What’s Happening in Baseball Today

March 6, 2021: The First Pitch

The five California MLB teams have been given permission by Governor Gavin Newsom to allow 20% capacity at their ballparks to start the 2021 season—so long as they remain in state’s “red tier”, the third highest of four risk levels (yellow being the lowest risk, purple the highest). This is of course subject to change, but as California follows the larger pattern across the country of decreased infections and increased vaccinations—and with the weather gradually warming up—it is expected that the state will continue to edge toward a lower-risk status, allowing for an even higher percentage of ballpark capacity. But for the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, A’s and Padres to all know they’ll have actual living butts in the seats to start the season will be a welcomed sight.

As a reminder that we’re not out of the pandemic woods, the Astros ordered eight of their pitchers to leave camp immediately to undergo one week of COVID quarantine. It’s not known whether the pitchers, some of whom are on the major league roster while others are likely headed to the minors, have tested positive for the virus—or if they just came into contact with someone else who has it. But in the name of avoiding an outbreak, the Astros are taking no chances.

Reliever Sam Dyson was suspended for the entire 2021 season for alleged domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend—and her cat—back in 2019. The 32-year-old Dyson missed the 2020 season while recovering from shoulder surgery. The year-long suspension is the longest given to a major league player for domestic abuse.

It Was Whatever-Something Years Ago Today

1971: Oakland owner Charles Finley is allowed to act on one of his innovative baseball ideas when a spring training game between the A’s and Milwaukee Brewers calls for walks to be awarded on three balls, not four. It increases offense, as Finley had theorized—Oakland wins, 13-9—but there are also 19 walks issued, not exactly what the fans are paying their good money to see. The idea will quickly be abandoned.

Shameless Link of the Day

We gathered up so much research on our early Ballparks pages, some of the items we deemed not so crucial to the story but nevertheless curious and fun to point out were left out because there was no place to jam in it. So we came up with an entertaining segment called “Bet You Didn’t Know…” in the sidebar of the later Ballpark pages that took care of these tidbits. Now, we’ve gone back to those early pages and placed those items back in. Some of the pages remain without the segment since we managed to find a way to include it in the original story—so if you can’t find “Bet You Didn’t Know” on the side, now you’ll know why.

You Say It’s Your Birthday

Once-and-current Cubs pitching star Jake Arrieta is 35; recently retired catcher Francisco Cervelli is 35; five-time All-Star second baseman Cookie Rojas is 82. Born on this date is Hall-of-Fame slugger Willie Stargell (1940), two-time saves leader Ted Abernathy (1933), one-armed St. Louis Browns outfielder Pete Gray (1915) and ace of aces Lefty Grove (1900).

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