New York State will be the home to a third Major League Baseball team during the upcoming unprecedented season that just started.
After being barred from their home stadium due to COVID-19 mandates, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that they will be playing at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, the home of their Triple-A affiliate.
The Blue Jays found themselves in a precarious position after being rebuffed from playing their home games in Canada, then later rebuffed by officials in Pittsburgh and Maryland.
The team had also considered playing at its spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but opted against it due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine State.
"We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season, thanks to the openness, creativity, and partnership of the Buffalo Bisons, Major League Baseball, and Blue Jays staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare us for games at Sahlen Field," Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a statement.
"This process has no doubt tested our team's resilience, but our players and staff refuse to make excuses -- we are determined to take the field on Opening Day today, and for the coming months, with the same intensity and competitiveness that our fans expect.”
Before the announcement that the Blue Jays would be calling Sahlen Field home during the season, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo advocated for the team to come to Buffalo during a COVID-19 briefing on Friday, July 24.
“I had a good conversation this morning with (MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred),” Cuomo said. “My fingers are crossed, maybe we get the deal done and the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo.
"If we can get Toronto playing here, I say great. We have the protocols in place. It will be done safely," he added. "I'd rather it happen here. It's good for Buffalo.”
In a letter, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York urged MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to pick Buffalo.
"Since it is Opening Day, there is little time for continued deliberation -- now is the time to act -- and Buffalo is ready to roll out the red carpet and welcome Major League Baseball to Sahlen Field and Western New York," he wrote. "I strongly urge MLB and the Blue Jays to choose Buffalo as your home for the 2020 season.”
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