The New York Mets will now open the 2021 season against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.
Major League Baseball has officially postponed the season-opening series between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals. Longtime MLB insider Jon Heyman was first with the unfortunate news.
MLB is postponing the Mets-Nats series for more follow-up testing and contract tracing
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 2, 2021
Both teams were supposed to kick off their respective 2021 seasons on Thursday night as part of Opening Day. Unfortunately, Washington returned multiple positive COVID-19 tests among players and health comes first.
Jeff Passan of ESPN added that in light of the series’ cancellation, the Mets would now begin their season in Philadelphia on Monday night. Washington, meanwhile, will play the waiting game until they have an idea of how bad their outbreak is.
Said last night on Baseball Tonight that the Nationals-Mets series was in jeopardy, and now it’s officially being canceled. Mets will start their season Monday in Philadelphia. Nationals will know when they have a better sense of their COVID outbreak, which now numbers four.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 2, 2021
This is not the story MLB wanted clouding Opening Day. All signs pointed to a full 162-game season with limited fan capacity in most places. It was supposed to be a much-needed return to normalcy after one of the worst years in human history.
Now, fans are treated to yet another MLB COVID outbreak sequel. First, the Miami Marlins nearly upended their season last year, and the St. Louis Cardinals soon followed. The Nationals’ outbreak, though not yet as big as Miami’s or St. Louis’s, still puts scrutiny on just how strictly teams are following health and safety protocols.
Remember, new health and safety protocols were established prior to spring training this year. Blatant violations could mean fines, suspensions, and even loss of game salaries for the players. The Washington Nationals had better hope contact tracing only shows bad luck as opposed to violating protocols because suspensions would obviously not be a good look for the team.
The New York Mets, on the other hand, can look forward to having a well-rested Jacob deGrom ready to go on Monday. Philadelphia is expected to send lefty Matt Moore to the mound, with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.