The Vancouver Canadians will call America home this season, at least to start.
The Canadians will play home games in Hillsboro, Oregon, to start the 2021 season, as a closed border gave them no choice but to move south of the border as the lone non-American team in their league.
Baseball season is starting earlier than usual for the Canadians this season, as they have moved up to a newly formed High-A West league. The C’s are scheduled to begin the season on May 4, which is over a month earlier than they used to start as a Short-Season Single-A team in the Northwest League.
The last regular-season game on the schedule is September 19, at which point the Canadians hope they’ll be playing at Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium again. The goal is to get back to the Nat with fans in attendance even sooner, provided it is safe to do so.
“The Vancouver Canadians Baseball Club is still hopeful to open our gates at Nat Bailey Stadium to welcome our great fans back to the ballpark in 2021,” the team said in a media release.
“The health and safety of our fans, players, and staff continues to be our top priority. As an organization, we are working through plans to execute a safe return to Nat Bailey Stadium in addition to providing an alternative option for the games to be played. We are committed to sharing any updates with our fans as they become available.”
While still affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, the caliber of baseball will be better, and their season will be longer, up from 76 games to 132 in a normal year. The Canadians played zero games last year, as the pandemic wiped out every minor league baseball league’s schedule.
A number of Canadian professional sports teams have had to relocate to the United States during the pandemic for the same reason. The Toronto Blue Jays played last season in Buffalo and will play out of their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, this year.