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MLB Opening Day 2021: Schedule, Dates, Fan Attendance Policies

March 29, 2021 by Stephen Spiewak

MLB Opening Day 2021

(See info on 2022 MLB Opening Day)

Following a pandemic-shortened year with no regular season fans, MLB’s 2021 Opening Day may be the most highly anticipated start to the season ever.

Although fans were present at Globe Life Field for both the NLCS and World Series, the 2020 MLB season largely took place bereft of fans.

That changes in 2021, as more teams than not are planning to host fans at Opening Day. Those that will not have fans to start the season are hoping to welcome back fans later into the season.

The overall MLB Opening Day 2021 date is April 1. Unlike previous seasons, when the season officially kicked off on a Sunday night with a single game or two, all 15 teams will play on MLB Opening Day in 2021.

One team will begin the season especially far from home: the Toronto Blue Jays. The team plans to begin the season at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla. and will move to Buffalo—where it played the 2020 season—when the weather warms up. The team hopes to return to Toronto at some point this season, according to reports.

Teams with Home Openers on April 1

  • Boston Red Sox
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Los Angeles Angels
  • Miami Marlins
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • New York Yankees
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • San Diego Padres
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Washington Nationals

Teams with Home Openers on April 5

  • Cleveland Indians
  • Texas Rangers

Teams with Home Openers on April 8

  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Houston Astros
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Mets
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Toronto Blue Jays

Teams with Home Openers on April 9

  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Tampa Bay Rays

MLB Opening Day Starters and Lineups

Opening Day lineups and pitching matchups will become clearer as the games get closer, but for many teams, Opening Day starters are a foregone conclusion. Below is a list of starting pitchers you can safely expect to toe the rubber on April 1, barring injury:

  • Jacob DeGrom (Mets)
  • Gerrit Cole (Yankees)
  • Shane Bieber (Indians)
  • Max Scherzer (Nationals)
  • Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
  • Lucas Giolito (White Sox)
  • Aaron Nola (Phillies)
  • Kenta Maeda (Twins)
  • Brandon Woodruff (Brewers)
  • Zack Greinke (Astros)
  • Hyun-jin Ryu (Blue Jays)
  • Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)
  • Jack Flaherty (Cardinals)
  • Marcos Gonzalez (Mariners)
  • Max Fried (Braves)
  • Dylan Bundy (Angels)
  • Kyle Gibson (Rangers)
  • Tyler Glasnow (Rays)
  • Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox)
  • Matthew Boyd (Tigers)
  • Sandy Alcantara (Marlins)
  • John Means (Orioles)
  • German Marquez (Rockies)
  • Yu Darvish (Padres)
  • Chris Bassitt (A's)
  • Luis Castillo (Reds)
  • Kevin Gausman (Giants)
  • Madison Bumgarner (Diamondbacks)
  • Mitch Keller (Pirates)
  • John Means (Orioles)

Additionally, although star players require rest and days off throughout the season, top players will almost always be in the lineup on Opening Day, assuming they are healthy.

So the likes of Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Aaron Judge will all be playing on Opening Day.

Schedule of MLB Opening Day Promotional Giveaways

Promotions are an Opening Day tradition across baseball, both in the majors and minors. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some teams are changing how (and when) they do giveaways for fans.

Right now, roughly half of all MLB teams plan a promotional giveaway around Opening Day. The most common giveaway item is the traditional magnetic schedule/calendar of team games for the rest of the season. However, Opening Day promotions include a variety of items, highlighted by the Washington Nationals and their Davey Johnson World Series bobblehead giveaway.

Here is the current breakdown of Opening Day giveaway items (and the teams that are participating) along with the duration of the giveaway:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks - Clear Tote Bag (Apr. 9-11)
  • Atlanta Braves - Magnetic Schedule (Apr. 9-11)
  • Baltimore Orioles - Kids Opening Day: Orioles Arm Sleeve (Apr. 11)
  • Cincinnati Reds - Magnetic Schedule and Joe Morgan #8 car magnet
  • Cleveland Indians - Magnetic Schedule (Apr. 9-11)
  • Colorado Rockies - Magnetic Schedule (Apr. 1-3)
  • Houston Astros - Magnetic Schedule
  • Los Angeles Angeles - Wall Calendar 
  • Miami Marlines - Magnetic Schedule (Apr. 1)
  • Philadelphia Phillies - Rally Towel (Apr. 1-4)
  • Seattle Mariners - Magnetic Schedule (Apr. 1-3)
  • St. Louis Cardinals - Magnetic Schedule 
  • Tampa Bay Rays - Magnetic Schedule (Apr. 9-11)
  • Texas Rangers - Magnetic Schedule 
  • Washington Nationals - Davey Martinez World Series Bobblehead (Apr. 3-4)

MLB 2021 Opening Day TV Schedule

ESPN will host a quadruple header on Opening Day, while the other 11 games will be available on regional cable channels as well as MLBTV (though blackout restrictions will be in effect). The four Opening Day games on ESPN are:

Blue Jays vs. Yankees (1:05 p.m. ET)
Rockies vs. Dodgers (4:10 p.m. ET)
Mets vs. Nationals (7:09 p.m. ET)
Angels vs. White Sox (10:05 p.m. ET)

Which MLB Teams Will Allow Fans?

Which MLB teams will welcome fans back for Opening Day and the rest of the season is a fluid situation, but it seems likely that all MLB teams will have fans in the stands on Opening Day in 2021.

Vivid Seats is tracking MLB fan attendance policies for the 2021 MLB season, with a focus on Opening Day:

Team Opening Day Date (Home opener) Opponent Time (CT) Fans Allowed? Attendance (% capacity)
Arizona Diamondbacks
4/9/2021 Reds 8:40 p.m. Yes 12,158 (25%)
Atlanta Braves
4/9/2021 Phillies 6:20 p.m. Yes 13,500 (33%)
Baltimore Orioles
4/8/2021 Red Sox 2:05 p.m. Yes 11,000 (25%)
Boston Red Sox
4/1/2021 Orioles 1:10 p.m.  Yes 4,500 (12%)
Chicago Cubs
4/1/2021 Pirates 1:20 p.m. Yes 8,274 (20%)
Chicago White Sox
4/8/2021 Royals 3:10 p.m. Yes 8,122 (20%)
Cincinnati Reds
4/1/2021 Cardinals 3:10 p.m. Yes 12,700 (30%)
Cleveland Indians
4/5/2021 Royals 3:10 p.m. Yes 10,500 (30%)
Colorado Rockies
4/1/2021 Dodgers 3:10 p.m. Yes 21,363 (42.6%)
Detroit Tigers
4/1/2021 Indians 12:10 p.m. Yes 1,000 (3%)
Houston Astros
4/8/2021 Athletics 7:10 p.m. Yes 10,300 (25%)
Kansas City Royals
4/1/2021 Rangers 3:10 p.m. Yes 10,000 (26%)
Los Angeles Angels
4/1/2021 White Sox 9:05 p.m. Yes 9,000 (20%)
Los Angeles Dodgers
4/9/2021 Nationals 3:10 p.m. Yes 11,000 (20%)
Miami Marlins
4/1/2021 Rays 3:10 p.m. Yes 9,186 (25%)
Milwaukee Brewers
4/1/2021 Twins 1:10 p.m. Yes 10,475 (25%)
Minnesota Twins
4/8/2021 Mariners 3:10 p.m. Yes 10,000 (25%)
New York Mets
4/8/2021 Marlins 12:10 p.m. Yes 8,300 (20%)
New York Yankees
4/1/2021 Blue Jays 12:05pm Yes 10,000 (10%)
Oakland Athletics
4/1/2021 Astros 9:07 p.m. Yes 9,400 (20%)
Philadelphia Phillies
4/1/2021 Braves 2:05 p.m. Yes 8,000 (20%)
Pittsburgh Pirates
4/8/2021 Cubs 12:35 p.m. Yes 7,672 (20%)
San Diego Padres
4/1/2021 Diamondbacks 3:10 p.m. Yes 10,000 (20%)
San Francisco Giants
4/9/2021 Rockies 3:35 p.m. Yes 8,400 (20%)
Seattle Mariners
4/1/2021 Giants 9:10 p.m. Yes 9,000 (25%)
St. Louis Cardinals
4/8/2021 Brewers 3:15 p.m. Yes 14,500 (32%)
Tampa Bay Rays
4/9/2021 Yankees 2:10 p.m. Yes 7,000 (17%)
Texas Rangers
4/5/2021 Blue Jays 3:05 p.m. Yes 40,300
Toronto Blue Jays
4/8/2021 Angels 5:37 p.m. Yes 1,000 (15%)
Washington Nationals
4/1/2021 Mets 8:09 p.m Yes 5,000 (12.1%)

The Texas Rangers announced that, with the state of Texas lifting COVID-19-related restrictions, it would open up Globe Life Field at full capacity. The state's other team, the Houston Astros, announced that it planned to move forward with a reduced capacity at Minute Maid Park. 

Opening Day for minor league affiliates of all major league teams typically takes place after the MLB Opening Day, so most teams will get started in April and May, starting with Class AAA on April 6 and Class AA and below in May. The minor league season is shorter than the major league season, so it will also end earlier.

MLB Opening Day 2021 will be here before you know it. Browse tickets so you can be there in person.

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