TORONTO – The Buffalo Bisons are closing in on a plan to play their home games out of Trenton, N.J., to accommodate ongoing renovations at Sahlen Field and the possible arrival of the Toronto Blue Jays later this summer, according to two industry sources.
Details were still being finalized but an announcement could come soon, making the Bisons the latest team to be displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic fallout in an organization with the major-league team temporarily playing out of its spring home, and the single-A Vancouver Canadians set to call Hillsboro, Ore., home.
Trenton had been home to the double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, who moved the club to Somerset during MLB’s minor-league reorganization in the fall. The Thunder since joined the new MLB Draft League showcase circuit slated for a 68-game season.
It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen with the Thunder, but the Bisons were in need of a landing spot amid ongoing renovations for a new, permanent home clubhouse, the transition of the old home clubhouse into a visitor’s clubhouse, moving the bullpens off the field and installing new batting cages.
The changes, in part, were being made because the set up the Blue Jays ran in Buffalo last year can’t be replicated with fans back in the stands. New York State is allowing the Yankees and Mets to operate at 20 per cent capacity.
The Blue Jays had been hoping to move from Dunedin, Fla., where they opened their home schedule Thursday and are slated to play their first three homestands, directly to Toronto.
Now that Ontario is back in lockdown for a third time, that’s highly unlikely, suggesting the club will at minimum make a pit stop in Buffalo. The Blue Jays are reluctant to remain in Dunedin through the intense heat and frequent rain of the Florida summer.