Could A Minor League Stadium Host The Blue Jays In 2020?
As the Toronto Blue Jays search for somewhere to play the 2020 season, minor league parks hoping to host the team are at a distinct disadvantage.
Minor League Baseball informed Baseball America on Monday that no current minor league park meets the current Major League Baseball standard for stadium lighting. MLB has built lighting to meet its standards before—such as in the temporary stadium for the game between the Braves and Marlins at Fort Bragg, N.C. in 2016—but any such upgrade to a minor league stadium would need to be completed by July 29, the date of the Blue Jays’ scheduled home opener.
While minor league sites such as the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo and their high Class A affiliate in Dunedin, Fla., have been mentioned as possible homes for the Blue Jays this season, the lack of MLB-quality lighting and the short window to upgrade the lighting at those sites would make such a move difficult.
Shortly after BA reported that no minor league stadium meets MLB’s lighting standards, Pirates team president Travis Williams issued a statement confirming the Pirates have begun negotiations with the Blue Jays to host the team at PNC Park for the upcoming season. The Rays’ Tropicana Field, in St. Petersburg, Fla., has also been reported as a possibility.
Sharing with another MLB team, which would not require MLB to upgrade stadium lighting at a minor league park in nine days, appears the most likely of the Blue Jays’ options.
One non-major league park that would not require a lighting upgrade is TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, home of the College World Series. However, with MLB attempting to limit travel as much as possible, putting the Blue Jays in Omaha to play teams from the AL and NL East is not logistically optimal. The same is true for Globe Life Park, in Arlington, Texas, the Rangers’ former home that is no longer in use.