Opening Day for Major League Baseball is finally here. After a shortened 2020 season which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, baseball fans will be able to enjoy a full 162-game season, with the opportunity to attend games at stadiums. The MLB season's first day will feature 14 games that start at 1:05 p.m. ET with the Toronto Blue Jays vs. the New York Yankees. The final game will start at 10:10 p.m. ET with the San Francisco Giants vs. the Seattle Mariners.
Between those two games, there will be a number of notable baseball stars in action, including Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves. But all eyes will be on the Los Angeles Dodgers who won the World Series last season. They bring back the same cast of characters but also added pitcher Trevor Bauer, who won the NL Cy Young Award last year as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Mookie Betts is another Dodgers player to watch as he hit 16 home runs and 39 RBIs in 55 games last season.
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Because of the pandemic, some players opted out of the 2020 season. According to USA Today, several notable players that decided not to play in 2020 are returning this season, including Buster Posey of the Giants, Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals, Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers, Marcus Stroman of the New York Mets and David Price of the Dodgers.
As mentioned earlier fans will be able to attend games this season. However, it will not be full capacity as the majority of stadiums are limiting crowds at 20% to 30% to start the year, according to USA Today. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the goal is to have MLB stadiums at full capacity by midsummer.
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"We are excited to embark on the 2021 season, with new rivalries and the young superstars who are making a significant impact on our game," Manfred wrote in an open letter to MLB fans. "But, most important of all, we are thrilled to welcome fans back to all 30 of our ballparks. Baseball fans bring so much energy to the park, and our game is so much better with that passion in the stands. We are hopeful that hearing the sounds of a ballgame in-person represents important progress towards a 2021 that looks and feels closer to normalcy."