The Toronto Blue Jays could join the Dodgers at the proposed spring training complex in Fort McDowell, Ariz.
Besides a stadium and six practice diamonds for the Dodgers, plans call for six more practice fields to accommodate a second team that would share the stadium. The Blue Jays are interested, Toronto General Manager Gord Ash recently told Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone.
“I did mention to Kevin that, if they were looking for a partner, our lease is up [at Dunedin, Fla.] and we’re looking,” Ash said.
The Fort McDowell complex could be completed for the spring of 2001. The Blue Jays’ lease at their current spring home in Dunedin extends through 2000, and the city might not be able to satisfy the team’s desire to consolidate a stadium and practice fields on one site.
The Blue Jays have trained in Dunedin since their inception in 1977, in part because eastern Canadians often drove to--and practically colonized--parts of Florida during the winter. But the United States and Canada agreed in 1995 to lift flight restrictions between the countries, and nine airlines now fly between Toronto and Phoenix. Ash believes Canadians hungry for baseball would follow the Blue Jays to Arizona if the team joined the Cactus League.
“The way flight service is now, that’s not really an issue,” Ash said.