TORONTO (AP) – The 30 Major League Baseball teams will train at their regular season baseball fields for the pandemic-shortened season after the Toronto Blue Jays received an exemption from the Canadian federal government on Thursday for s to train at the Rogers Center.
Toronto will relocate the camp from its spring training complex to Dunedin, Florida, where the players appeared for the admission tests. The Blue Jays will create a quarantine environment at the Rogers Center and the adjacent Toronto Marriott City Center hotel, which overlooks the grounds.
This exemption does not cover the regular season and player travel between the United States and Canada. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said the team hopes to know in 10 days where it will play regular season games.
“They felt better to be here,” said Shapiro of the players. “Toronto was a more comforting and safe place for them.”
COVID-19 cases on the rise in Florida as health officials report a new record total of 10,000 new cases in a single day, and before that week, several Dunedin players and staff had tested positive . Ontario has reported 153 new cases and Toronto companies are reopening as the number of new cases decreases.
Players are scheduled to take private charter flights to Toronto this weekend. Each will need two negative tests before boarding the plane, and each will then be tested daily.
MLB has requested an exemption from the requirement that anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons be isolated for 14 days. The Canada-US border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least July 21, two or three days before opening day. The border should be closed well beyond.
“We have a plan for that,” said Shapiro of the regular season. “We still have areas to address. I would say that we are 80% with pure public health problems, but there are also travel-related problems. “
Shapiro said visiting teams will not leave the boundaries of the Rogers Center and the stadium hotel if the regular season plan is approved. Shapiro said the Major League Baseball Players Association supported the proposal, but players’ union spokesman Chris Dahl said the association had not yet approved the plan.
“Never leaving that mark until they finish playing a three-game streak would be the expectation of a visiting team,” he said.
The Blue Jays will use four locker rooms and use social distance during training camp. They will not play exhibition games with other teams during training camp. Precautions at the hotel include contactless check-in and discouraging the use of elevators.
“I don’t think we could do it more safely than we do,” said Shapiro.
Shapiro acknowledged that the plan was not without risk, but said that no player or staff had withdrawn.
Dr. Andrew Morris, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at the Sinai-University Health Network, said that the government and the MLB will face a serious blow from the Canadian medical community. they approve a plan. which allows players to go back and forth between the United States and Canada to play regular season games. He said the United States is a disaster right now, especially in the south and the southwest.
“Major League Baseball basically said that we ignore all the concepts of a bubble, and we’re going to have a virtual bubble in motion, and I don’t see that as achievable,” said Morris.
“You can hope, want and want anything you want. What COVID has really shown to North Americans is that hope is not a strategy or a plan. I would really be opposed to the plan for players to go back and forth between Canada and the United States without any sort of quarantine. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s just madness in my mind. ”
Canadian federal and local health officials have approved a plan for the NHL to play in Toronto or Edmonton, Alberta, but the plan does not involve a return between the United States and Canada. The NHL selects the hub cities – probably two – where all the teams will play.
Source: AP News