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Blue Jays decide to play home games in Buffalo, passing on Hartford – The Collinsville Press
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Blue Jays decide to play home games in Buffalo, passing on Hartford

The city of Hartford skyline is visible from Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

HARTFORD, July 24, 2020 – There will be no major league baseball in Hartford this summer. The homeless Toronto Blue Jays announced on Friday that they will be playing their home games during this COVID-19 shortened season in Buffalo.

The Blue Jays’ Triple A affiliate plays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. The Blue Jays will play a majority of their 30 home games in Buffalo.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont reached out to the Blue Jays this week and proposed that the team should consider playing in Hartford at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the home of the Hartford Yard Goats, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

Tim Restall, president of the Yard Goats, was on board. “The Yard Goats would be honored to host the Toronto Blue Jays, if given the opportunity,” Restall said in a statement on Thursday.

The Canadian government didn’t give Toronto permission to play home games at the Rogers Center in Toronto, citing concerns with COVID-19, which is raging throughout the United States. The Blue Jays are the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball.

The Blue Jays tried to make an agreement to play home games in Pittsburgh but health officials in Pennsylvania rejected the deal due to COVID-19 concerns in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Toronto was negotiating with the Baltimore Orioles to play at Camden Yards but had yet to secure permission from Maryland health officials. With the season beginning tonight for the Blue Jays and the first home game set for next Wednesday, the Blue Jays decided to play in Buffalo.

Toronto was hesitant to play in Buffalo because reports were that the stadium was not up to major league standards. But with the season underway, the Blue Jays wanted to end the uncertainty of where they would play their home games.

Hartford was a long shot from the beginning but Dunkin’ Donuts Park has received rave reviews since it opened in 2017. And since the minor league baseball season was cancelled in June, it was available.

The Yard Goats were pleased to be part of the bid.

“We are proud to have been considered as a host for the Blue Jays in Hartford,” the team said in a statement on Twitter. “The Yard Goats would like to thank Governor Ned Lamont and (Hartford Mayor) Luke Bronin for their quick action and hard work in putting together a plan that could have safely allowed MLB to be played in Hartford this summer.”

There has been major league baseball played in the capital city. The Hartford Dark Blues were charter members of the National League and played one season in Hartford in 1876.

The team was owned by Morgan G. Bulkeley, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937 for his role as the first president of the National League. Bulkeley was a four-term mayor of Hartford, was twice elected governor of Connecticut and later served as a U.S. Senator from 1905-11.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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