You can take the Blue Jays out of Toronto, but you can't keep the fans away. Crowds of U.S. fans were caught trying to catch a peek of the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo playing at their new “home” stadium on August 11. And the mayor of the New York city isn't too happy about it.
The Jays took on the Miami Marlins on Tuesday evening in their first "home" game of the season at the newly-decorated Sahlen Field.
And while Canadian fans can't travel over the border right now, a group of hardy American supporters started to gather in the areas surrounding the stadium, including on the side of I-190, to try and watch a snippet of the action.
The spectators stood on a “grassy spot near the I-190,” which sees “hundreds of vehicles whizzing by,” Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, per The Buffalo News.
Byron is urging people to watch the games from the comfort and safety of their homes. The only "spectators" allowed, apart from staff of either team, are the Blue Jays' cardboard cutouts.
"[The MLB] and the State of New York have put protocols in place to ensure people's health and safety to make sure that coronavirus doesn't spread in our community. We don't want people congregating on the 190," Brown said.
“Those aren’t hitchhikers, folks, they’re baseball fans.” 😂 https://t.co/WdNe3vzM0Z— Blue Jays in Buffalo (@Blue Jays in Buffalo)1597186043.0
Photos posted to social media show fans standing on the barriers on the side of the interstate. It doesn't exactly look liek the safest vantage point, to be fair.
So it's no wonder the cops showed up.
Tweets from Buffalo radio host Brian Koziol detailed the moment when police arrived to disperse the gathering of fans.
A Buffalo Police car pulled over near the ramp where fans have congregated. They have pulled away since. Fans remai… https://t.co/lrygFv4BMp— Brian Koziol (@Brian Koziol)1597188256.0
Apparently, the police had to make more than one appearance to send the die-hard Blue Jays fans packing. They didn't issue any tickets or warnings, and Koziel estimates there were up to 40 people watching for around four innings.
However, Buffalo city officials have made it clear they do not want this happening again.
Buffalo Police have returned https://t.co/E1naFRLeww— Brian Koziol (@Brian Koziol)1597189058.0
"Our goal is not to criminalize enthusiastic Buffalo baseball fans," Mayor Brown added. "Our goal is to keep people safe and hopefully we won't see a repeat of that."
Buffalo Bison officials had blocked off three areas ahead of opening the stadium to the Blue Jays.
They restricted the grassy area beyond centre field, just below an on-ramp to the I-190 North, as well as a spot on the Oak Street sidewalk behind the stadium and the Washington Street parking ramp beyond the right field fence.
Looks like you missed a spot, Bisons!