Feb. 18: The Blue Jays have formally announced that they’ll play at least their first two homestands at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, “with the hopes of a return to play at Rogers Centre as soon as possible.” Those first two homestands at TD Ballpark will host fans in a limited 15 percent capacity, per the announcement.
The Jays’ first homestand is a six-game set hosting the Angels and the Yankees from April 8-14. They’ll next host the Nationals and Braves from April 27-May 2 before heading out on a 10-game road trip.
The earliest target date for a return to the Rogers Centre, then, appears to be May 14, when they host the Phillies at the outset of a 10-game homestand. It’s no guarantee those games will take place in Toronto, of course; the Jays will reevaluate the situation with input from medical experts and governmental bodies before further charting their course.
Feb. 17: The Blue Jays will again play their home games south of the border, according to a report from Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. At least to open the 2021 regular season, the Toronto denizens will make a temporary abode in Dunedin, Florida.
As was the case in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, cross-border traffic simply proved too difficult to manage. The plan in this case is to host home games in Florida until at least the middle of May.
Dunedin is certainly familiar, as it houses the team’s Spring Training complex. The club had toyed with the idea of playing there last year but ultimately settled on the Buffalo, New York home of its top minor-league affiliate.
The change in venue isn’t likely to have a major impact on the Blue Jays’ hopes for contention in 2021. Playing in Buffalo suited the Jays just fine last year, as they performed well at home (17-9) and earned a postseason berth.