Syracuse Mets Ready For 2021 Season Opener
Play Ball! Triple-A baseball is alive and well in Central New York.
After having their entire 2020 season wiped away due to COVID-19, the Syracuse Mets are ready to resume playing a full 120 game Triple-A East schedule. The club will be playing 60 home games on the city's North Side at NBT Bank Stadium.
The club, which is owned by their Major League Baseball parent New York Mets, is taking extraordinary steps to ensure fans will enjoy an entertaining and safe outing at the ballpark.
Opening Day at NBT Bank Stadium is Tuesday May 4, as the Mets will open a six-game homestand with the New York Yankees' top affiliate - the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders at 6:35 p.m.
Tickets are on sale at the Onondaga Coach ticket office at NBT Bank Stadium (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), by calling 315-474-7833, or at syracusemets.com.
Tickets will be sold on a month-by-month basis, due to possible changes in COVID-19 regulations. As of now, 2,163 tickets will be made available for each home game.
There will be socially distanced pod seating for fans attending Mets' games, as they will be in pods six feet apart. Pods will be sold from one to six seats.
All those at the ballgame will be required to wear a mask, unless eating or drinking. Temperatures will be taken of all fans entering the stadium. Fans will also be asked to show proof of their full COVID-19 vaccination status by either showing their vaccination card or by using New York State's Excelsior app.
Negative COVID-19 tests need to be dated within 72 hours of the game if it is a PCR test, or within six hours of the game if it is an antigen test.
Syracuse's general manager Jason Smorol and his staff is taking steps in blending safety precautions with fun at the ballpark. This season marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of NBT Bank Stadium.
The stadium has undergone a $25 million renovation over a two-year period. Among the changes is every seat was removed and replaced with larger seats.
The Triple-A East, part of a 20- team Minor League Baseball league, has six teams. Along with the Mets, there is the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays), Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies), Rochester Red Wings (Washington Nationals), Worcester Red Sox (Boston Red Sox), and Scranton-Wilkes/Barre.
With MLB's recent reorganization of minor league baseball, the number of affiliates each team had in the past is now reduced. The New York Mets have four affiliates at different levels of play - along with Syracuse, there is the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A), Brooklyn Cyclones (High-A), and St. Lucie Mets (Low-A).
Syracuse's 120 game schedule will be played during a 167-day stretch, with the final game of the season on Sunday September 19 at 1:05 p.m. at home against Worcester.
Chad Kreuter, a 16-year MLB alumni, will be piloting Syracuse this upcoming season. Kreuter is currently working with Mets' players at the club's alternate site at MCU Park in Brooklyn.
With nine days to go before the first pitch is thrown at NBT Bank Stadium to begin their season, the Syracuse Mets clearly have covered all their bases to make every moment memorable and safe for their fans.
Don Laible is a freelance sportswriter living in the Mohawk Valley. He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio, and on the web since the 1980's. His columns are featured weekly at WIBX950.com. Don can be contacted via email at Don@icechipsdiamonddust.com.