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Blue Jays' Plan to Play at Pirates' PNC Park Not Approved by PA Dept. of Health

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2020

The Cleveland Indians and the Pittsburgh Pirates play an exhibition baseball game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays will not be calling the Steel City their temporary home after all.

According to ESPN's Marly Rivera, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Wednesday that the Blue Jays will not be allowed to play their home games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. 

Jason Mackey @JMackeyPG

Here's a statement from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine: https://t.co/rGkoOH5zND

Pirates president Travis Williams issued a statement on the decision, noting that he was "extremely proud" of his staff's effort throughout the process:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

The #Pirates statement on state’s decision to deny #BlueJays’ use of PNC Park in Pittsburgh https://t.co/23JObYnIXL

ESPN's Buster Olney and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported the Blue Jays were looking into new sites to stage games after the state of Pennsylvania was not going to give the necessary approval.

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Baltimore is one possible alternative:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

One option being considered, per sources: Baltimore. And, as Buster said in a follow-up tweet, the Blue Jays could wind up as road warriors for the season. While Pittsburgh isn't out as an option, Pennsylvania is balking at East division teams from hot spots coming to the state. https://t.co/yBNgMJZkDZ

The Canadian government prohibited the Blue Jays from playing at their usual home, Rogers Centre in Toronto, for the 2020 season because of concerns about incoming teams potentially spreading the coronavirus.

With the start of summer, a number of states across the United States relaxed their coronavirus-related guidelines and restrictions. As a result, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surged in nearly every state.

Canada, on the other hand, has found more success in limiting its new cases.

With Pittsburgh no longer an option, Baltimore would be a natural location to pursue since it is a fellow American League East team.

Along with limiting the season to 60 games, MLB altered the structure of each team's schedule to limit travel as much as possible. The Blue Jays will have 40 games against AL East teams and 20 games against NL East teams.

Regardless of where they end up, the Blue Jays are in a race against the clock to find a solution. They open the year Friday on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays, and their first "home" game is July 29 against the Washington Nationals.

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