According to Jeff Passan, the Triple-A season has been delayed for at least one month from its original start date, April 6th. The move comes on the heels of MLB’s unsuccessful attempt to delay the major league season by a similar time period, in hopes of an increased fan presence at stadiums with the Covid-19 vaccine ramping up in the United States. The Triple-A season is now scheduled to start in-line with the AA and A seasons. As a result, the AAA season will most likely be extended to the end of September.
Triple-A Season Delayed until At Least May
With the delay, MLB hopes that attendance numbers will rise as a result of the vaccinations. This will be crucial to a decimated minor league baseball system that has lost over 40 affiliates since 2019. Another reason for this delay is that Major League teams have the luxury of private planes to and from games, minimizing points of contact for players and coaches. On the other hand, MiLB relies on buses and commercial aircraft.
Last season, an alternate site was allocated for each team due to the MiLB cancellation. A similar system is returning until the Triple-A season resumes. Alternate sites held the remaining players in the 60-man player pool who were not on the 26-man roster. It consisted of MLB-ready players or well-regarded prospects in the eyes of the respective organizations. Per Jeff Passan, about two dozen players will be allowed at each alternate site this season. These sites could be used for calling players up due to injury or giving players more reps with coaches.
Earlier today, President Joe Biden announced that all American adults will be able to receive a vaccine by May. This could be the light at the end of the tunnel for MiLB. It is looking like fans can finally return to the ballpark in the near future.
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