Baseball: Travs to start season May 4

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So the good news is that the Arkansas Travelers will be back playing baseball this year at North Little Rock’s Dickey-Stephens Park.

There’s still not a schedule but Opening Day is expected to be May 4, about a month later than normal with plans for a 120 game schedule that would end mid-September.

The bad news is that for fans of tradition, the Texas League is no more. As part of a modernization effort, Major League Baseball broke up the historic leagues with names like the Pacific Coast League, Southern League and Texas League as well as shedding several layers of organization.

Each Major League team will have four Minor League teams spread across four levels of play in AAA, AA, High-A and Low-A for a total of 120 teams.

The Arkansas Travelers will maintain its affiliation with the Seattle Mariners, and Seattle’s organization isn’t changing much as Tacoma will still be the AAA team, while the Everett AquaSox are in High-A and the Modesto Nuts are in Low-A.

Seattle Mariners organization

  • Triple-A West: Tacoma Rainiers

  • Double-A Central: Arkansas Travelers

  • High-A West: Everett AquaSox

  • Low-A West: Modesto Nuts

Gone, for the most part, are the Short-season and Rookie-level teams.

While the Texas League is gone, the new alignment doesn’t really look that much different.

Double-A Central, formerly the Texas League

  • Northern division

  • Arkansas Travelers, Seattle

  • Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Kansas City

  • Springfield Cardinals, St. Louis

  • Tulsa Drillers, Los Angeles Dodgers 

  • Wichita Wind Surge, Minnesota (New addition)

  • Southern division

  • Amarillo Sod Poodles, Arizona

  • Corpus Christi Hooks, Houston

  • Frisco RoughRiders, Texas, 

  • Midland RockHounds, Oakland

  • San Antonio Missions, San Diego (New addition)

The new Northern division adds Wichita to the mix. Wichita was a long-time Texas League member and was affiliated with the Kansas City Royals until 2007, when that team moved to Springdale and became the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Wichita has been without a baseball team until 2020 when the New Orleans Baby Cakes moved from Metairie, La., to Kansas. That season was lost because of Covid and the team never made the field of its new $75 million stadium that was originally intended to be the home of a AAA franchise.

While some of the nicknames are new, the teams are all still very familiar in the Southern Division. The biggest change is the return of San Antonio that left the Texas League for AAA and the Pacific Coast League in 2019. They played all of one season in AAA, before 2020’s lost season, and now the Missions are back for 2021.

Early reports indicate teams will play a six-game series, home or away, each week, with a travel day then starting the six-day cycle again.

The move has been described as a way to limit travel during the ongoing pandemic.

The schedule for the upcoming season has been released and among the highlights are no games will be played on Monday as that will the travel day. The Travs will get 60 games at home, with the first being Opening Night, Tuesday, May 4 and the last home game will be Sunday, Sept. 5. There’s 60 games on the road and the season will conclude with two weeks of traveling to Springfield and Wichita.

Attendance for home games will be limited due to coronavirus concerns, how much seating capacity has not yet been determined.

Arkansas Travelers 2021 season schedule

  • Tuesday, May 4: Northwest Arkansas

  • Wednesday, May 5: Northwest Arkansas

  • Thursday, May 6: Northwest Arkansas

  • Friday, May 7: Northwest Arkansas

  • Saturday, May 8: Northwest Arkansas

  • Sunday, May 9: Northwest Arkansas

  • Tuesday, May 11: Springfield

  • Wednesday, May 12: Springfield

  • Thursday, May 13: Springfield

  • Friday, May 14: Springfield

  • Saturday, May 15: Springfield

  • Sunday, May 16: Springfield

  • Tuesday, May 18: at Corpus Christi

  • Wednesday, May 19: at Corpus Christi

  • Thursday, May 20: at Corpus Christi

  • Friday, May 21: at Corpus Christi

  • Saturday, May 22: at Corpus Christi

  • Sunday, May 23: at Corpus Christi

  • Tuesday, May 25: Tulsa

  • Wednesday, May 26: Tulsa

  • Thursday, May 27: Tulsa

  • Friday, May 28: Tulsa

  • Saturday, May 29: Tulsa

  • Sunday, May 30: Tulsa

  • Tuesday, June 1: at Wichita

  • Wednesday, June 2: at Wichita

  • Thursday, June 3: at Wichita

  • Friday, June 4: at Wichita

  • Saturday, June 5: at Wichita

  • Sunday, June 6: at Wichita

  • Tuesday, June 8: at Springfield

  • Wednesday, June 9: at Springfield

  • Thursday, June 10: at Springfield

  • Friday, June 11: at Springfield

  • Saturday, June 12: at Springfield

  • Sunday, June 13: at Springfield

  • Tuesday, June 15: Tulsa

  • Wednesday, June 16: Tulsa

  • Thursday, June 17: Tulsa

  • Friday, June 18: Tulsa

  • Saturday, June 19: Tulsa

  • Sunday, June 20: Tulsa

  • Tuesday, June 22: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Wednesday, June 23: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Thursday, June 24: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Friday, June 25: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Saturday, June 26: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Sunday, June 27: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Tuesday, June 29: at Tulsa

  • Wednesday, June 30: at Tulsa

  • Thursday, July 1: at Tulsa

  • Friday, July 2: at Tulsa

  • Saturday, July 3: at Tulsa

  • Sunday, July 4: at Tulsa

  • Tuesday, July 6: Frisco 

  • Wednesday, July 7: Frisco 

  • Thursday, July 8: Frisco 

  • Friday, July 9: Frisco 

  • Saturday, July 10: Frisco 

  • Sunday, July 11: Frisco 

  • Tuesday, July 13: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Wednesday, July 14: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Thursday, July 15: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Friday, July 16: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Saturday, July 17: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Sunday, July 18: at Northwest Arkansas

  • Tuesday, July 20: Wichita

  • Wednesday, July 21: Wichita

  • Thursday, July 22: Wichita

  • Friday, July 23: Wichita

  • Saturday, July 24: Wichita

  • Sunday, July 25: Wichita

  • Tuesday, July 27: at Springfield

  • Wednesday, July 28: at Springfield

  • Thursday, July 29: at Springfield

  • Friday, July 30: at Springfield

  • Saturday, July 31: at Springfield

  • Sunday, Aug. 1: at Springfield

  • Tuesday, Aug. 3: Northwest Arkansas

  • Wednesday, Aug. 4: Northwest Arkansas

  • Thursday, Aug. 5: Northwest Arkansas

  • Friday, Aug. 6: Northwest Arkansas

  • Saturday, Aug. 7: Northwest Arkansas

  • Sunday, Aug. 8: Northwest Arkansas

  • Tuesday, Aug. 10: Springfield

  • Wednesday, Aug. 11: Springfield

  • Thursday, Aug. 12: Springfield

  • Friday, Aug. 13: Springfield

  • Saturday, Aug. 14: Springfield

  • Sunday, Aug. 15: Springfield

  • Tuesday, Aug. 17: at Frisco 

  • Wednesday, Aug. 18: at Frisco 

  • Thursday, Aug. 19: at Frisco 

  • Friday, Aug. 20: at Frisco 

  • Saturday, Aug. 21: at Frisco 

  • Sunday, Aug. 22: at Frisco 

  • Tuesday, Aug. 24: Corpus Christi

  • Wednesday, Aug. 25: Corpus Christi

  • Thursday, Aug. 26: Corpus Christi

  • Friday, Aug. 27: Corpus Christi

  • Saturday, Aug. 28: Corpus Christi

  • Sunday, Aug. 29: Corpus Christi

  • Tuesday, Aug. 31: Wichita

  • Wednesday, Sept. 1: Wichita

  • Thursday, Sept. 2: Wichita

  • Friday, Sept. 3: Wichita

  • Saturday, Sept. 4: Wichita

  • Sunday, Sept. 5: Wichita

  • Tuesday, Sept. 7: at Springfield

  • Wednesday, Sept. 8: at Springfield

  • Thursday, Sept. 9: at Springfield

  • Friday, Sept. 10: at Springfield

  • Saturday, Sept. 11: at Springfield

  • Sunday, Sept. 12: at Springfield

  • Tuesday, Sept. 14: at Wichita

  • Wednesday, Sept. 15: at Wichita

  • Thursday, Sept. 16: at Wichita

  • Friday, Sept. 17: at Wichita

  • Saturday, Sept. 18: at Wichita

  • Sunday, Sept. 19: at Wichita