Seven days from now, the Phillies are scheduled to open a three-game series on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It seems they finally know where those games will be played.
Rendered nomadic after the Canadian government prohibited them from playing in Toronto this season, the Blue Jays will move “the greater part of its home schedule” to the triple-A ballpark in Buffalo, the team announced Friday.
But before the Phillies shuffle off to Buffalo next weekend, there are a few issues to be ironed out, including preparing Sahlen Field to comply with Major League Baseball’s protocols for a season within a pandemic. Lighting improvements also are reportedly necessary for the 32-year-old ballpark.
The Blue Jays open the season with five consecutive road games. If Buffalo isn’t ready for the home opener next Wednesday, other plans could be made. One possibility: The Phillies could host the Blue Jays next weekend, then travel to Buffalo on Sept. 18-20, when the Jays were supposed to come here.
“I would imagine that there’s a lot of work to be done in Buffalo to prepare it because I know it took us a week to prepare our ballpark for this,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “So I’m not sure where we’re going. It wouldn’t be so bad to play here.”
Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in a statement that the team is “extremely grateful to have a home in Buffalo this season.”
"This process has no doubt tested our team's resilience," Shapiro said in a statement, "but our players and staff refuse to make excuses."
The Blue Jays looked into playing in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates were amenable to letting them share PNC Park. But Pennsylvania rejected the plan. The Jays also were talking about playing in Baltimore, though perhaps not until September.