Professional baseball is returning to the South Bay for the first time since the summer of 2019 as the San Jose Giants open their 2021 season Tuesday night at Excite Ballpark.
A limited number of fans will be at the stadium for the Giants' first game in more than a year and a half.
Now playing in the Low-A West California League but still an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, San Jose takes on the Fresno Grizzlies in the first of a six-game series to open the season. One of the most significant changes this season, aside from the shift in leagues, is all series will be six games to reduce travel time during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
San Jose has a 120-game schedule against other former High-A California League teams that also shifted to the Low-A level, including the Oakland A's affiliate Stockton Ports.
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The 2021 San Jose Giants roster includes a handful of Bay Area products, according to the club's blog. Pitcher Kyle Harrison was born in San Jose and drafted in the third round last year out of De La Salle High School in Concord. Also out of De La Salle is outfielder Armani Smith. Catcher Rob Emery played high school ball at St. Ignatius Prep in San Francisco before attending USF, and pitcher Kanoa Pagan was raised in Campbell, playing at Leigh High School then Mission College in Santa Clara.
Also on the roster is one of the organization's top prospects, shortstop Marco Luciano.
Stadium protocols include masks required, assigned seating pods and cashless transactions. Fans attending games at Excite Ballpark should review the park’s Play It Safe Policies before arriving.
A popular feature at San Jose Giants games fortunately will endure the pandemic restrictions: The team confirmed Tuesday its Beer Batter is a "full go" this season.
Opening night is sold out, but there are tickets available for the remaining games in the six-game opening series, according to the team's website.