We made it.
Opening Day tomorrow will mark baseball’s first “normal” day of games since a global pandemic swept up the world and ended spring training last March. It delayed the season for several months and kept fans out of the stands until the very end. Baseball happened, but it was more like something related to baseball, with its piped-in crowd noise and bat cracks echoing off the outfield bleachers. It was baseball, but it wasn’t the same.
In late October, a COVID-positive Justin Turner rushed the field to celebrate the Dodgers World Series win over the Rays, and that was that. A bizarre, dangerous ending to a bizarre, dangerous season.
And now we’re here, several months after Cleveland was bounced in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, and ready to try the whole dang thing again.
Cleveland will start their 2021 campaign on the road in Detroit, but they should feel right at home with temperatures dipping into the 30s and cloudy skies overhead. It still won’t be completely normal, as only 20% of fans are allowed into Comerica Park, per state guidelines. That means up to 8,200 fans will be watching Shane Bieber whip out every pitch he can think of, and see whoever Cleveland trots out as their Opening Day center fielder.
When to watch: 1 p.m. ET, April 1, 2021. It’s as simple as that if you only want to watch the game and nothing else. It’s an early game, so anyone with MLBtv or something similar will want to hop on right at one o’clock. For those in the Cleveland area watching on Bally Sports Great Lakes, their Opening Day coverage begins at 11 a.m., with the official pregame show starting at 12:30 p.m.
Where to watch: This is where it gets complicated if you live in Cleveland’s broadcast area, especially if you’re a cord-cutter. Bally Sports Great Lakes is not available on YouTubeTV at the moment, but AT&T TV (which I didn’t even know existed until yesterday) is the only carrier of many regional sports sites, including BSGL. It doesn’t matter what else you buy — if you don’t have cable, you’ll be blacked out from watching all Cleveland games without AT&T TV.
If you live in Cleveland and have cable or satellite, just track down Bally Sports Great Lakes channel for your provider. As of right now, you can still log in to FOX Sports Go using your cable or satellite provider to stream live games.
Everyone else out of blackout range can watch on MLBtv, which is free if you have T-Mobile as your phone carrier, $129.99 for streaming of every team, or $109.99 for streaming of just one team.
I also highly recommend getting MLBtv through YouTubeTV if you, like me, have had issues with MLBtv streaming in the past. It’s the same price ($129.99 for the season or $24.99 per month), and for me, the quality has been great — I would assume if you don’t have any other issues with YouTubeTV it should work for you, too but your mileage may vary. There is no MiLBtv add-on available going this route. You’ll have to do that separately if you want to watch the Columbus Clippers and friends develop Cleveland’s future.
If you’re in the area and were not one of the 8,200 to get a ticket the first time, they are available on the resale market from as low as $96 after fees.
For those who only want to listen (or want a companion to watching), the MLB app is $2.99 per month and includes live audio for all games. Find it on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
How to watch: With your eyes, most likely. Ears also work if you can’t get to a screen. Put your tongue on a speaker and taste the rhythm of Tom Hamilton’s voice as he calls the game if you want. Baseball involves all the senses, as the old saying goes.