The Blue Jays are hoping to receive approval from the Canadian government to return to Toronto for a homestand that begins on July 30, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi writes. The team submitted their proposal “in recent weeks,” and officials from both the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario have okayed the concept.
Canada’s restrictions regarding COVID-19 quarantines will be eased (though not eliminated) on July 5 for Canadian citizens who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and are returning across the border. As Davidi notes, non-vaccinated players on the Jays and other teams could potentially face some type of modified quarantine situation — likely some type of a bubble environment limiting them to traveling to and from Rogers Centre and the team hotel.
Team president Mark Shapiro has said that the organization would require about three weeks to fully move operations from Buffalo to Toronto, though there is some flexibility within that timeframe. The Blue Jays are either on the road or off for much of the rest of July, with a six-game homestand in Buffalo from July 16-21 representing their only home dates until the 30th.
Needless to say, the organization and its players would immensely welcome a return to Rogers Centre after over one and a half seasons of nomadic baseball. The Blue Jays played home games in Buffalo during the abbreviated 2020 season, then used Dunedin as their home base in April and May of this season before returning to Buffalo on June 1. If approval isn’t granted in time for the July 30-August 8 homestand, the Blue Jays don’t have another home date scheduled until August 20, when a seven-game stint against the Tigers and White Sox will run until August 26.
Should the earlier approval become a reality, however, July 30 will suddenly stand out as one of the more notable days in Jays history. Not only will they finally be back in their home ballpark, but the trade deadline falls on that same day, and the Jays have all the makings of a team looking to buy. It’s fair to assume that the Blue Jays will take an aggressive approach to the deadline with or without a Rogers Centre return slated for July 30, though landing a big acquisition would be the icing on the cake for what would be a celebratory day for Toronto fans.