Blue Jays to call Buffalo home in 2020

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By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The rollercoaster ride that was the search for a home stadium in 2020 is finally over for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays officially announced on Friday that the team will play a majority of their home games for the shortened 2020 season at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, home of their Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons. The story was first reported by Baltimore Orioles writer Dan Connolly.

Blue Jays To Stage Majority Of 2020 Home Games In Buffalo. pic.twitter.com/BxlV7cgieJ

— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 24, 2020

It was nearly a week ago that the Canadian government denied the Blue Jays permission to play their home games this season in the friendly confines of Rogers Centre in Toronto. Then it was thought that the Blue Jays were going to be able to play out their home schedule this season at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health ended up denying the organization permission of that luxury on Wednesday.

The Blue Jays had reportedly been in discussion with the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland to play out the home schedule at Camden Yards, home of the Orioles, but it ended up not working out for all parties. The team's spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida was also talked about, but the amount of soaring COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida made a decision of that nature risky.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the Blue Jays playing in Buffalo during a press briefing on Friday, saying that he had spoken with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred earlier in the morning.

Sportsnet baseball columnist Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays had staff in Buffalo on Thursday to discuss details of a go-plan to play out the season at Sahlen Field. Among the issues that the Blue Jays were discussing was the lighting of the ballpark, as well as figuring out how to make space compliant with COVID-19 protocols. Davidi also adds that depending on how quickly all parties can get everything going with this process, the Blue Jays could start play in Buffalo as soon as July 31 when they host a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

How quickly all the plans can be executed will determine when #BlueJays get into Sahlen Field. July 31-Aug. 2 series versus Phillies not being ruled out as yet, I'm told, but it could be Aug. 11 vs Marlins.

— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 24, 2020

Sahlen Field can hold close to 17,000 fans in attendance, but no fans will be allowed to attend these games this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bisons' 2020 season was canceled with the rest of the Minor League Baseball season back on June 30.

With the Blue Jays playing the 2020 season in Buffalo at Sahlen Field, the team's minor league players will be stationed down Interstate-90 in Rochester and set up headquarters at Frontier Field, home of the Minnesota Twins' Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking...we are beginning our descent into the Buffalo vicinity. We apologize for the delay." pic.twitter.com/mUldIfjcG9

— Todd Radom (@ToddRadom) July 24, 2020