Dodgers Home Opener Gets Boost With Nationals Cleared To Begin Season

Major League Baseball announced the Washington Nationals were approved to play their first game of the 2021 season on Tuesday. They have been in a holding since last week when a player tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

That number eventually grew to four players testing positive, which resulted in MLB cancelling the Nationals’ Opening Series against the New York Mets and postponing Monday’s game with the Atlanta Braves.

In addition to the four players placed in isolation, there were an additional seven and two staff members also in quarantine because of contact tracing. Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo indicated “the majority” of players impacted were on the team’s 26-man active roster.

The Nationals’ latest round of testing did not produce any new positives, and the team’s eligible personnel are participating in baseball activities on Monday to prepare for their first game of the season.

Washington and Atlanta will play a straight doubleheader Wednesday to makeup for the postponed series opener.

The Nationals getting onto the field is notable for the Los Angeles Dodgers and their home opener this week. They are scheduled to face the Nationals on Friday, with first pitch at Dodger Stadium set for 1:10 p.m. PT.

Of course, the afternoon is most notable in that the Dodgers are expected to receive their World Series rings during a pregame ceremony. With conditions improving in L.A. County, the Dodgers at present time are welcoming an estimated 11,000 fans per home game.

MLB incentivizing teams to get vaccinated

As access and eligibility to the COVID vaccine becomes more widespread, MLB recently outlined details of eased health and safety protocols that can be implemented for any team that reaches 85% vaccinated for Tier 1 individuals (players, coaches, and those with direct access to them).

“I’m hopeful we will,” manager Dave Roberts recently responded when asked if there was an expectation the Dodgers would meet the threshold.

“I had mine, so I just like to speak on my personal situation. I had mine a little while ago; one of two. It’s a personal decision, but the more people that get it and if we reach that 85% threshold, we can kind of lax some things around the clubhouse and dugout, so I’m hopeful.

“But again, that’s each man’s decision.”

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