JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The start of the minor league baseball season in Jacksonville is on hold.
But don’t worry, baseball fans. It’s not for too much longer.
The Jumbo Shrimp’s 2021 season, and the team’s return to Triple-A, is being pushed back by roughly a month by Major League Baseball. Triple-A teams were initially scheduled to open the season April 6 or 8, while other levels were slated to start about a month after that.
But Major League Baseball aligned everything on Wednesday, pushing the Triple-A season back to start when the other levels do.
Jacksonville will now host the Norfolk Tides on May 4 at 121 Financial Ballpark.
The teams will play a six-game series. The Jumbo Shrimp hit the road after that for 12 away games over a 13-day span before returning back to Jacksonville May 25 against Durham.
“Over the past year, we have been thrown several curveballs, but we are taking this news in stride,” said Jumbo Shrimp owner/CEO Ken Babby. “All of our energy is now shifting to creating a memorable Triple-A season that will begin in early May. Great things are worth waiting for, and this May will be such a special Opening Day in Jacksonville.”
This season is a shift for the Jumbo Shrimp, who were promoted from the Double-A Southern League to the International League in Triple-A. They remained an affiliate of the Miami Marlins.
Jacksonville had been in the Southern League since 1970. The Jumbo Shrimp played as a Triple-A team under the Suns nickname from 1962-68.
Minor league baseball underwent massive changes in the offseason. A total of 120 minor league clubs accepted Professional Development League licenses with Major League Baseball affiliates in order to modernize the farm system and be better geographically aligned. That meant the elimination of more than 40 minor league teams.