LEADING OFF: Minor league opening day, Dodgers' May needs TJ

Full Screen
1 / 5

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado hits a three-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Monday, May 3, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

A look at what's happening around baseball Tuesday:

___

MAJOR DAY FOR MINOR LEAGUES

From the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to the Tri-City Dust Devils, minor league teams are set to host opening day across the country following more than a year of uncertainty and empty ballparks.

Much has changed since the end of the 2019 campaign — the pandemic wiped out the entire 2020 season, Major League Baseball eliminated 40 affiliates, and Commissioner Rob Manfred instituted experimental rules changes that will differ by level in an effort to speed up play and improve player safety.

Of course, the charms of minor league ball remain plentiful. Family-friendly prices, offbeat giveaways and outlandish team branding remain key pillars of the experience. As does the chance for thousands of players to pursue their big-league dreams.

“If you have young guys that need to play baseball, they’ve been void of it for almost two years now, they’ve got to get out there and play,” Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “This is one time I am really going to be paying attention to minor league reports coming up. I want to see and hear how our guys are doing.”

MAY THE 4TH