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Dunedin 'Not Ideal' as Blue Jays Home Shuffle Continues

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Marcus Semien said he has enjoyed playing away from Dunedin this year

In the last year, the Toronto Blue Jays have played home games in five different parks, none of which have been the Rogers Centre.

Though the Blue Jays hope to return to Canada at some point this season, and GM Ross Atkins has been "encouraged by the communication that has occurred," Dunedin and Buffalo have had to do for now. Consecutive homeless baseball seasons have come with many challenges, but the conditions at TD Ballpark in Florida have been something "a lot of guys have not seen before at this level," infielder Marcus Semien said.

"I've enjoyed playing on the road this year actually," Semien said Sunday. "Because we're playing in big league stadiums."

The lack of a roof, or even a second deck, has caused issues with the sun and wind at TD Ballpark. Game start times were moved back 30 minutes due to blinding sun and park conditions (alongside generally poor defensive play) contributed to eight combined errors, and other unnoted misplays, in Toronto's last three games against Philadelphia. 

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In the second inning of Sunday's game, Philly's Scott Kingery stepped back on a Vlad Guerrero Jr. liner to right field. Kingery slowly drifted to his left, as if to play the ball, before realizing it had sliced beyond his reach. The ball rattled off the outfield wall and Guerrero jogged into second giving the Jays a 5-0 lead.

"When you're playing in Dunedin and it's windy, without a second or third deck the ball is gonna fly," Semien said.

Ball flights have been largely unpredictable in Dunedin so far, with hard-hit fly balls knocked down in left field and lazy liners flying over the right field wall. Toronto outfielders have committed only two errors, but DRS (defensive runs saved) has the Blue Jays as the seventh-worst defensive team in the league.

However, Toronto will not play home games in Florida much longer. The Jays will begin play in their 2020 home, Buffalo's Sahlen Field, on June 1 against the Miami Marlins. Sahlen, like TD Ballpark, is not a major league stadium, but it has been heavily renovated and the wind conditions have played far more predictably in the past.

"Obviously the Blue Jays played well in that stadium, in Buffalo last year, and we'll try to continue that this year," Semien said.