Blue Jays hunt for home after Pittsburgh plan scuttled
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New York (AFP)
The Toronto Blue Jays are scrambling to find a new home on the eve of the Major League Baseball season after a deal which would have seen them play home fixtures in Pittsburgh collapsed on Wednesday.
The Blue Jays have been searching for a venue to play home games after Canadian government authorities last week barred the club from playing in Toronto citing concerns over COVID-19.
Early Wednesday it emerged Toronto were close to inking a deal with Pittsburgh to play the majority of their games across the border at PNC Park instead.
However that plan was scuttled after Pennsylvania state health officials ruled against it.
"In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania," state health secretary Rachel Levine said.
"To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams.
"We know that this virus does not discriminate, and can even make professional athletes very sick. We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians."
It means the Blue Jays are still searching for a home base as the abbreviated 2020 season gets under way on Thursday with games between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants.
The Blue Jays are due to open their season against Tampa Bay on Friday. Their first home game was due to take place against the Nationals on July 29.
With Pittsburgh out of contention, the Blue Jays could try to broker a deal with the Baltimore Orioles to use Camden Yards, according to the Baltimore Sun newspaper.
If Toronto are unable to find a permanent base for the season, one plan under consideration involves the team playing at each of their opponents' stadium but designated as the home team.
© 2020 AFP