The Toronto Blue Jays will not be making their home debut at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field until August 11, according to a team press release. The Blue Jays have a five-game homestand scheduled this coming week, the two on July 29-30 against the Washington Nationals will be played at Nationals Park, and today it was announced that the three home games on July 31-August 2 against the Philadelphia Phillies will be played at Citizens Bank Park.
In June 2010, the Blue Jays played a three-game home series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park due to the G20 summit that was held in downtown Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is near the Rogers Centre.
Delaying their first game in Buffalo gives additional time for Sahlen Field to be spruced up for its major league debut. In addition to the need to install brighter lighting, the Blue Jays will have to expand both the home and vising clubhouses to accommodate the larger roster sizes and the need for physical distancing. They may be considering moving some training equipment onto the stadium’s concourses, similar to what is happening at Fenway Park.
The postponement—then cancellation—of the Minor League Baseball season resulted in a number of Bisons stadium staff being furloughed, meaning work will need to be done to get the playing surface up to standards as well. The 2020 Blue Jays are scheduled to play 25 home games in Buffalo.
The Jays are scheduled to return to Citizens Bank Park to play three away games in mid-September. The Phillies have 11 home and 14 road games scheduled for that month, so simply swapping the two series and having the Phillies visit Buffalo in September was likely vetoed fairly early on in the discussions.