Toronto Blue Jays Will be Playing in Florida For Bulk of 2021 Season Due to COVID-19
According to AP writer Rob Gillies and contributor Ronald Blum, the Toronto Blue Jays will be spending a significant amount of time playing their home games away from home in 2021. The Blue Jays would ideally split their home games between their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, their Triple-A park in Buffalo, New York, and their traditional home park in Toronto.
Team President Mark Shapiro on 2021
But due to Canada’s government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, the first two homestands will be played in Dunedin.
The Blue Jays’ team president, Mark Shapiro, “The alternatives for our season lie with some combination of Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto,” so it appears that there is no plan set in stone for exactly how many games will be played at each of the three ballparks.
While Shapiro would love to pack the Rogers Centre in Toronto again, he still remains aware of the risk. “That’s where we want to be,” said Shapiro. “It’s going to be clear to all of us whether the circumstances present a meaningful and healthy case for us to get back home.”
Shapiro also mentioned that due to to the tropical conditions of Florida, there will surely be a return to Buffalo somewhere around June of 2021. This may actually be beneficial for Toronto because in 2020 the Blue Jays finished 17-9 at Sahlen Field in Buffalo during the COVID-shortened season.
Toronto’s first two homestands in 2021 will be played against the Los Angeles Angels (April 8-11) and the New York Yankees (April 12-14). After that, the next time the Blue Jays play “at home” will be against the Washington Nationals from April 27-28 and then the Atlanta Braves from April 30-May 2.
The Blue Jays had a very active offseason in 2020-21, nearly rivaling the mid-season moves they made back in 2015 after acquiring players like Troy Tulowitzki and David Price in an attempt at a World Series run.
Most notably, Toronto signed outfielder and former World Series champion George Springer to a six-year, $150 million contract. On top of that, they added shortstop Marcus Semien for a one-year, $18 million deal and even a one-year, $5.5 million contract with reliever Kirby Yates
Not to mention, the Blue Jays already have solid young players in Vladimir Guererro Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio who can help maintain the momentum Toronto gained in 2020.
Just by the looks of those additions in combination with the current squad, there is no question the Blue Jays should be able to compete with the Yankees and Rays in the AL East, but will they?
Luckily for Toronto, the Red Sox lost Andrew Benintendi to the Royals this offseason, and they’re coming off of a notoriously bad 2020. As for the Orioles…well they’re the Orioles.