The Cleveland Indians and the Pittsburgh Pirates play an exhibition baseball game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Cleveland Indians and the Pittsburgh Pirates play an exhibition baseball game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

UPDATE: Pennsylvania won’t allow Toronto Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh

Canada already denied Jays’ request to play 2020 MLB home games Toronto

TORONTO – The state of Pennsylvania won’t allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh amid the coronavirus pandemic, health officials announced Wednesday, becoming the latest jurisdiction to say no to the team as the baseball season begins this week.

Canada already denied the Blue Jays’ request to play in Toronto because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging.

The Blue Jays and Pirates had been waiting to see if they got permission from the state to proceed with the plan to have PNC Park fill in for the Rogers Centre.

“In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania,” Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s secretary of health, said in a statement. “To add travellers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams. We know that this virus does not discriminate, and can even make professional athletes very sick. We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.”

READ MORE: Blue Jays can’t play home games in Toronto after federal government rebuffs plan

Canada has flattened the epidemic curve. But the number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus reported daily by Allegheny County which includes Pittsburgh and 1.2 million residents – has increased tenfold in the last two weeks, compared with the two weeks in June before what officials there called an alarming spike in cases.

Health officials have blamed the spread primarily on bars and restaurants that were ignoring social-distancing orders, as well as residents returning from travel to virus hot spots. To clamp down on the spread, health officials have issued a cascade of orders shutting down bars and restaurants, curtailing dine-in service and recommending that people returning from certain states self-isolate at home for 14 days.

The agreement to share the stadium with the Pirates was pending state approval, according to two officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity earlier Wednesday because they were not authorized to speak ahead of the government decision.

Pirates President Travis Williams previously confirmed the talks to host the Blue Jays and sounded ready to welcome them if it could be done safely. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said he was excited about the PNC Park option and Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he would have no problem with the Blue Jays moving in.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said this week his team has more than five contingency plans for a home stadium and was in talks with other teams. He declined to name them.

Atkins said if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games. But based on what the players want and the collaboration they are getting from other teams and Major League Baseball, Atkins said the Blue Jays are focused on major league parks, as long as they can be safe. He said health and safety is the priority, so the ability to be socially distant without comprising other teams’ ability to maintain socially distance is important.

Toronto begins the season at Tampa Bay on Friday and is scheduled to play its first home game on July 29 against defending champion Washington. The players have said they strongly prefer to play in a major league park.

The team had been considering playing home games at its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but that is among the states that are virus hot spots.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

MLBToronto

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

The Piper Computer, a build-your-own-computer, is one of the kits available for loan at the Creston Public Library. Photo: Aaron Hemens
At-home, STEM-based learning kits available for loan at Creston Public Library

There are over a dozen learning kits available to borrow, which includes a build-your-own computer kit, circuit board kits, robot kits, a drone and more.

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Most Read