Fans will have to wait a little longer for the start of the El Paso Chihuahuas season. After not playing any Triple-A baseball in 2020, the Chihuahuas were set to begin play on April 8.
But that will be delayed until May after Major League Baseball announced that it would reopen alternate training sites after Spring Training. However, some
baseball executives told ESPN that they believe the alternate sites could last even longer into the season, shortening the potential number of Minor League baseball games played in 2021.
MLB said it will try and get its minor leaguers vaccinated before they report to each individual affiliate. This would help ease big league teams concerns that players would be called up to the majors and join their club without a quarantine period.
The alternate sites will most likely be filled with Triple-A players since they will be the first to receive potential callups. The rest of the minor leaguers will be at each team’s spring training facility, since each major league team will have already returned to their home ballpark to prepare for the April 1 Opening Day.
The harsh reality for the Chihuahuas – and every other affiliated Minor League ballclub – is that they will have to pivot over the next six months since the MLB assumed control of all 120 lower-level teams.
MLB does not have a firm grasp of how the 2021 Minor League baseball season will operate, including the number of fans allowed into ballparks. There has also been rumors that there will be no postseason for any minor league baseball team in 2021, although MLB has not confirmed that yet.
Unfortunately, fans will need to need to play the waiting game until more details become available.
As for Spring Training, games began in both Arizona and Florida.
Fans do not have access to players and cannot watch any practice or workouts on the side fields. However, a very limited number of fans are allowed into each ballpark for Spring Training games, thus making tickets more difficult than usual.
For example, the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners share Peoria Stadium and had 1,744 fans in the stands for the Feb. 28 game. The ballpark’s capacity is 12,339. However, tickets are available online and are priced extremely reasonable. Instead of sitting in normal sections, Peoria Stadium is divided by pods with tickets priced at $22 each, with a minimum ticket requirement per pod.
Most Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training games at Camelback Ranch are already sold out, which makes sense given the popularity of the defending World Series champions. Other Cactus League teams have tickets available at normal price levels.
My best advice is to go to your favorite team’s website and click the ticket link to the Spring Training game you are planning to attend. You might be surprised by what is still available for purchase.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.