The Blue Jays are heading south for the summer, but the flight won't be too long.
The club is making Buffalo, N.Y., its nest for the 2020 MLB season after the Canadian government announced it would disallow travel back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border.
The Jays say they will play the "majority" of their home games at Sahlen Field, home of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, in 2020.
Blue Jays To Stage Majority Of 2020 Home Games In Buffalo. pic.twitter.com/BxlV7cgieJ— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 24, 2020
Originally, the Pirates said they'd let the Blue Jays make a home in Pittsburgh, but the Pennsylvania government was not a fan of the idea. On Wednesday, state health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced (per The Associated Press) that it would not allow the club in.
"In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania," Levine said in a statement obtained by the AP. "To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams."
The plan to play in Pittsburgh was the next best bet after Buffalo was seemingly eliminated early in the process. Elimination was, obviously, temporary. Given the cancellation of the MiLB season, the building in Buffalo was not being used.
With MLB's region-based schedule, the Pittsburgh plan would have had four divisions — the NL Central, AL Central, AL East and NL East — playing games in Pittsburgh this year.
The Orioles and several minor league cities also wooed the Jays before Toronto ultimately decided on Buffalo.
Toronto's enforcement of the Blue Jays staying indoors during summer training was very strict, with harsh penalties in place if players left their hotel or stadium bubble. If players were seen outside Rogers Centre, they would have been subject to a $750,000 fine and potential jail time.
The Jays were originally scheduled to play their first home game on July 29. Scheduling updates have yet to be released.