The 2020 Major League Baseball season has begun with a markedly shortened schedule, trying to adjust to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are more adjustments that must be made as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As social distancing is a requirement, there will be no fans at MLB games. This is a major look at human geography. Baseball is ingrained in American culture. However, medical geography suggests that the cultural geography will have to make adjustments.
Another major adjustment in cultural geography involves the Buffalo Blue Jays? Okay, it’s not the Buffalo Blue Jays. It’s the Toronto Blue Jays. The Toronto Blue Jays will be playing in Buffalo, New York for the 2020 MLB season. The reason for this has to do with Canada’s own policies towards Covid-19.
Baseball is America’s past time, and it’s played by many Americans. However, this does not limit Major League Baseball to the United States of America. The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s team, particularly with the Montreal Expos exiting Quebec for Washington DC and becoming the Washington Nationals. Canada has MLB too.
One of the responses to Covid-19 is to restrict travel. International travel to Canada is heavily restricted. The Canadian government has denied the Blue Jays permission to travel between Canada and the USA due to fear of spreading Covid-19. The Toronto Blue Jays will not play in Toronto, Canada for the 2020 season. Instead, the Blue Jays will play at Sahlen Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons, the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
In some ways, this is very fitting. Buffalo is on the border with Canada. The Blue Jays will be playing their home games in the city where one of their minor league affiliates play. And with minor league baseball cancelled for 2020, the Blue Jays will have Sahlen Field to themselves, for 2020 anyway. Buffalo is close to 99 miles from Toronto by car. The Blue Jays will, for the time being, play outside of their home city and country, but will be somewhat close by. It will be the first time that Major League Baseball has played several home games in Buffalo since 1915, when the Federal League existed and the Buffalo Blues were part of it.
Could the presence of the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo play a factor in stoking more Toronto Blue Jays fans in the Greater Buffalo metro region? Well, it’s important to consider this. Buffalo is closer to Toronto than to New York City or Pittsburgh. Finding Blue Jays fans in Buffalo won’t be a hard feat. The growing Blue Jays fan presence is there, mainly due to the AAA team playing in Buffalo. Proximity to Toronto helps too. However, Buffalo is in the state of New York, regardless of how far removed it is from New York City. Given the large scope of the New York Yankees (mostly due to the team’s history), and the Toronto Blue Jays being relative late comers to the MLB (the team has founded in 1977, the year the New York Yankees won their 21st World Championship), there is a strong Yankees fan presence in the region. It leaves alot to wonder in terms of potential.
There are geographic elements in baseball. The quirks that have come with the 2020 MLB Season, in response to Covid-19 have brought them up. The role of the U.S. government vs the Canadian government. The role of travel, medical geography, and and cultural geography.