BUFFALO, N.Y. — Play ball!
After conversations with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (NY-D) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Toronto Blue Jays will play their 2020 games in Buffalo at Sahlen Field.
The Blue Jays made the official announcement on social media.
"We are extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season, thanks to the openness, creativity, and partnership of the Buffalo Bisons, Major League Baseball and Blue Jays staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare us for games at Sahlen Field," said Mark Shaprio, President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"This process has no doubt tested our team's resilience, but our players and staff refuse to make excuses- we are determined to take the field on Opening Day today, and for the coming months, with the same intensity and competitiveness that our fans expect."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier Friday in his news conference the Toronto Blue Jays were close to announcing plans to play their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo.
"Working with the department of health, we can keep people safe. If we can get Toronto playing here, that's great," Cuomo said. "It's good for Buffalo."
Asked why he was comfortable with the team playing in New York when Canada and other states have said no to the Blue Jays, Cuomo said, "the horse is out of the barn. If it's going to happen, I'd rather it happen here."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz discussed the Blue Jays coming to Buffalo in a news conference Friday.
He says that visiting teams will fly in on a charter flight, taken to a hotel by bus, and will be quarantined in a local hotel. The Blue Jays will also be quarantined in a local hotel. This will help to minimize any health risks or concerns regarding the Blue Jays travel.
A Blue Jays representative confirmed this, saying the team will use private, chartered transportation. The representative added that "the team has spoken at length about limiting activity beyond the hotel and given ballpark, but they will not be restricted to the hotel only, as they would have been in Toronto."
The players will also be tested four times a week, per the MLB Operations Manual, according to the representative.
The county executive also discussed the economic benefit of the Blue Jays playing in Buffalo, saying there will be at least two hotels that will be completely booked for the players, as well as their food will be catered by local restaurants.
A Blue Jays representative told 2 On Your Side's Adam Benigni that the "MLB strongly discourages socializing outside of the ballpark confines and each team is responsible for policing themselves. Our team was quite aware of the sacrifices they needed to make in Toronto and have been open on being responsible, wearing masks, not going out, etc., even outside of what was supposed to be the Toronto bubble."
Poloncarz added that none of the costs for the Blue Jays to play in Buffalo will be taken locally or state-wise, including for the improvement of the stadium and the new lights needed for MLB play. Those improvements will be permanent and paid for by the MLB and Blue Jays.
Poloncarz says installation of new lights will begin Friday night or Saturday.
The Toronto Blue Jays' first home game is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29 against the Washington Nationals. You can see their full schedule here.