In these uncommon and unsure occasions, it was about as near enterprise as ordinary for the Blue Jays on Wednesday morning on the workforce’s Florida headquarters in Dunedin.
Gamers arrived and shared pleasure for the season (unusual and unsure as it’s) that awaits. They caught up on life within the quarantine (versus a traditional off- season hiatus) and as a lot as attainable loved the camaraderie of a COVID-19 clubhouse.
After which there have been the assessments, assuredly essentially the most disagreeable piece of enterprise of the reunion and one that can quickly grow to be a part of the ball gamers’ routine — a activity not practically as pleasurable as the same old routines across the batting cage and bullpen.
Nobody is getting too settled in at TD Ballpark simply but, nevertheless, as it’s nonetheless believed the keep on the workforce’s spring coaching base will likely be short-lived.
The Jays personnel we communicated with on Wednesday are beneath the optimistic impression that the workforce will likely be on its manner again north to the Rogers Centre for the majority of coaching camp, presumably as quickly as Saturday. Whereas there had been hope that flight would have occurred first on Wednesday after which Friday, it will hardly be a worst-case improvement given the lingering uncertainty of the place they are going to be based mostly for the postponed and abbreviated 60-game season.
Formally, the Jays are nonetheless awaiting closing clearance from the federal authorities to proceed to Toronto for shut to 3 weeks of coaching camp beneath modified quarantine circumstances.
Although every MLB workforce is allowed to host as many as three exhibition video games, intra-squad contests are one other attainable technique of preparation for the season.
These across the workforce are clinging to the idea constitution will likely be on its manner by the weekend and, the truth is, a aircraft is on the prepared close by.
Whereas the Jays will likely be working beneath completely different logistical circumstances, it’s probably inspired by the truth that Toronto and Edmonton have been cleared to be hockey playoff hubs, which may work in favour of the nation’s solely big-league baseball workforce.
With clearance from the feds nonetheless delayed, the Jays opted to mobilize in Dunedin to a minimum of get the medical testing for the virus out of the best way. TD Ballpark additionally stays because the prime backup plan for the common season.
On Wednesday, the gamers car parking zone on the renovated spring coaching facility was full as testing was beneath manner whereas a truck with the workforce’s tools remained on the prepared.
As soon as in Canada, the Jays plan to work beneath a quarantine atmosphere, staying on the Marriott Lodge hooked up to the Rogers Centre and practising on the sphere beneath. The stadium’s grounds crew has been engaged on readying the sphere this week.
Whereas the workforce has mentioned little concerning the developments, president and CEO Mark Shapiro has been working behind the scenes with federal, provincial and municipal governments. It’s believed that the ultimate points contain quarantining gamers from visiting groups as soon as the common season begins.
With near a month to work out these particulars, the Jays are assured they’ll run a protected, efficient and accountable coaching camp on the Rogers Centre.
“We’re all conscious of the challenges we face,” Shapiro mentioned lately. “All of us perceive that the duty of executing and pulling off Main League Baseball within the backdrop of what we’re going by way of shouldn’t be going to be a straightforward one.
“There’s a willingness and a want to face that problem. We need to have some normalcy the place we will have it and that is one piece of bringing again a constructive distraction for baseball followers and sports activities followers all through Canada.”
In the meantime, Canada Day was by no means imagined to be like this for the Jays, in fact. At all times a spotlight of the workforce’s residence calendar, on the unique 2020 schedule a Wednesday matinee was slated to be the finale of a three-game collection on the Rogers Centre towards the Chicago White Sox.
That plan scuttled by the pandemic, it was then imagined to be the report date again in Toronto for gamers to be examined for COVID-19 and to get settled in for first exercises on Friday, the primary day such gatherings are permitted beneath MLB’s back-to-work plans.
It’s unclear whether or not the Jays will begin exercises in Dunedin after which choose them up when the workforce returns north. A number of groups gained’t start full workforce coaching periods till Saturday because the testing necessitates a quarantine interval of as much as 48 hours.
If and when the Jays lastly make it to Canada, they may accomplish that beneath the idea they are going to be right here for good — well being and pandemic standing keen. It might be pointless, in spite of everything, to have coaching camp right here solely to return to Dunedin for video games.
In the meantime, like the remainder of the league, the Jays await a agency schedule from MLB outlining the abbreviated 60-game marketing campaign that can see Toronto play 40 video games towards its AL East rivals and the remaining 20 towards NL East foes.
The Tampa Bay Instances has reported that the Jays will open the season on July 24 in a collection with the Rays at Tropicana Discipline in St. Petersburg.