Opening Day for MLB and Changes to the Season

Quinn Warmkessel

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On April 1st, 2021, the MLB kicked off their opening day games. 26 of the 30 teams set out to play, while the other 4 teams were off the schedule due to COVID 19 protocol.  The games that weren’t played on April 1st were the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Boston Red Sox. And the New York Mets vs. the Washington Nationals.  

The season kicked off with fans returning to stadiums for the first time since the 2019 MLB season, however one team had a whole other step in their mind.  Fans were returning to the stadiums in small capacities, but the Texas Rangers had a full house on April 1st.  The team allowed 100% capacity in Globe Life Field, the only team in sports to do something like this since the pandemic has begun.  

Even with fans returning to the games, all is still not normal in the world of MLB baseball.  The teams were informed they were able to bring more players than usual on road games, called the “taxi squad.”  They are now allowed to bring up to five non-roster players on road trips with them due to high risk of COVID 19 and injury status, which means they are trying their best to get as many of the games completed as they possibly can, so having extra players to fall back on will avoid cancellations and postponements. 

Opening day was strange the way that it is, with different protocols, standards, and testing, but to top it all off, the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians had a snowy start to their season.  With downpouring snow the Tigers and Indians took the field to begin their season, where Miguel Cabrera hit the first home run of the 21’ season, IN THE SNOW!!  

Among other rules, the rule that was created in the 2020 season still stands where double headers will be 7 innings rather than 9 to limit time playing in the stadium. To build off of the rule which limits time in the stadium, another rule that still stands is that when the game has reached extra innings, there will be a runner placed on second base every half inning to try and finish the game swiftly. These rules are implemented to get the games in and get them done in a timely manner.  

Even though the rules have changed, fans are limited, and teams are extended, the 162 game schedule for the MLB is back to normal. The league is trying to remain on their 162 game schedule to get the real feel of the season back, after the season last year was cut tremendously short with a 4 month delay and only having 60 games. The MLB is doing everything in their power to bring back the tremendous feel of America’s national pastime.

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