ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Major League Baseball is coming to Western New York.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced Friday the team will be playing their 2020 home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo.
Baseball in Buffalo also means baseball in Rochester. The Blue Jays coming to the Queen City means Toronto’s reserve players will call the Flower City home this year. The taxi squad, will practice, work out, and play intersquad games at Frontier Field throughout the season.
All practices and games will be closed to fans.
Red Wings general manager Dan Mason received the news over the phone around 11:45 a.m. on Friday. Frontier Field installed a new field during the winter, and Mason is excited to see it get some use.
“It’s going to be cool to have the Jays and we’re excited to host them the rest of the season,” said Mason. “We’re really happy to help out, and it’s just going to be cool to feel like we’re a part of the 2020 baseball season.”
Mason has more than 48 hours to implement the MLB’s health and safety protocols to the ballpark, a roughly 113 page document of mandatory practices. The home clubhouse normally fits 25-30 players at a time, but will need be spread out for social distancing. The staff needs to accommodate for up to 32 players and 20 coaches.
“The way I figured it out, we’ll have about 12 players in our home clubhouse,” said Mason. “In the community clubhouse, we’ll have around 10 or 12, and in the visitor’s club house, we’ll have probably eight or nine.”
The ballpark is no stranger to social distancing, hosting distanced events like Dinner on the Diamond and drive-in movies, both of which will end by August 2.
The Blue Jays also considered PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Camden Yards in Baltimore, but Pennsylvania rejected the proposal.
Buffalo was the presumed first option for the Blue Jays, as the Buffalo Bison are Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate. Sahlen Field reportedly did not have lighting and other infrastructure not up to MLB standards.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.