To the surprise of few, MLB announced yesterday that the Triple A season, originally scheduled to begin the first week of April, has now been moved back to the beginning of May because of coronavirus concerns.
MLB had originally said that they would make a decision on the status of the AAA openers by March 15th, but moved things up in view of the new arrangements teams will now have to make.
The AAA season has now been cut from 144 games to 120, and will wind up on September 20th.
MLB teams will use Alt Sites once more as they did last year as a holding pen for players not on the 25 man roster, but on the 40 (for the most part). Given that the Blue Jays announced last month that their first two homestands (at least) will be played in Dunedin, it’s likely that the minor league complex will serve as the Toronto alt site for that time. The use of Alt Sites will allow teams to house their players under the same protocols that MLB teams follow.
Last month, it was also announced that AA and A teams will begin their seasons the first week of May. With the Canada/US border still closed by the Canadian federal government, there are concerns that the newly minted High A Vancouver Canadians will not be able to begin their season in B.C. There is still some time and hope that the situation will change in the Blue Jays front office, but there’s little doubt that alternate arrangements are likely being considered. All MLB teams have had to do more than their fair share of scrambling during the pandemic, none more so than the Blue Jays.
The AAA Buffalo Bisons are now slated to open their season at home against the Red Sox’ AAA affiliate Worcester on May 4th. That same day, the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats play Boston’s AA club in Portland, the first of a six-game series. Later that day on the west coast, the High A Canadians visit Tri-City, now an Angels affiliate. The former High A Dunedin Blue Jays will open their Low A season at the Yankees’ Tampa farm club. Last year, the D-Jays won a second half pennant in a crazy hurricane-shortened season , and after being forced out of their home while the former Florida Auto Exchange Stadium was razed in favour of the new TD Ballpark, it appears that they will not be the primary tenant at their new digs at least for the time being. D-Jays staff are still working with the Blue Jays and MLB to come to some sort of arrangement.
If their is a silver lining, it would have to be the pace of vaccinations south of the border (for those that choose to have it, of course).