MLB: Politics trumps baseball for Phillies-Blue Jays
NEW YORK — Global politics has upstaged baseball in Toronto.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced Tuesday that the Phillies-Blue Jays series will be played in Philadelphia because of the G20 Summit.
The three-game series June 25-27 will be relocated from Toronto's Rogers Centre to Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park because of security issues for the G20 Summit. World leaders will gather at a convention center near the Toronto ballpark.
"After reviewing all of the options with the parties and taking all of the security considerations into account, it was determined that the best course of action is to play the series in Philadelphia," Selig said in a statement.
The game would have been ace Roy Halladay's first return visit after he was traded to the Phillies in the offseason. It's the lone interleague matchup between the clubs this season.
The rescheduled games will be considered home games of the Blue Jays, who will bat last, and the DH will be used.
"I think it's pretty good. It's all right," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before Philadelphia faced Colorado on Tuesday night.
Jays president Paul Beeston said in a statement it was an "extremely difficult decision" to move the three games.
"By moving our games to Philadelphia, we are acting in the best interests of our fans, our employees, the players and the game of baseball," he said. "We did not want to move the games but in looking at the realities of this situation, we felt that relocation was the most prudent course of action."
The series was expected to be one of Toronto's biggest draws of the season. All ticket holders will receive a full refund on their tickets as well as one free ticket voucher for each ticket refunded for any upcoming home game this season, the team said.
The G20 summit will be held June 26-27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The stadium falls within an "outer security zone" surrounding the convention center, which means that fan access to the stadium would have been detoured around secure areas.
Officials have said the summit will provide greater security challenges than the Vancouver Olympics. Toronto's downtown area is expected to be flooded with police and other security officials.
Residents and those working in the area will have to register for access to their homes and businesses during the summit. The heightened security will begin two weeks before the event.