The thirteen teams that did not play at home in the first week of the new season of Major League Baseball, will have the traditional Opening Day in their stadiums during the shortened days of Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday, the New York Mets, who are launching a new owner (Steven Cohen) and shortstop (Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor) host the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Cohen, a longtime fan of the Queens-based team, paid $ 2.4 billion to become majority owner of the franchise and then approved a 10-year, $ 341 million contract extension for Lindor, who was acquired in a trade from the Cleveland Indians.
The troop led by Dominican Luis Rojas lost two of three games to the Philadelphia Phillies after a coronavirus outbreak within the Washington Nationals canceled their inaugural series in the nation’s capital.
On the same National League undercard, the Chicago Cubs visit the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 1 at PNC Park, while new St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado will debut at Busch Stadium, in a clash against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays will play official home games in Florida for the first time in their history, hosting the Los Angeles Angels at the TD BallPark in Dunedin, in the Tampa area.
Due to border restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Canada, the Blue Jays will have to play their home games outside of Toronto for the second year in a row.
In 2020 they did it in Buffalo, New York, home of their Triple A branch, but with the return of the minor leagues this year, they preferred to stay (at least for the first month of the season) in their renovated spring training facilities. in Dunedin.
With attendance limited to 23% of TD BallPark’s capacity (8,500 seats), due to the pandemic, the Blue Jays can only allow about 1,950 fans to their games at their makeshift home.
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The Baltimore Orioles open the new season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards facing the Boston Red Sox, the Minnesota Twins play the first of 81 games at Target Field against the Seattle Mariners, the Chicago White Sox host the Kansas City Royals in Guaranteed Rate Field and the Oakland Athletics visit the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
DODGERS PARTY; RIVALRY OF YANNKES AND RAYS
On Friday it will be the turn of the major league champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, to kick off a big three-day party during the inaugural series at Dodger Stadium against the Nationals.
Before the first game at Chavez Ravine, Dodgers players and coaches will receive the World Series commemorative ring they won last October against the Tampa Bay Rays and the flag for the legendary franchise’s seventh title will be raised at the stadium. the National League.
On Saturday there will be a tribute to the late former manager Tommy LaSorda and Sunday will celebrate the 40th anniversary of “La Fernandomanía” unleashed by Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, when the southpaw won the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards and the team won the championship.
The great rivals of the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, will also have an opening at home, hosting the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park, starting Friday. Another team from the West Division of the old circuit, the Arizona Diamondbacks, will host the hot Cincinnati Reds (5-1 record and race leaders, with 57) at Chase Field.
American League champion Tampa Bay will host his first meeting of the year against his great and hated rivals, the New York Yankees, at Tropicana Field. Last year, Tampa Bay beat New York in the East Division by seven games, basically because it pulverized its rivals 8-2 in the 10 games between them.
Animosity was present in most of their encounters, and many balls hit or passed near the batters. In the Division Series, the Rays eliminated the Yankees in a decisive fifth game.
The rivalry reached its highest peak on September 1, at Yankee Stadium. New York starter Masahiro Tanaka hit Joey Wendle with a pitch in the first inning. Tampa Bay reliever Ryan Thompson blew DJ LeMahieu off the plate in the fifth. In the ninth, Cuban flamethrower Aroldis Chapman pitched a 101 mph pitch over Mike Brosseau’s head, before striking him out with another 100 MPH fastball.
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The night ended with a dispute on the field and in his post-game interview, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said the Yankees were poorly trained and even threatened them.
“It’s poor judgment. Poor training. It’s just poor teaching, what they’re doing and what they’re allowing to do. The twitter from the dugout,” Cash said. “And the last thing I’ll say is I have a damn stable full of guys who shoot 98 miles per hour. Period.”
Finally, the Atlanta Braves will turn on the Truist Park lights for the first time in 2021 to collide with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The beautiful four-year-old park was home to this year’s All-Star Game, but the commissioner’s office decided to move the midseason classic to Coors Field in the Rockies to avoid the fallout from a controversial election law recently passed in the state of Georgia.