The Nationals open the season on July 23 against the New York Yankees at home. There won’t be any fans there, but it is still the familiar surroundings of Nationals Park.
But after five home games, things might get a little weird for Washington on the first road trip of the season. The Nats are scheduled to visit the Toronto Blue Jays on July 29. The opponent is not in question, but the venue and city is.
The Buffalo News reported that the Blue Jays have reached out to the Buffalo Bisons, the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate, to explore the possibility of Toronto’s home schedule being played in Buffalo.
The biggest hold up for playing games in Toronto is the 14-day quarantine mandated by the Canadian government for anyone entering the country. That is obviously impossible for the Nationals, or any team, to accomplish.
The Nats and Jays are scheduled to play July 28 at Nationals Park and then head north of the border to complete a home-home series. Toronto reportedly has plans in place to take its players and visiting teams in sanitized buses directly from the airport to the Marriott hotel that is inside Rogers Centre.
If you leave the team hotel in Toronto, however, there could be some serious consequences.
Here is what’s going to keep #BlueJays players in their stadium/hotel bubble this summer:— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) July 10, 2020
Per multiple sources, players have been told penalty if seen outside ballpark is $750,000 fine and potential jail time.
Sahlen Field is the home of the Buffalo Bisons. It is located in downtown Buffalo and was built in 1988.
According to the Buffalo News, the field conditions are “major-league” quality but the lighting is an issue. The lighting “would need an upgrade for the major leagues - and for the accompanying television broadcasts, with 24 of the Blue Jays’ 30 home games scheduled at night.”
Additionally, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says it would require permission from the Canadian government for the Blue Jays to play its home schedule in the city, according to CBS-4 in Buffalo.
The other option for the Nationals-Blue Jays series could be TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., the Blue Jays newly renovated spring training home. A number of players reside there in the offseason, but Florida also reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. That would be a hard sell even if closer to home for a lot of players and staff.
There does not seem to be an easy answer to the simple question: Where are the Nationals and Blue Jays going to play on July 29? The only certainty is the Nats will pack their bags after five home games to start the season. But the exact destination – even if it’s still Toronto for now - remains unknown.
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