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Blue Jays strike out in bid to have home games played in Toronto – Toronto Sun

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One strike and Toronto is out as a home for the Blue Jays in the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that the government has rejected the Jays return to play proposal, denying the club the opportunity to have 30 home games hosted at the Rogers Centre.

“Unlike preseason training, regular season games would require repeated cross-border travel of Blue Jays players and staff, as well as opponent teams into and out of Canada,” Mendicino said in a statement revealed by the Associated Press. “Of particular concern, the Toronto Blue Jays would be required to play in locations where the risk of virus transmission remains high.”

The Jays had previously received clearance from the Ontario provincial government and the City of Toronto but the feds have the final say on border issues.

“Based on the best-available public health advice, we have concluded the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians’ health and safety,” Mendicino said. “As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”

The Jays had put together an exhaustive protocol plan that went above and beyond MLB’s thorough guidelines but ultimately the federal government denied the press.

The frontrunner for 30 home games remains Sahlen Field in Buffalo, home of the Jays triple A affiliate Bisons.

The announcement comes less than a week before the Jays begin the 2020 season next Friday against Tampa Bay. The home opener, wherever that will be, is scheduled for July 29.

Previously, the team had been granted permission from the feds to conduct training camp at the Rogers Centre where it has been for the past two weeks. The Jays players and staff have been quarantined in the Marriott Hotel attached to the Rogers Centre.

While disappointed with the decision, Jays president Mark Shapiro said the team is accepting of the government’s decision.
“From the onset of discussions with league and government officials, the safety of the broader community – our fans – and the team remained the priority of everyone involved, and with that, the club completely respects the federal government’s decision,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Though our team will not be playing home games at Rogers Centre this summer, our players will take the field for the 2020 season with the same pride and passion representative of an entire nation.

“We cannot wait until the day comes that we can play in front of our fans again on Canadian soil.”

Shapiro added that the team is in the process of finalizing the best home location for the remainder of the 2020 season and will share an update as soon as it is available.

As a long shot glimmer of hope, the federal government did not completely shut the door on baseball being played here in 2020. Mendicino said his department will revisit the Jays’ request should the team make the playoffs in the shortened 60-game season.

“We remain open to considering future restart plans for the post-season should the risk of virus transmission diminish,” Mendicino said.

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Lions fire Matt Patricia, GM Bob Quinn – theScore

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The Detroit Lions fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday, the team announced.

Patricia is the third NFL head coach to be fired this season. The Houston Texans parted ways with Bill O’Brien and the Atlanta Falcons cut ties with Dan Quinn earlier in the year.

Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as interim head coach, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Patricia and Quinn entered the season firmly on the hot seat, as Lions ownership said the team must be a playoff contender for their jobs to be saved. However, a blowout loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving pushed Detroit to 4-7 and ended any remaining postseason hopes.

Patricia finishes his time in Detroit with a 13-29-1 record and no playoff appearances.

The former New England Patriots defensive coordinator was hired in the 2018 offseason.

Detroit won 36 games in the four seasons prior under Jim Caldwell but struggled against winning teams and was bounced immediately in two playoff appearances (2014, 2016).

Quinn, who also used to work for the Patriots as an executive, was hired as general manager in 2016.

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SIMMONS: Rogers needs to spend on ball team not ballpark – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

ssimmons@postmedia.com
twitter.com/simmonssteve

IBAKA COULD HAVE STAYED WITH RAPTORS, HE CHOSE NOT TO

“How to explain what Toronto, Canada, and the Raptors mean to me?

“I was welcomed to a new country and a new team more than three years ago and I felt at home from day one. I feel really blessed to have played for this city, these fans, and this organization.”

That was Serge Ibaka’s emotional goodbye to the city. It was also pretty much social-media, agent-driven packaged bunk.

Ibaka had a choice to make about his NBA career. He was a free agent, had earned that right, and the key word being free. From that, you can decide what you, as a player, want to do and where you want to play and if there’s more than one offer, and there was in this case, then the decision gets a little more complicated.

Let’s be clear here: For all Ibaka loved Toronto, Canada and the Raptors, and how much it apparently tore him apart to leave, the first opportunity he had, he left. He signed on with the Los Angeles Clippers. With Kawhi Leonard. He was championship chasing here, not unusual in the NBA, and in this case it’s championship chasing and getting the opportunity to live in LA.

Serge Ibaka could have stayed and played with the Raptors at least one more season, maybe more. He made a decision in his best interest. It was his choice to leave.

TORONTO DESERVES NEW BALLPARK. MAYBE JUST NOT NOW

In downtown Pittsburgh, hardly the economic centre of the U.S., there is one of the great ballparks in all of America.

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Lions fire head coach Patricia, GM Quinn – TSN

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The Detroit Lions are making a change at head coach and general manager.

The team announced the firing of head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday, two day after his team fell 41-25 to the Houston Texans.

Patricia’s tenure with the team concludes midway through his third season at the helm of the Lions. With the team currently sitting at 4-7, Patricia finishes with a 13-29-1 record over the three seasons.

Patricia’s Lions teams did not make the playoffs in his first two seasons.

The 46-year-old Sherrill, NY native succeeded Jim Caldwell, who led the Lions to the playoffs twice in four seasons becoming the first Lions coach to reach the postseason on multiple occasions since Bobby Ross in 1999.

Prior to joining the Lions, Patricia spent over a decade as a coach under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. Starting as an offensive assistant in 2004, Patricia worked his way up to defensive coordinator, a role he spent six seasons in from 2012 to 2017. With the Pats, Patricia won three Super Bowl titles.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as the Lions’ interim head coach, according to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The team returns to action on Dec. 6 when they visit the Chicago Bears.

Patricia becomes the second NFL coached fired in season in 2020. The Texans fired Bill O’Brien after an 0-4 start in October.

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