buffalo Bisons, from June 1.
The Blue Jays are MLB’s only Canadian team and are currently unable to play in their home city due to ongoing travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. The team has been playing home games at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida since the start of the season and will move to New York at the start of next month.
It will mark a return to Sahlen Field for the Blue Jays, with the team having played the majority of its home games at the venue during the 2020 season due to the pandemic. The Blue Jays will play at Sahlen Field until it is safe to return to its Rogers Centre home in Toronto.
With COVID-19 restrictions easing in the state of New York, the Blue Jays have confirmed that the 16,600-seat Sahlen Field will open at 24% capacity for the team’s games. Tickets for the team’s first eight home games will go on sale next week and will be sold in pods of up to four.
To prepare Sahlen Field for games with fans under COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the Blue Jays are working with the Bisons on a jointly funded renovation project. Upgrades will include moving the bullpens off the field to behind the outfield walls, new batting cages beyond right field, resodding the outfield grass, a new weight room and renovated clubhouse facilities, new LED light bulb replacements, and two temporary lightpoles.
The Blue Jays said in a statement: “The club extends its sincere thanks to Bob and Mindy Rich and the Buffalo Bisons organisation; the City of Buffalo, Erie County, and New York State officials; and Buffalo-area fans who have welcomed Blue Jays and Bisons players to Sahlen Field for nearly a decade. The team is excited to return to the site of its strong 2020 campaign, this time with in-person cheers from Buffalo-area fans.
“We want to thank Canadians for everything they have done to combat COVID-19 in our communities. Blue Jays fans should continue to follow the latest local public health guidelines, including non-essential travel outside of Canada; through these efforts, we can hope for the day we reunite with our fans on home soil.”
The Blue Jays have not played at Rogers Centre since September 2019 due to the pandemic.