The Toronto Blue Jays are heading back to the nest.
The team returns to Rogers Centre July 30, where they will play in front of a hometown crowd for the first time since 2019 after the pandemic forced the Blue Jays into temporary accommodations due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada.
“No place like home,” the team said in a tweet when announcing its return back north of the border.
Major League Baseball’s only Canadian team played at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY, for the truncated 2020 season, and played the first part of the 2021 season in Dunedin, Florida, before heading back to Buffalo on June 1.
Canada has not yet lifted a ban on non-essential travel with the United States, but the team said in a press release that it was granted a “National Interest Exemption” from the Canadian federal government, which will allow MLB teams to play in Toronto.
“The Blue Jays wish to thank Canadians for their unprecedented public health efforts and support for the team,” the club said in a statement. “Without you, Blue Jays baseball would not be coming home this summer.”
The franchise said it would have “robust health and safety protocols in place” at the ballpark, but it was not immediately clear how many fans would be allowed to attend.
Toronto faces off against the Kansas City Royals at home on July 30 where they are considered the third-best favorites to win the American League East as they try to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
All the while, the New York Yankees — originally considered the clear-cut favorites to walk through this division — languish near the bottom of the standings.
Here is how the AL East odds look with Toronto heading back to familiar territory, courtesy of FanDuel:
2021 AL East odds
- Boston Red Sox: -115
- Tampa Bay Rays: +155
- Toronto Blue Jays: +800
- New York Yankees: +1000
- Baltimore Orioles: +50000