TORONTO — The Blue Jays have found a home for the 2020 MLB season at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, the club announced Friday.
Toronto had been searching for a stadium to play its home games since the Canadian federal government denied their approval to carry out the regular season at Rogers Centre. The club then explored playing at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which was denied at the state level, and were exploring other options such as Camden Yards in Baltimore before landing on Buffalo, home to their Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons.
“We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season, thanks to the openness, creativity, and partnership of the Buffalo Bisons, Major League Baseball and Blue Jays staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare us for games at Sahlen Field,” said club president and CEO Mark Shapiro in a statement. “This process has no doubt tested our team’s resilience, but our players and staff refuse to make excuses – we are determined to take the field on Opening Day today, and for the coming months, with the same intensity and competitiveness that our fans expect.”
Buffalo had been on the table throughout the search process to varying degrees as the Blue Jays explored Major League options, and some work remains to get the ballpark to the team’s standards. One major need is supplemental lighting, along with added infrastructure to allow for more physical distancing. The Blue Jays will need to “reimagine,” as Shapiro put it recently, some of the physical space, which could include the concourse or bleachers.
As the Blue Jays prepare their stadium, the first two home games, scheduled for July 29 -30 against the Nationals, will be moved to Washington, an easy switch as the Blue Jays will already be there on July 27 and 28 for the first half of what was originally a home and home.
As the timelines for the changes to Sahlen Field are finalized, the Blue Jays will decide between hosting their new home opener either July 31 against the Phillies or August 11 against the Marlins.
Further details on the project will come this afternoon from Shapiro.