This past week, Major League Baseball owners and players agreed to a deal to play a 60-game season in empty ballparks.
What that means for the Toronto Blue Jays is still unknown, however, because border restrictions related to COVID-19 mean players can’t report to Canada without quarantining for 14 days.
Therefore, the Toronto Sun is reporting that the Blue Jays’ spring training home in Dunedin, TD Ballpark, is a prime option for the 30-game home schedule if the team’s home stadium, the Rogers Centre, is unavailable.
The Blue Jays have not responded to Tampa Bay Newspapers’ requests for comment.
The spring training facilities were in the news for other reasons recently.
Multiple news outlets were reporting June 24 that several players and staff members on the team have tested positive for COVID-19. Details on the number of coronavirus cases and the team’s plans were expected to be announced at a news conference June 26.
A Blue Jays spokesperson confirmed to Tampa Bay Newspapers on June 19 that personnel at the club’s facilities underwent testing for COVID-19, after a player presented symptoms consistent with those of the virus.
According to the team, “The Blue Jays are following protocols put in place for this scenario, including guidelines from MLB and the club’s medical team. As a result, the Blue Jays have suspended operations at their Dunedin facilities for the time being.”
This spring training season was supposed to be an exciting one for the Blue Jays and the city of Dunedin, where the team unveiled its new $100 million TD Ballpark.
The Blue Jays weren’t the only team affected by the coronavirus recently.
The Philadelphia Phillies confirmed June 19 that at least five players and three staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility tested positive for COVID-19.
The first confirmed case occurred June 16. In addition, eight staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area were in the process of being tested and awaiting the results.
“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected,” Managing Partner John Middleton said in a press release.
The Spectrum Field facility, which is home of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training and the team’s Single-A Florida State League affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers, has been closed to all non-essential personnel since March 19 when spring training was brought to a halt by the coronavirus outbreak.