Nationals’ 2021 opener selected to be nationally televised originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Nationals are again part of national television on Opening Day.
ESPN announced Thursday it will broadcast the Nationals-Mets season opener at Nationals Park on April 1 at 7 p.m. The game will be part of an Opening Day quadruple-header on the network.
The Nationals were among two nationally-televised games to start the wayward 2020 season. They played the New York Yankees in the premier time slot, only to watch the game be undone by rain, poor performance and the cloud of Juan Soto’s positive coronavirus test.
Of course, Opening Day 2021 is loaded with unknowns. The schedule has been released, though it could be subject to change depending on the state of the pandemic in less than six months. Major League Baseball has to decide if fans will be allowed into stadiums. Commissioner Rob Manfred recently said he wants, and expects, that to happen, but the health protocols of local jurisdictions will again take precedence.
The league is also yet to specify the rules of play for 2021. Manfred added the designated hitter to the National League, an extra-inning rule, a three-batter minimum rule for pitchers and seven-inning doubleheaders for the 2020 season. Three of those were instituted because of the pandemic. They all could go away in 2021. Or not.
Specific to the Nationals, they have a wide open roster, need to decide if April 1 will include any leftover celebrations they did not perform in 2020 after winning the 2019 World Series and are in search of a path to recovering from a last-place finish.
But, yes, the game to start all of that -- should it happen -- will be on national TV.