Major League Baseball announced it has delayed the 2021 Triple-A season by at least four weeks to give players more time to receive the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination prior to joining their clubs.
The postponement will also ensure that players who are eligible to join an MLB team in April can be more closely monitored at an official alternate training site.
As a result, the 2021 Triple-A season has been reduced to 120 games from its original 142-game schedule. Games previously scheduled in April will not be made up, with the exception of two contests that have been rescheduled for July 12-13.
The remainder of the schedule will be played as planned, with the 2021 season concluding on Sept. 21. Triple-A Oklahoma City officially begins play on May 6 with a road game against the Texas Rangers’ affiliate Round Rock Express.
The OKC Dodgers will play their first home game exactly one week later against the San Francisco Giants’ affiliate Sacramento River Cats. In an effort to limit travel, all series between the Dodgers and their opponents will be six games in length.
“It’s disappointing to share this news, but we know this decision was made for the right reasons,” OKC Dodgers president and general Manager Michael Byrnes said of MLB’s decision to delay the 2021 season.
“We are looking forward to using the extra time before Opening Day to make the return to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark all the more special for our fans, while also being hopeful it will allow for more fans to be able to attend games.”
As per the OKC-County Health Department’s health and safety protocols, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark will operate with a reduced capacity to begin the 2021 season.
Even with the delayed start, Oklahoma City will still host nearly a full week of games in early July when they take on the Los Angeles Angels’ affiliate Salt Lake Bees.
The bulk of the Dodgers’ games this season will be against teams in the East Division, including Albuquerque, El Paso (San Diego Padres), Round Rock and Triple-A newcomer Sugar Land (Houston Astros).
Dave Roberts details plans for alternate training site
With the 2021 Triple-A season being postponed by one month, alternate training sites will be necessary for a second consecutive season. Last year the Los Angeles Dodgers sent players who weren’t on the active roster to USC to continue with their development.
However, with the Trojans resuming play this season, USC will no longer be an option for the Dodgers’ alternate training site. “Right now I think Camelback Ranch and Rancho Cucamonga are the two options,” manager Dave Roberts said.
“We’ve still got four or five weeks to ultimately decide, but I think both locations work for us.”
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