New regular-season league schedule will feature separate U.S., Canadian divisions
YAKIMA, Wash. — The West Coast League’s adoption of a revised 2021 schedule that eliminates regular-season international travel will benefit all teams, Yakima Valley Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said.
“Eliminating the uncertainty around when the border between the U.S. and Canada will reopen allows everyone to move forward with preparations for a June 4 opening day,” Garretson said. “There are so many details that need to be addressed in coming weeks, from charter bus reservations to hotels to single-game ticket sales. Removing even one point of uncertainty makes a big difference over the next eight weeks.”
The WCL’s board of directors voted to adopt the new format earlier this week. Though U.S. and Canadian teams won’t play each other during the regular season, the new structure does leave open the possibility of a full league playoff format.
The WCL’s 10 U.S-based teams will now play a 48-game league schedule instead of the usual 54-game league schedule. The U.S. schedule will be announced next week. The Canadian schedule will be released in the first half of April and will feature four of the five teams north of the border, including Victoria, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Edmonton. Kelowna, the fifth Canadian member, officially opted out of the 2021 season today.
“With three new Canadian members joining for this year, it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t play an international schedule,” Garretson said. “But moving to this format gives all the teams a stronger chance to play.”
The Pippins originally were scheduled to host Kamloops in the season-opener at Yakima County Stadium on June 4.
Garretson said the Pippins are working to fill the league home dates that are now open because of the revamped schedule. The Pippins will maintain the 32 home game dates previously announced, he said.
The Pippins continue to look for additional host families in preparation for this summer, Garretson added. Yakima-area families interested in hosting a player can call Garretson at 509-575-4487.
Season tickets, mini season ticket plans and Family Night Out packages on sale at PippinsBaseball.com. Single-game tickets for all 32 Pippins home games will go on sale later this spring.