Phillies may play in Pittsburgh this month … vs. Blue Jays
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies could play in the Pirates’ PNC Park this season after all
When the revised 2020 Philadelphia Phillies schedule was released, a glaring noticed difference is that they will play only teams in the National League East and American League East.
Therefore, the Phillies would not play National League teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, nor Los Angeles Dodgers, unless they meet later on in the postseason. With the Phillies not playing their Pennsylvania state rivals in the Pirates, in particular, it breaks up their continuous matchups dating back to 1887.
There is now a chance, however, the Phillies could still play regular season games in Pittsburgh during the 60-game sprint, albeit against a different team … from the American League East.
With the Toronto Blue Jays not allowed to play at the Rogers Centre — per the Canadian federal government due to cross-border travel risks — they are looking for a new venue to play their30 home games this year. While their Triple-A venue in Buffalo and their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, are options, the Blue Jays are also reportedly looking into using PNC Park, the home of the Pirates, according to Sportsnet.
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There are several pros and cons as to where the Blue Jays could end up playing. An overwhelming con is that the venues are not major-league ready, such as with lighting, nor have sufficient space to properly space out amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With less than a week until the season gets underway, time is quickly running out, and the Blue Jays may opt to use PNC Park, according to Sportsnet, knowing that surely is major-league ready.
Blue Jays players, including outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and reliever Anthony Bass, appear to be in favor of playing in Pittsburgh, or any major-league facility, as it would give the best chance to succeed.
Hernandez said he would like to go to a major-league field, and that he does not care where, adding: “I just want go and play, do my job, and try to do things to help the team.”
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With COVID-19 cases in Florida on the rise, Bass would prefer the team not choosing to play at their Florida spring training home.
“We don’t want to be in a place where it’s a hot spot,” Bass said. “We want to be where it’s safe, a place in the United States where cases are going down or are already low.”
According to Sportsnet, PNC Park’s Allegheny County has more than 6,2000 total reported COVID-19 cases. Their FlorIda spring training venue’s Pinellas County, meanwhile, has had more than 13,400 reported cases, with more than 2,400 of them coming in just the last week.
The Phillies are scheduled to play three road games against the Blue Jays, July 31 through August 2.