After the entire Triple-A season was canceled in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league had plans to play a full season in 2021, starting on April 6.
It was announced on Tuesday evening, however, that the start of the Triple-A season would be pushed back nearly a month to the first week of May, which is around the same time that the Double-A, High-A, and Low-A seasons are scheduled to begin, as outlined and first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
As Passan details, the league sent out a memo to all teams on Tuesday evening to announce the delayed start, which will once again give MLB teams the chance to operate an alternate site, as they did last season. In 2020, the Mets ran their alternative site out of MCU Park in Brooklyn, while the Yankees operated their alternative site at PNC Field, the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
The alternate sites will give players the chance to continue team-operated baseball activities while keeping players local in case of any potential positive virus cases among the big-league club.
"This is a prudent step to complete the major league and minor league seasons as safely as possible, and we look forward to having fans back in ballparks across the country very soon," MLB executive VP of baseball operations Morgan Sword said in a statement, via ESPN.
Passan also notes that the “swift pace of vaccination across the country has heartened league and team officials,” which has helped lead to “increased optimism about baseball's prospects for playing a full season with limited issues.”
But when it comes to the start of the Major League season, Passan reports that this news will have no effect on the big-league schedule, with 15 games slated for April 1.
The Mets are scheduled to play in Washington against the Nationals that night at 7:09 p.m., while the Yankees get things started with a 1:05 matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx.