Every MLB club faces a difficult task in launching and sustaining a 2020 season. But the Blue Jays face some unique challenges as the only affiliated organization located outside of the United States.
The Toronto organization announced today that it will gather its players and personnel at its facility in Dunedin, Florida. The club says it will “begin the intake screening and isolation process” there.
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The Jays’ next step will depend upon the views of the relevant Canadian authorities. If approval is granted, the club says it’ll charter a flight to train in Toronto “under a modified quarantine, isolated from the general public.” Otherwise, it’ll keep its employees at the Dunedin facility and undertake Summer Training there.
It was just ten days ago that the Blue Jays halted activities at its spring complex as coronavirus cases hit the neighboring Phillies facility and soared in the state of Florida generally. There was indeed cause for concern, as several players and staff members ended up testing positive for COVID-19 infections.
That mini-outbreak served to highlight the need for strict measures if this campaign is to occur in a reasonably safe manner. That’s all the more true for the Jays. With cases within the organization already, and the situation in Florida only continuing to worsen, gathering in Dunedin will have to be done carefully.
No doubt the Blue Jays are aware of all that and planning accordingly. The team’s stated preference is to train and play in Toronto, which will mean convincing the Canadian federal, provincial, and local governments that it can be done without unreasonable risk. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reported earlier today on Twitter, it seems as if that process is moving towards a favorable outcome for the Jays.