Sports

Blue Jays make Rogers Centre return after 670 days

The Toronto Blue Jays are back in their nest.

The Blue Jays returned to their home turf at the Rogers Centre on Thursday night for the first time in 670 days for a game against the Kansas City Royals. The Jays last played in Toronto on Sept. 29, 2019, when they beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 in the season finale.

Last season, due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions in Canada, the Jays were forced to play out of facilities in Buffalo, N.Y., and Dunedin, Fla. Only recently did the team receive a National Interest Exemption from the Canadian government, paving the way to return home.

Before the game, fans expressed their gratitude, chanting “Let’s go Blue Jays!” The 15,000 fans also rejoiced in “O’Canada” while the Canadian flag blew in the wind in the outfield. The word “home” also appeared in big letters in the infield, welcoming back their favorite ball club.

It wasn’t just the fans who craved their team’s return. Blue Jays players looked forward to finally playing in front of a home crowd as well.

Toronto Blue Jays fans cheer as the team makes their way onto the field for their first home game in Toronto this season
Toronto Blue Jays fans cheer as the team makes their way onto the field for their first home game in Toronto this season.
Getty Images

“I couldn’t be more excited that we’re back — that we get to play in front of you all again. That we get to play for you all again.” Bo Bichette wrote in The Players’ Tribune.

“There’s no place like home, this is awesome — I don’t have any other words,” outfielder George Springer, an offseason free agency signing, said Friday.

It will likely still be some time before the Jays get to experience a full crowd at Rogers Centre. The stadium will only allow one third of its usual capacity, with the upper deck not yet opened to fans. Spectators will also have to sit in socially distanced pods, similar to how stadiums in the US operated at the height of the pandemic.

But, as long as the Blue Jays are back home, no one seems to be complaining.

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