The biggest challenge for a Blue Jays return to Toronto has always been the border.
A closed U.S.-Canada border is the primary barrier to entry for the Blue Jays, and the opposing teams that would need to travel to Canada to play them, Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro has said repeatedly.
But, with the border set to ease restrictions on July 5th for fully vaccinated individuals, a path back to Toronto baseball is beginning to appear. In a recent Toronto Sun article, Anuk Karunaratne, the Blue Jays executive vice president of business operations, discussed the feasibility of a return to Toronto and what 2021 Blue Jays baseball at the Rogers Centre would look like.
“The momentum is really very positive,” Karunaratne said.
The Blue Jays official said, while nothing is official, Toronto could play in front of around 10,000 fans, or 25% stadium capacity, if they return. Once we reach Stage 3 of Ontario's re-opening plan, Karunaratne said there could be a "meaningful number of fans." Ontario plans to move forward to Stage 2 next week.
Any return is contingent on a detailed agreement and plan with the Canadian federal government, but Karunaratne noted the possibility is "more realistic than it was a year ago, or even three months ago."
The Blue Jays have long said a relocation back across the border would take weeks, if not months of prior planning. If Toronto does not return by August 20th, the first date of Toronto's final August homestand, the benefit of relocating the Blue Jays to Toronto for a few September home games may not outweigh the logistical cost. Shapiro and the Blue Jays have made it clear the primary goal has and will be a 2021 return.
“We’d gladly endure hardship and burden to get home,” Shapiro said.