A subplot throughout this long offseason has been the wait to see how the minor leagues would shake up in 2021. The loss of the minor league season was a tough one to take last year, both for all the prospects and the countless local fans who just like to watch talented young dudes play cheap baseball in a more intimate setting.
There was also a big change in the operations of Minor League Baseball as a whole, as Major League Baseball officially announced that it would be taking over MiLB in 2021. The two leagues had obviously worked in very close tandem for a long time, but now MLB will unilaterally control the minors — for better or for worse. That transition led to a dramatic overhaul of the minors as numerous teams swapped affiliates (Charleston is now with Tampa), some were stuck in Indy ball or the new MLB Draft League (Trenton), and others were sadly left out in the cold (Staten Island). Short-season ball is no longer a part of the minors.
It also took quite awhile for MLB to figure out when they could realistically begin all their teams’ schedules with the pandemic still raging. On Thursday, it was announced that Triple-A teams will play a 142-game season beginning in April, and all Double-A and Class-A teams will play 120-games seasons beginning in May. The question of how many fans will be able to safely attend is still up in the air, as that will probably have to be decided by each team on their own, in accordance with local guidelines. We all want to return to the ballpark, but we don’t want to get sick, either.
Each of the Yankees’ affiliates released their own schedules. You can find them on each team’s website, or simply go to the tweets linked below. (Note: Tampa has yet to announce their schedule, but it should be coming shortly.) Opening Day for Scranton will be on April 6th, while the rest begin on May 4th. To minimize travel, every series will be a six-game set with planned off-days on Monday.
Triple-A: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Double-A: Somerset Patriots
Here is the 2021 schedule for Double-A Somerset. pic.twitter.com/tjocwHAnNa— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) February 18, 2021
High-A: Hudson Valley Renegades
Low-A: Tampa Tarpons
The schedule of the 2021 Tampa Tarpons (in Low-A this year) is now on their website. pic.twitter.com/x9jF9e86T9— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) February 18, 2021
It will be nice to finally have the minors back in play in 2021. I’ve missed it.