The El Paso Chihuahuas released their 2021 schedule Thursday in the wake of Major League Baseball’s changes to a new downsized league. And, as speculated earlier in the Herald-Post, there is good news, and bad news for some fans.
The good news is El Paso will play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers top affiliate in the Triple-A West (Oklahoma City) 18 times this season, beginning with the home opener on April 22nd.
The defending pandemic shortened-season 2020 World Series champions are, by far, El Pasoans’ favorite MLB team. The Texas Rangers top affiliate (Round Rock) will visit the Sun City 12 times, as well as the Astros (Sugar Land) and Rockies (Albuquerque), all part of the new Triple-A West five-team Eastern Division with El Paso.
But in addition to permanently losing the top affiliates of the Chicago Cubs (Iowa), St. Louis Cardinals (Memphis), Kansas City Royals (Omaha) and Milwaukee Brewers (Nashville) from the previous 14-city Pacific Coast League, El Paso will only play seven of the nine other teams remaining at home this season in the Triple-A West.
Gone are the Los Angeles Angels (Salt Lake) and San Francisco Giants (Sacramento). Both teams have large followings among baseball fans in El Paso.
In all, 52 of the scheduled 70 home games are against teams from the Chihuahuas new more geographic division. Only 18 home games will be played against teams from the Triple-A West’s Western Division, six games each versus Las Vegas (Oakland A’s), Tacoma (Seattle Mariners) and Reno (Arizona Diamondbacks).
Ultimately, seeing the Dodgers and Rangers top minor leaguers here more often (we used to only see them at our Ballpark once every two years for five games) is nice. But losing the opportunity to see the top affiliates of six other teams from the former Pacific Coast League will be a tough trade off for many El Paso baseball fans.
With the schedule release, the only information needed for local baseball fans will be the availability of seats.
The Chihuahuas have yet to release any information on how many fans will be allowed at games at Southwest University Park this season, due to the ongoing pandemic.
Author: Darren Hunt – Special to the El Paso Herald Post