Blue Jays Now In Talks To Play Home Games At Camden Yards
The Blue Jays this morning received "approval of the Orioles to use Camden Yards" for the '20 season, though they still "need the state of Maryland sign off on it," according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. That "appears to be their best hope for an MLB park to call home at the moment" (TWITTER.com, 7/23). The AP's Gillies, Levy & Graves reported while the Orioles are trying to help the Blue Jays however they can, there are "lots of logistics to be worked through yet." The source said that the Blue Jays are "working on other contingencies, too." This comes after the state of Pennsylvania yesterday decided to not allow the Blue Jays to play at PNC Park amid the pandemic, "becoming the second jurisdiction to say no to the team." Canada "already denied the Blue Jays' request to play in Toronto." Pirates President Travis Williams said that the organization "worked closely with city officials to get a proposal ready for the state to review" (AP, 7/22). TSN.ca's Scott Mitchell wrote the Blue Jays are on to the "next option, likely a push to convince Maryland that the extra travelers will pose no risk to public health." Also, scheduling conflicts at Camden Yards for two series "would have to be resolved" (TSN.ca, 7/22). ESPN’s Jeff Passan said, "finding a place to land this close to the season, this close to the beginning, is going to be awfully difficult” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/23).
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? MLB Network’s Jon Heyman said of where the Blue Jays should play: “Baltimore or Washington makes sense, or New York, N.Y., but they may have to settle for Buffalo. They are looking around, they are scrambling. It is an unfortunate situation” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 7/22). ESPN’s Buster Olney noted of the Baltimore option, "The same dynamic would be there as in playing in Toronto and playing in Pittsburgh in that the governor of Maryland may decide to nix that.” Olney added playing in Buffalo is "not something" players want to do, as they "prefer to play in major league parks" (“Get Up,” ESPN, 7/23). In Toronto, Rob Longley writes the Blue Jays "felt they had arranged a perfect contingency plan," as they "reached an agreement in principle with the Pirates just days after learning they would be turfed from the Rogers Centre." The Blue Jays had "clung to hopes of having the Rogers Centre approved," but team President & CEO Mark Shapiro and his staff were "well aware of the possibility of that plan collapsing and weeks ago began evaluating alternatives." Sources said that the "deal was as good as done on Tuesday night, ready to go to the Pennsylvania governor’s office." But it was "another big swing and miss" (TORONTO SUN, 7/23).
LEAGUE'S ROLE: THE ATHLETIC's Kaitlyn McGrath wrote in the course of a week, the Blue Jays "have received two separate denials from government bodies that were uncomfortable with the level of risk." It "underscores the dangers of staging professional sports during a pandemic and, in particular, underlines the risk involved in MLB's plan that revolves around extensive travel." The Blue Jays are "simply caught in this crossfire" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/22). In Toronto, Rosie DiManno writes the Blue Jays are in a "preposterous situation, and most especially the fault of the ship of fools" at MLB for "not having this mess straightened out before pushing un-pause on the season." But of course, the Blue Jays "had good reason to believe Ottawa would sign off because that's what plenty of politicians at the provincial and municipal level had been saying" (TORONTO STAR, 7/23).
A NON-STARTER: SPORTSNET.ca's Shi Davidi wrote the "barnstorming possibility" in which the Blue Jays "would play their entire home schedule as the host team at the stadium of their opponent, is a reckless idea." If they used the 60-game road trip plan, the Blue Jays "would never be in one spot for more than four days until Sept. 7-17." Such a schedule is "not only a competitive disadvantage, it's a threat to both the Blue Jays and public health." Davidi: "For the good of the Blue Jays and the communities they visit, a proper home needs to be found for them" (SPORTSNET.ca, 7/22). ESPN's Olney said of the barnstorming idea, "They would be on the road for 66 straight days” (“Get Up,” ESPN, 7/23).