MLB fans following the Toronto Blue Jays’ home games updates might have thought the club finally found a venue in Pittsburgh. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Health decided against allowing Toronto to hold their home games at PNC Park. This is unfortunate news for a team ready to kick off their 2020 MLB regular season Friday. So what does this mean for Toronto’s MLB odds moving forward?
Toronto Blue Jays’ Home Games Update & Outlook
The spotlight on the Blue Jays’ home games didn’t arrive until mid-July, when the Canadian government announced that the franchise would not be playing their games in Toronto’s Roger Centre. Additionally, they also made it clear that the Blue Jays would not be playing their games anywhere in Canada either. On July 18th they said the following:
“We have shared this news with the Blue Jays organization, we remain open to considering future restart plans for the post-season should the risk of virus transmission diminish. We wish the Blue Jays the best of luck as they start the regular season.”
“Canada has been able to flatten the curve in large part because of the sacrifices Canadians have made. We understand professional sports are important to the economy and to Canadians. At the same time, our government will continue to take decisions at the border on the basis of the advice of our health experts in order to protect the health and safety of all Canadians.”
It’s clear the Canadian government did not want to take any risks.
This Wednesday, Pennsylvania burst Toronto’s fans expectations by announcing it would not allow the team to play their home games at PNC Park. It was reported earlier that park officials had given them permission. Then Dr. Rachel Levine released the following:
“In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania,” Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s secretary of health, said in a statement. “To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams. We know that this virus does not discriminate, and can even make professional athletes very sick. We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.”
This is due to the fact that new confirmed cases of the coronavirus reported daily by Allegheny County (Pittsburgh included) has “increased tenfold in the last two weeks,” per Rob Gillies, AP.
In response to this increase, state health officials have implemented numerous orders. In fact, they’ve shut down both bars and restaurants for a 14-day period. Also to be noted, health officials were quick to blame said bars and restaurants, stating that they were ignoring social-distancing procedures. Pittsburgh’s citizens had traveled to virus hot spots and returned home, according to city officials.
Pirates Were Fine with Housing Blue Jays’ Home Games
There was an original agreement with Pirates President Travis Williams and the Toronto Blue Jays. The talks between the two had reached an agreement. Ultimately the club was happy to accommodate Toronto as long as safety measures were followed. Publicly, Blue Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo expressed his excitement for potentially finding a home in PNC Park. Pirates manager Derek Shelton, on the other hand, said he had ‘no problems’ with the Candadian ball team moving in.
Most of the stories covering this developing story were positive. However, they also made it clear that the decision was pending state approval. And now that the state has announced its decision, it’s up to Toronto to find another venue.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Home Games Options
Earlier this week, Ross Atkins – Blue Jays’ general manager, made the claim that he had more than five contingencies in place for his Toronto Blue Jays’ home games. Nevertheless, he refused to name them publicly. Now the MLB betting community gets to call his bluff.
He did go on however, to state that their triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York would most likely host their home games. For now the aim is to secure a major league park. It’s clear that they’re getting support from both MLB clubs and the stadiums themselves. Notwithstanding, state officials have not been in Toronto’s corner whatsoever.
Looking over the Blue Jays’ schedule, they will have until Wednesday, July 29th to sort this problem. The franchise is scheduled to host the Philadelphia Phillies in what’s set to be their first home game of the season.
Moving forward, it’s clear MLB betting fans have an opportunity here. Being stripped of a proper home field advantage will likely have a negative impact on Toronto’s MLB regular season wins total.