Toronto Blue Jays to play 2021 season in Tampa
The Toronto Blue Jays have announced that they will play the entirety of the upcoming 2021 Major League Baseball season in Tampa, following the lead of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.
“With the ongoing pandemic and the Canadian travel restrictions in place as a result, we just think this is the right thing to do”, said Blue Jays spokesperson Betsy Marbles.
The team will play its entire 162-game schedule, including home and away games, at the old Tampa Greyhound Track, located at 755 E. Waters Avenue, just off I-275. The Raptors are playing their home games at Amalie Arena downtown but travel to other cities for road games. The ban on travel for the Blue Jays was applied by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau because, “I didn’t come up with the idea until the Raptors left or I would have done it to them too. You want to leave The Great White North for the Strip Club and No Mask-Wearin’ Meth Capital of the World? Fine. Enjoy yourselves,”, he said.
The facility, formerly a track hosting greyhound racing, currently offers dining, cocktails, poker and simulcast wagering. It will need to be retrofitted for baseball and special ground rules will be necessary for baseball games played there.
“We haven’t had any racing here since 2007 so I guess the first thing I’ll have to do is mow,” said a man who gave his name as Felix, a maintenance worker at the facility. “I can’t remember the last time we took the tractor out of the shed. I hope it starts.”
Major League Baseball’s rules committee has already said that due to the right field wall being less than 200 feet from home plate, balls hit over it will only count as singles.
Blue Jays second baseman Joe Panik who hit one home run in 120 at bats last season says that particular ground rule shouldn’t affect him much. “Honestly, I should have a great season,” he said.
Other upgrades for the facility will be necessary before the season begins with the Blue Jays facing the New York Yankees on opening day, an afternoon game on Thursday, April 1st.
“Even though we haven’t had dog racing here in over a decade, there are dogs running around all over the place. Mostly former racers whose owners abandoned them and now they’re feral. Some of them have mated with coyotes”, Felix said.
Also, since the grandstand hasn’t been in use since 2007, it’ll need to be checked out before it can be made available to spectators. “Oh yeah, it’s infested with giant spiders. Great big ones. I don’t want to say how big but you can hear them when they walk,” said Felix. “They have also been breeding with the dogs and coyotes for years now. The new hybrid creatures are terrifying. They’re so fast. So very fast.”
“We’ll probably be able to get rid of most of the non-mutated spiders but I’m afraid there’s not much that can be done about the feral dog-coyote-spider monster pups. This is basically their world now. The parking lots are in pretty good shape, though.”
Major League Baseball is aware of the wildlife situation and will incorporate it into the special ground rules as well.
“These quirky little nuances unique to individual ballparks are what make baseball so charming”, said Ms. Marbles.