A year after playing their home games in Buffalo for the entire 2020 season, the Blue Jays have found another new home for 2021—at least to start.
The Blue Jays will play their home games at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., to begin the 2021 campaign, the team announced on Thursday.
The decision stems from pandemic-related border restrictions in Canada, which have also forced the NBA's Raptors to relocate to Tampa for the 2020–21 season. Last year, the Blue Jays played their home games at Sahlen Field, home of their Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons.
The Blue Jays will start the 2021 season on a six-game road trip before their home opener against the Angels on April 8. The team will continue to play at TD Ballpark in Dunedin through at least a three-game home stand against the Braves that ends on May 2.
Team president Mark Shapiro said the club could possibly return to Buffalo in June due to the heat and humidity in Florida. He hopes games can eventually be played in Toronto during the summer.
"We're looking at the circumstance that the alternatives for our season lie in some combination of Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto," Shapiro said, per MLB.com.
The team's possible move to Buffalo later in the season will depend on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and whether the Canada-U.S. border remains closed to nonessential travelers who are not Canadian citizens. If the Blue Jays think they'll be allowed to play in Toronto sooner than expected, they will stay in Florida until they can return home. If not, the club will head to Buffalo and its Triple-A affiliate team will move to an alternate playing site. The Blue Jays are working on finding the Bisons a temporary home.
TD Ballpark in Dunedin seats around 8,500 fans and underwent significant renovations in 2019–20. The Blue Jays intend to limit seating capacity at games to 15%.