Toronto's Decision to Ban City-Led Events Could Mean No Yankees Baseball Until July
As a precautionary measure, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the city of Toronto elected to ban all city-led events through June 30 on Tuesday.
The decision was made in accordance with the directive that physical distancing is crucial in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Similar to the recommendation handed out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – the guidance that influenced Major League Baseball to suspend Spring Training and postpone the regular season – the Toronto Medical Officer of Health urged people to practice social distancing, stay six feet apart and avoid large gatherings.
The ban does not explicitly pinpoint sporting events within this criteria. It specifically will enforce the cancelation of "city-led major mass participation events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs" as well as "city permits for major mass participation events organized by external groups."
Nonetheless, it's hard to imagine the Blue Jays' ballpark – the Rogers Centre, with a capacity north of 50 thousand – hosting a game prior to July 1.
Here's a press release from Toronto's Mayor John Tory with more details on the decision and why it was made:
There's a chance games could be played without fans present. That would be one possible means to start the season prior to July. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the Commissioner and baseball's executives will resort to such a plan.
Baseball is currently in week two of its eight-week postponement of Opening Day – a hiatus scheduled to last until May 10 (at the earliest). Then, some sort of Spring Training will need to resume in order to give players a sufficient amount of time and reps to get back into game shape after weeks of quarantine.
It's unclear if the league plans to further that eight-week delay. An agreement reached between the MLB and MLBPA late last week is proof that all parties involved are prepared for a shortened season to take place this year.
Further, populous cities like New York could be next to install some sort of event ban lasting through June, perhaps longer.
The Yankees aren't scheduled to play any games in Toronto in the month of June. New York was initially pencilled in to take a trip north of the border to face the Blue Jays on the first three days of May, but that falls under the league's current hiatus.
Barring any additional setbacks, the Bombers are scheduled to play another three-game set at the Rogers Centre from July 3-5.
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