Among the countless ways the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted American life in 2020, the Major League Baseball season’s cadence — by which many fans measure their summer — was thrown out of rhythm. A shortened 60-game sprint without fans in the seats began in late July, and a mere three months later, the L.A. Dodgers had won their first World Series since 1988.
In 2021, baseball might become the yardstick by which we measure a return to “normal.” Teams will play a full 162-game marathon schedule. Ballparks will have limited attendance at first, but may allow fans in greater numbers as conditions improve. Perhaps by late October, a full-capacity crowd of the fortunate will witness their team triumph in the Fall Classic.
• The first pitch of the regular season is thrown on April 1, and all 30 clubs will start on the same day for the first time since 1968. Notes and highlights for the season include:
• Due to travel restrictions, the Toronto Blue Jays will open their season with TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, serving as their home field.
• MLB observes Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, and all players wear No. 42 in honor of the pioneering baseball great.
• June 2 is Lou Gehrig Day to honor and celebrate the legacy of the Hall of Fame first baseman and raise awareness and funds to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
• The 2021 MLB All-Star Game at Truist Park in Atlanta is July 13 on FOX.
• The Chicago White Sox and N.Y. Yankees will play in the “MLB at Field of Dreams” game Aug. 12 on FOX. Held on land near where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed, it will be the first MLB game played in Iowa.
• The Cleveland Indians and the L.A. Angels play in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Aug. 22 on ESPN.
• The Yankees and Mets will play at New York’s Citi Field Sept. 11 on FOX, marking 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
• The last day of the regular season is Oct. 3, with 12 divisional games on the schedule.
• It’s the final season with Cleveland’s team competing as the Indians. The team will replace its nickname and logo beginning in 2022.
MLB Opening Day on ESPN
Toronto Blue Jays at N.Y. Yankees, 1pm
L.A. Dodgers at Colorado Rockies, 4pm
N.Y. Mets at Washington Nationals (postponed)
Houston Astros at Oakland A’s, 10pm