pcloudy.png
Wednesday August 12th, 2020 8:32PM

Baltimore talks about hosting Blue Jays; how about Hartford?

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TORONTO (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles and the state of Maryland have had talks about the team sharing Oriole Park at Camden Yards with the displaced Toronto Blue Jays amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blue Jays are looking for a major league park after the Canadian government declined to allow them to play in Toronto, and the state of Pennsylvania nixed a deal to play in Pittsburgh because of frequent travel throughout the United States.

The governor of Connecticut is pitching, too, to have the Blue Jays play at the Double-A ballpark in Hartford.

Toronto begins the season at Tampa Bay on Friday. The Blue Jays are scheduled to play their first home game July 29 against the defending champion Washington Nationals.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press there have been talks about the state hosting the Blue Jays.

“We’ve had some discussions with the Orioles. I don’t know the final details of that. Obviously, we’re watching our numbers very carefully everyday. We’re concerned about the spikes in other states. I know major league baseball is also taking a look at it day to day,” Hogan told the AP.

“We’re not ready to put fans in the stands, but if you have, you know, a couple of guys standing in the field with masks on pretty far distanced from each other, and they can figure out a way to do it safely, maybe it can happen.”

Michael Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said discussions are still happening “but we don’t have any announcement to make right now just yet.”

“Maryland Stadium Authority is talking to the Orioles about it, so that’s where the discussions currently are on the state level, and then I think once they’ve kind of come to an agreement on something they’ll bring it to the governor and the health department,” Ricci told the AP.

A source familiar with the matter told the AP the Orioles are engaged in talks with the Blue Jays about playing “home games” at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The official said the Orioles are trying to help Toronto however they can but says there are lots of logistics to be worked through yet in terms of feasibility. The official said the Blue Jays would build a makeshift clubhouse in the stadium concourse in one scenario.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said the Blue Jays are working on other contingencies, too.

The Blue Jays may find it hard to get clearance to play in Baltimore as COVID-19 cases doubled in the city in the past month. Masks will be mandatory in indoor public spaces starting Friday and Mayor Bernard Young announced a halt to indoor dining, about a month after allowing restaurants to half full.

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, noted a significant increase in the number of cases in southwestern Pennsylvania and the risk of adding travelers to the region as the reason to decline the Blue Jays’ request to play in Pittsburgh. The Blue Jays and the Pirates had an agreement to for the team to play at PNC Park pending state approval.

But the number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus reported daily by Allegheny County — which includes Pittsburgh and 1.2 million residents — has increased tenfold in the last two weeks and the state rejected the plan.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said this week his team had more than five contingency plans for a home stadium and was in talks with other teams. Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk said Tuesday the players were told Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore is a possibility.

Atkins said earlier this week if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games. But it lacks major league caliber facilities and based on what the players want and the collaboration they are getting from other teams and MLB, Atkins said the Blue Jays are focused on major league parks, as long as they can be safe. He said health and safety is the priority, so the ability to be socially distant without comprising other teams’ ability to maintain social distance is important.

The team had been considering playing home games at its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but that is among the states that are virus hot spots.

If a major league stadium can’t be found, the Blue Jays could be facing a 60-game road trip, playing opposing teams in their own ballparks instead of a home park.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is making a personal push to have the Blue Jays use Dunkin’ Donuts Park in downtown Hartford, a $56 million, 6,121-seat minor league park that opened in 2017. The facility is home to the Double-A Eastern League Hartford Yard Goats, but their season has been canceled because of the pandemic.

Lamont, a former businessman, first reached out to the team about two weeks ago. The Democrat has had at least two discussions with the team, including a half-hour call on Thursday with CEO Mark Shapiro, when he pitched the fact that Connecticut currently has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, said his spokesman, Max Reiss.

"They have indoor batting cages. They have hitting bays. They have a large clubhouse for players. You know, it’s a top-flight facility. And, you know, we if there’s a way to make this happen, we would absolutely love to. But at the end of the day, it’s the decision of the Toronto Blue Jays,” Reiss said.

“It’s perhaps the best minor league facility in America. The geography of it could not be better. You’re a two-hour bus ride from Boston. You’re a two-hour bus ride from New York. You’re a short charter flight away from, you know, from Philadelphia and Baltimore.”

____

Witte reported from Annapolis, Maryland. Susan Haigh in Hartford contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Richy Werenski leads 3M Open; Dustin Johnson WDs after 78
Richy Werenski made a short birdie putt on the par-5 18th for an 8-under 63 and the first-round lead Thursday in the 3M Open, while Dustin Johnson withdrew because of a back injury after a 78
6:45PM ( 18 minutes ago )
If college football is played, will bowls be salvaged, too?
College football leaders are in the process of piecing together plans to attempt to play a regular season during the COVID-19 pandemic
6:41PM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Washington state tightens rules on indoor venues
Washington's governor is tightening restrictions throughout the state in restaurants and bars, for weddings and funerals, and at gyms in a further effort to stem a surge in coronavirus infections
6:41PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Big league debuts to be made without family, friends on hand
Brady Singer will make his big league debut on the mound for the Kansas City Royals in their second game Saturday in Cleveland
5:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
Orioles, Maryland in talks about Blue Jays in Baltimore
The Baltimore Orioles and the state of Maryland have had talk about the team sharing Oriole Park at Camden Yards with the displaced Toronto Blue Jays amid the coronavirus pandemic
5:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP source: MLB, players agree to expand playoffs to 16 teams
A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball and the players’ union agreed to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 for the pandemic-delayed season
5:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Red Sox shut down Rodriguez after coronavirus setback
Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez will be shut down from all baseball activities for at least a week after he experienced a setback in his return from COVID-19
3:05PM ( 3 hours ago )
Nats star Juan Soto positive for COVID-19, out for opener
The Washington Nationals have put star slugger Juan Soto on the COVID-19 injured list just hours before they face the New York Yankees on opening day
2:57PM ( 4 hours ago )
Batter Up! Baseball, soundtrack of summer, is back - sort of
Major League Baseball is ready to start its most bizarre season ever
1:01PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Pa. won't allow Blue Jays to play at Pittsburgh's PNC Park
The state of Pennsylvania won't allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh amid the coronavirus pandemic
8:39PM ( 22 hours ago )
MLB returns ball kids to lines after feedback from clubs
It looks as if Christian Yelich is going to get some help
8:01PM ( 23 hours ago )
Betts gets $365M, 12-year deal with Dodgers through 2032
Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers struck baseball’s first big-money deal since the coronavirus pandemic decimated the sport’s economics, a $365 million contract through 2032 that removes the top offensive player from next offseason’s free-agent class
6:36PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Strasburg gets feel for pitching on the road in a pandemic
With all the protocols in place, Stephen Strasburg got a good feel for what pitching on the road will entail this season during the coronavirus pandemic
12:56AM ( 2 days ago )
Marlins' Rojas says team is poised to make big progress
Miami Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas believes his team has a chance to be good for the first time in several years
10:53PM ( 2 days ago )
No Canada: Blue Jays barred from playing games in Toronto
The Blue Jays won’t play their home games in Toronto this year because Canada’s government doesn’t think it’s safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic
10:52PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Richy Werenski leads 3M Open; Dustin Johnson WDs after 78
Richy Werenski made a short birdie putt on the par-5 18th for an 8-under 63 and the first-round lead Thursday in the 3M Open, while Dustin Johnson withdrew because of a back injury after a 78
6:45PM ( 19 minutes ago )
If college football is played, will bowls be salvaged, too?
College football leaders are in the process of piecing together plans to attempt to play a regular season during the COVID-19 pandemic
6:41PM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Washington state tightens rules on indoor venues
Washington's governor is tightening restrictions throughout the state in restaurants and bars, for weddings and funerals, and at gyms in a further effort to stem a surge in coronavirus infections
6:41PM ( 23 minutes ago )
White House drops payroll tax cut after GOP allies object
President Donald Trump on Thursday reluctantly dropped his bid to cut Social Security payroll taxes as Republicans stumbled anew in their efforts to unite around a $1 trillion COVID-19 rescue package
6:32PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Surge of federal agents leaves many questions unanswered
President Donald Trump offered few details when he announced this week that the government will dispatch hundreds of extra federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to fight violent crime
6:30PM ( 33 minutes ago )