The Jays’ plan to head to the Steel City is currently up in the air.
According to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, the Blue Jays were heading to Pittsburgh to play their home games, sharing a park with the Pirates in 2020.
Can confirm the Blue Jays have been told they will be calling PNC Park “home” this season per MLB source. @longleysunsport was first to suggest Pittsburgh as option.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) July 22, 2020
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But, not so fast: While Pittsburgh was inviting of the Blue Jays making a nest in the Steel City, Pennsylvania government is not a fan of the idea. Per Ken Rosenthal, the plan for Toronto to play in Pittsburgh is “falling apart” and the team is exploring alternate solutions.
The decision to play in Pittsburgh was the next best bet after Buffalo was seemingly eliminated early in the process.
In case you’re wondering how and why two teams would be able to play in one stadium over the course of just over two months, consider: The Blue Jays and Pirates share just seven home game dates this year, making it easy for MLB to work out the kinks in the schedule.
Of course, there will be a few additional logistical issues that could harm both teams, including potential rainouts and travel for visiting teams among them. The postseason isn’t likely in either team’s immediate future, eliminating one more potential logistical hurdle. (Sorry, Pittsburgh and Toronto fans.)
Given MLB’s region-based schedule, this means four divisions — the NL Central, AL Central, AL East and NL East — would have games to play in Pittsburgh this year. That doesn’t seem in the cards at this point.
The Blue Jays are left without a home stadium after Canada wanted no part of MLB’s plan to have teams travel back and forth between countries in the middle of a global pandemic. Reasonably so, as well: Cases in the United States continue to rise, while Canada has flattened its curve significantly since its apex in early May.
The state of Pennsylvania has concerns with teams from the East Coast in coronavirus-rich areas traveling to Pennsylvania.
Toronto’s enforcement of the Blue Jays staying indoors during summer training was very strict, with harsh penalties in place if Blue Jays players left their hotel or stadium bubble. If players were seen outside the Rogers Centre, it would have resulted in a $750,000 fine and potential jail time for the offender.
Pirates president Travis Williams welcomed the Blue Jays with open arms once Toronto was ousted from the north.
Pirates President Travis Williams released this statement on the Blue Jays potentially playing some of their home games at PNC Park. pic.twitter.com/i1X5kBW2a7
— Mike Persak (@MikeDPersak) July 20, 2020
The Jays were originally scheduled to play their first home game on July 29. Scheduling updates have yet to be released.