Saturday, the Canadian federal government ruled that the Toronto Blue Jays can’t play regular-season home games at Rogers Centre in their home city, or anywhere else in the country.
The franchise had cleared local hurdles for permission, but was rebuffed at the national level because of concerns about spread of the coronavirus that’s still growing in the U.S.
Obviously, if permission had been received for Toronto, the Blue Jays’ players and staff would be crossing the border often to play out their schedule. And teams from the AL East and NL East would be visiting for every Jays’ home game.
Officials were reportedly most concerned about series involving opponents from Florida. Toronto will play three series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, and two quick inter-league sets with the Miami Marlins.
Toronto vs. Florida Teams
July 24-26: at Tampa Bay
Aug. 11-12: vs. Miami
Aug. 14-16: vs. Tampa Bay
Aug. 21-24 at Tampa Bay
Sept. 1-2: at Miami
Toronto also has a road series scheduled in Atlanta against the Braves Aug. 4-6. Georgia has recently been absorbed by the Florida epicenter. The state reported an all-time one-day record of 4,689 new confirmed cases Saturday. That was its sixth straight day over 3.3K. Florida reported 10,328 new cases Saturday, the eighth time in the last nine days it cleared 10K.
Canada is by no means rid of the virus. But it’s played much better defense against spread and saturation than the United States. Totals from the last seven days tell that story:
Confirmed Cases Last Seven Days
In the past week, Florida and Georgia’s corner of the southeast had 40 TIMES more cases than all of Canada from Newfoundland and Labrador across through British Columbia.
Buffalo, N.Y. (site of Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate) and Dunedin, Fla. (site of Toronto’s spring training facility) are both under consideration as new home sites. Buffalo’s Sahlen Field needs multiple upgrades, but provides a more comfortable summer climate, proximity to home, and shorter trips to visit the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Nationals, and Phillies. Dunedin is more season-ready, but sits in a covid hot spot.
ROUND 3 OF GROUP PLAY BEGINS SUNDAY IN MLS TOURNAMENT
Though it’s a bit messy because of early postponements, “Round 3” of group play in the “MLS is Back” tournament begins Sunday night. The Group-B-leading San Jose Earthquakes and pre-tourney group favorite Seattle Sounders are playing their third and final games. Chicago and Vancouver won’t play each other until Wednesday, July 23 because of scheduling adjustments after Dallas and Nashville were forced to withdraw.
Group B Standings
San Jose: 4 points (1-0-1)
Chicago: 3 points (1-0-0)
Seattle: 1 point (0-1-1)
Vancouver: 0 points (0-1-0)
San Jose vs. Chicago kicks off Sunday night’s doubleheader. The winner coasts into the knockout round. A draw could be enough to send both teams because four of six third-place finishers will ultimately advance.
Seattle is obviously in a must-win spot after failing to earn a victory as goal-line favorites in its first two outings. Starting times are Eastern.
Chicago vs. San Jose (8 p.m., FS1)
: Chicago plus 137, San Jose plus 166, draw plus 271
: Chicago pick-em (-123), San Jose (even)
: 3 goals (Over -101, Under -120)
Seattle vs. Vancouver (10:30 p.m., FS1)
: Seattle -161, Vancouver plus 412, draw plus 321
: Seattle -1 goal (plus 103), Vancouver plus 1 goal (-127)
: 2.75 goals (Over -105, Under -116)
We promised as the tournament began that we’d try to build a goal-supremacy scale that would estimate “market” power ratings heading into the knockouts. Based on odds so far in Group B, we’d guess team perceptions at Seattle 2.3, Chicago 2.0, San Jose 1.9, and Vancouver 1.4. That would mean Chicago would be slightly more than a half-goal favorite over Vancouver later this week and that Seattle would be a threat to go deep in the knockouts if it can get there.
Other Stories of Interest
*Korean study shows older kids spread covid as much as adults (NY Times)
*Kentucky football team tied to 36 corona virus cases (Sportsnaut)
*Covid-19 may cause male infertility (NY Post)
*Braves Freddie Freeman had 104.5 fever, prayed for life (ESPN)