NORFOLK, Va. - Less than two weeks after releasing their 2021 regular season schedule, the Norfolk Tides announce their 2021 campaign will start at least one month later than expected.
Due to Major League Baseball's decision to delay the start of the Triple-A season, the Tides' campaign will now no longer begin Tuesday April 6th with a road contest against the Nashville Sounds. All games set to be played in April will not be rescheduled. This, of course, includes the scheduled home opener originally set for Tuesday April 13th against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
"The Tides are looking forward to returning to play at Harbor Park as soon as it is safe for fans, players and staff," Tides general manager Joe Gregory said in a statement to News 3. "The past year has been difficult for everyone. We will be ready for fans to return as soon as Major League Baseball as well as state and local officials determine we can throw out the first pitch."
The Tides season will now tentatively begin Tuesday May 4 at Jacksonville, with the home opener set for Tuesday May 18th vs. Jacksonville.
MLB says the delay is designed to increase the likelihood that Minor League Baseball players will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine prior to their assignment to affiliates located throughout the United States.
Additionally, delaying the start of games presents a greater chance for teams to host fans in their home parks when the season does begin. Gate revenue is the lifeblood of minor-league franchises.
Norfolk, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, had its 2020 season canceled due to COVID-19.