Buffalo Blue Jays no more.
The Toronto Blue Jays will return to Rogers Centre in Toronto to play home games in Canada starting on July 30th. The club has received a national interest exemption from the federal government that will allow players from the Blue Jays and opposing teams to travel into the country.
The Blue Jays begin a 10-game homestand on Friday, July 30 against the Kansas City Royals with a 7:07 pm start. Fans will be able to attend a baseball game in Toronto for the first time in over 650 days.
The Jays have not played games north of the border since September 2019, and have hosted 'home' games in Buffalo, Dunedin, and a few road stadiums over the past two seasons.
“We'd gladly endure hardship and burden to get home,” Shapiro said.
Throughout the 2021 season, team President Mark Shapiro discussed the feasibility of a return to Toronto. He identified a U.S.-Canada border closure as the main obstacle, said the team would need three to four weeks of lead time prior to any relocation, but remained adamant that a safe return this season was always the priority.
During Major League Baseball's All-Star break, the Blue Jays released a proposal made to the government to return to Toronto for July, 30.
"We remain hopeful to be back home this summer," said the Blue Jays communications update.
The proposal required fully vaccinated individuals to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon entering Canada, but those vaccinated would require no quarantine. However, under the Blue Jays plan, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals (on both Blue Jays and visiting teams) would have to "adhere to a modified quarantine."
On Wednesday the Canadian government approved a Toronto FC plan to return to Canada. The accepted TFC proposal, however, did not allow for unvaccinated travellers into Canada.
Toronto's first homestand in Canada this season will also include matchups against Cleveland and the division-leading Boston Red Sox.