Saturday, April 17, 2021

O Dunedin: Canada will have to wait to see Blue Jay

It has been 18 months since the Toronto Blue Jas played a game in Canada and it is likely to be many more before the team returns to their home ground at Rogers Center.

So, for now, home to one of the most intriguing teams in the game – one with a combination of young, hungry talent and proven experienced free agent additions – will be a small spring training park in Dunedin, Fla. Coronav precautions may occur. Spontaneity around the United States, but baseball fans in Canada will just have to wait.

Blue Jayce’s general manager, Ross Atkins, said in a recent interview, “Obviously, we can’t wait for the day when we return to Toronto.” “Players understand that this is part of going through an epidemic, and as long as they have what they need to prepare, compete and recover, we will be fine. They are going to be at their home for this short term Excited about it. “

To accommodate regular season play for the first time, the playground in Dunedin has been renovated to follow major league standards. Lighting has been enhanced, as well, flaming LED bulbs and additional light towers have been added for night games.

But this is what will make fans of the team particularly excited, in Canada and elsewhere. All the sons of former major league stars – an emerging part of a team of bright youngsters such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Bigigaro and Bo Bichette, were boosted by the addition of George Springer and Marcus Semen, who signed free agents during the winter . On paper, the Blue Jayes have one of the more formidable lineups in the American League.

Bigorg said, “There’s no room to breathe” “From top to bottom, we have a lot of hitters.”

Toronto committed over $ 186 million for its 2021 free-agent class, $ 150 million, which will go to Springer More than six years into the biggest deal in franchise history. Semian, who scored 33 home runs for athletics in 2019, signed a one-year deal for $ 18 million.

Toronto’s pitching is a bit underrated, but Jace hopes that the addition of Steven Matt, whom he acquired in a trade from the Mets in January, will add much-needed depth behind the staff ace, Hyun-jin Ryu. But with some questions surrounding weapons, energy is still building up for a growing team. Atkins said the group of young and new players had integrated well, and he is happy with the cohesion.

“It feels like a team,” he said, “and not just a pool of talent.”

Springer, 31, and 30-year-old Semien, add leadership and know-how to a Geres lineup that already features Guerrero, who turned 22 this month; Bichette, who turned 23 this month; And Biggio, 25. Last year, that young core pushed the Blue Jays to a 32–28 record, including 17–9 while playing in a minor league park at Buffalo, and losing in the wild-card round of the expanded playoff format. Tampa Bay Rays, eventual American League champions.

“If we stay healthy, we’re going to compete and do really well,” said Blue Jash manager Charlie Montoyo. “Right now, I feel great about our team.”

So is Springer, who has seven home runs in 14 World Series games with the Houston Astro. He said early in spring training that he was struck by the maturity of the young stars of the Blue Jas.

“I think they advanced for their age,” he said. He said, “It is beyond this youth to be in the big leagues and they can do all these things that these people can do.” I was on the other side, and I have seen it. I know it’s early, but I’m very excited. I can see that talent is there. “

Glimpses of last year’s success persuaded Jace to invest by adding established stars as part of a self-reliant strategy to contend with over the years. The expectation is that once the fans are wooed, the club will reach a decisive point where the vast potential of support in Canada will boost the regenerative loop of revenue, talent and success. This is a plan that, in part, comes back home to play in front of the team’s eventually paid fans.

The only problem is that for the second year in a row, the Blue Jams will be baseball nomads, waiting and hoping to return to the Rogers Center for the first time since September 29, 2019.

Former catcher and longtime Blue JS broadcaster Buck Martinez said, “Having a team with so many rising stars and some key agents is disappointing for everyone, and they can’t play at home.” “But the people of Canada are more concerned with the overall wellbeing of the general public, and until we get to a point where we can make sure everyone is safe, the Blue Jays will have to play elsewhere.”

Martinez announced last year’s games from Toronto, while the team played their home games at the Buffalo’s Sahelen ground. This year, Jens will open in Dunedin, which expels itself from a Canadian outpost every spring, sporting red and white maple leaf flags with a hint of pootin at the time of the concession.

The Jems have committed to at least their first two home games, through May 2, and are expected to play in Dunedin at the end of May. If necessary, they could return to Buffalo as an interim move before potentially returning home to victory. The timing will most likely depend on how the team fares in Dunedin, with the weather potentially playing a role.

If the warm and rainy Florida heat is taking a toll, a move to Buffalo, or anywhere else in the United States, may be in this humiliating situation, until some logistical complications arise. Last year, there was no minor league season, but this year there will be some scheduling overlaps to cross with Class AAA Bisons. On those dates, perhaps Bishans could play during the day and jais at night. In addition, Sahalen Fields was updated for Major League play last year, but some remaining issues, such as insufficient lighting and needless bulbul may have to be addressed in the bulldozer.

But the expectation is that before the end of the season, the level of coronovirus infection and vaccination would have reached a point that restrictions on border crossings would be significantly relaxed to allow Blue Jay – and their opponents – to fly back and forth. .

For now, Blue Jash focuses more on health. Springer pulled a oblique muscle at the end of spring training; Robbie Ray bites his elbow when he collapses at his rental house holding his baby, which is said to be fine; And Kirby Yates, who signed during the winter, was lost for the season following elbow surgery.

Still, due to the effort and focus of the players, Manteo called it the best spring in 35 years. Mostly, he is impressed by her growing confidence. When he spoke to the team recently as a group, he said, he did not feel the need to dig up any canned motivational quotes for inspiration.

He believes that players are motivated to make a mark in advance, whether in Dunedin, Buffalo, Toronto, or wherever the season takes them.

“It’s a beautiful thing for a manager to see,” Montoyo said. “They want to win, and they hope to win.”

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