Report: Blue Jays to Open 2021 Season at Spring Training Site in Florida

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 18, 2021

Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police march past the Toronto Blue Jays logo before Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

With pandemic-induced restrictions still in place on the U.S.-Canada border, the Toronto Blue Jays are flying south for the spring.  

According to Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, MLB's only Canada-based team will begin the 2021 season at its spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida.

The Blue Jays were forced to spend the shortened 2020 campaign in Buffalo, New York, at the home of their Triple-A affiliate, due to border restrictions.

At least two homestands are affected by the decision: April 8-14 against the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees and April 27-May 2 against the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, per Davidi and Nicholson-Smith. 

A third homestand, May 14-24, is pending "in the hopes the border opens up and allow for a return" to Toronto.

The team is planning to have fans in the stands for spring training games in Florida at 15 percent capacity (about 1,275), but plans for the regular season have yet to be announced. Fans attending spring training games will be allowed to do so in pods of two or four seats with face coverings and symptom screening required.

In the move to Florida, the Blue Jays will follow the lead of the NBA's Toronto Raptors, who have been playing in Tampa. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been able to stay in Canada due to the NHL's new divisions, which pit all seven of the league's Canadian-based teams against each other during the regular season.