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Blue Jays denied approval to play in Canada – Latest Breaking News Updates

TORONTO — The Blue Jays will not play their dwelling video games in Toronto this yr as a result of Canada’s authorities would not assume it is secure for gamers to journey backwards and forwards from the United States, one of many nations hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino stated Saturday the federal authorities had denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre, confirming what an official accustomed to the matter had informed The Associated Press forward of the announcement.

The workforce’s alternate websites for dwelling video games embody its coaching facility in Dunedin, Florida, which is among the many states which might be virus hotspots, in addition to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, which is dwelling to Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate and simply throughout the Niagara River from Canada.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to begin the season July 24 at Tampa Bay. Their dwelling opener was set for 5 days later in opposition to Washington.

Mendicino informed the AP frequent journey to the U.S., the place COVID-19 instances are surging, was the largest subject.

“There were serious risks if we proceeded with the regular-season proposal of the MLB and the Jays and therefore we concluded it was not in the national interest,” Mendicino stated.

The workforce had been given clearance by metropolis and provincial governments to play in its dwelling stadium and was awaiting approval from Canada’s federal authorities. The different 29 Major League Baseball groups plan to play in their dwelling ballparks, with out spectators, when the pandemic-shortened 60-game season begins on July 23.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz have pushed for the workforce to relocate to town.

“Let’s find a way to make them the `Buffalo Blue Jays’ this year,” Poloncarz wrote in a textual content to the AP.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro stated participant well being is a priority in Florida. He stated the workforce has spent extra time analyzing Buffalo in latest days however stated the stadium has infrastructure challenges. An absence of area in the clubhouse makes social distancing tough, however Shapiro stated some gamers might have their lockers arrange in suites.

Sahlen Field additionally wants upgrades to its subject lights and its coaching services, he stated.

“Dunedin is the only one that is 100% seamless right now and ready to go. That from a player-health standpoint has some challenges,” Shapiro stated. “Buffalo is certainly one that we’ve spent an increasing amount of time on in the past few weeks. That is not done. There are some infrastructure and player-facility challenges to get that up to major league standards. And then we have other alternatives that are real that we continue to work through that may be better for us.”

He declined to say what different websites they’re contemplating. He stated they might look to enhance batting cages, weight rooms and coaching rooms in Buffalo whether it is picked.

“Buffalo is the place we’ve spent the most time on in the last 10 days,” Shapiro stated. “There is a lot we have to do. Some of it might get done after we start playing but I’m confident Buffalo is a viable alternative. With the amount of resources that we would marshal if we focused solely on Buffalo we can make it what it needs to be for us in time to play games.”

No affiliated minor league groups are enjoying this yr, so the Bisons’ stadium is empty.

“We are continuing to explore the best ways to adapt the available spaces in our ballpark to meet the needs of the Blue Jays,” stated Mike Buczkowski, the president of Rich Baseball Operations, which oversees the workforce.

Washington pitcher Max Scherzer stated the Blue Jays’ state of affairs is the most recent wrinkle in the virus-delayed season.

“Whatever the challenge is, wherever you’ve got to play, wherever you’ve got to go, just keep a smile on your face,” Scherzer stated. “Who knows where we’re going to play them — but we’re going to play baseball. We’re going to find a way to play them and get the games going. And when we do play them, it’s going to be fun, so just keep a smile on your face and try not to get too down about all the hoops we’re going to have to jump through.”

Shapiro referred to as Canada’s determination disappointing however gave well being officers credit score for mitigating the unfold of the virus.

“Without any hesitation we respect the decision. It’s not hard to think about how well managed and well led the virus has been throughout Toronto and Canada by public health and political leaders,” Shapiro stated.

Mendicino stated the federal government is open to contemplating future restart plans for the postseason ought to the chance of virus transmission diminish.

“We’ve committed to maintaining an open line of communication with both MLB and the Toronto Blue Jays and we will reassess in due course,” he stated.

MLB wanted an exemption to a requirement that anybody coming into Canada for nonessential causes should self-isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border stays closed to nonessential journey till a minimum of Aug. 21.

“In Canada you’ve seen us flatten the curve. You’ve seen that cases have decreased significantly and that is largely attributable to the sacrifices Canadians have made. We can ill afford a step back,” Mendicino stated.

“We think this is the right call and it is backed by the evidence and advice of our health experts. And fans who still would like to see baseball will still be able to watch the broadcast, just from a different location.”

The NHL has acquired an exemption for its restart to the season, however that was a far less complicated case as a result of the video games are restricted to two hubs — Edmonton and Toronto.

The Blue Jays acquired an exemption for summer season camp, throughout which the gamers agreed to isolate in the resort connected to Rogers Centre and create a quarantine surroundings. Players usually are not allowed to depart the stadium or resort and violators face fines of up to $750,000 Canadian ($551,000 U.S.) and up to six months in jail.

“COVID-19 still exists and there are hardworking people on the front line trying to battle the virus. You have to respect the Canadian government’s decision to keep the nation safe,” Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu stated by a translator.

“We don’t even know where we are going to end up playing the regular-season games but as players we are all just trying to rally together,” he stated.

Toronto Mayor John Tory had lobbied the federal authorities to approve the plan however stated Saturday he understands the choice given the state of affairs in the U.S.

Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious ailments on the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network, stated town and province have been mistaken to push for video games to be performed in Canada.

“Having people coming from the U.S. repeatedly is not the right thing to do,” Morris stated. “This should have been by a decision made in Toronto or by the province. It’s a bit disappointing it had to be made in Ottawa.”

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