The Blue Jays’ first home game in Buffalo will be played on August 11 against the Marlins, reports Hazel Mae of Sportsnet. Their first “home” games were set to take place July 29-August 2, but those two series will in fact take place in Nationals Park and Citizens Bank Park.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Blue Jays won’t be able to instantly move into their temporary home, as Buffalo’s Sahlen Field will require some modifications in order to accommodate Major League Baseball.
As a result, the Blue Jays will take on the unique circumstance of playing “home” games in their opponent’s ballpark, at least for a few days. This week, the Nationals and Phillies will be designated as visitors in their native ballparks, so expect the cardboard cutouts in Philly to take no prisoners while Bryce Harper’s at bat.
One would imagine the Blue Jays’ early-season schedule becomes that much tougher without a real homestand to fall back on—to say nothing of tough opponents like the Rays and defending champion Nats to open the season, plus the rest of MLB’s East division.
At the very least, Sahlen field should represent some familiarity for many of the team’s young players, who would’ve passed through Triple-A Buffalo while climbing the Jays’ minor-league ranks. Still, there might be some challenges in that its facilities aren’t intended for MLB play, though of course work is being done to meet those standards as best as possible.
Teams won’t benefit from the support of fans in the seats, but there’s something to be said for the luxury of waking up in one’s own bed as opposed to a hotel room. Regardless, it will be interesting to watch the Blue Jays’ season play out in their new, temporary home.