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Back in July 2020, with a fanless season creaking towards an awkward and uncertain opening, Major League Baseball unveiled next year’s schedule about a month earlier than usual. It was probably a little too early to start thinking about the 2021 slate given everything we still didn’t know about the state of the world, but with its promise of 162 games, a full slate of opponents, and at some point, the opportunity to see them in person, it also couldn’t be announced soon enough.
MLB is back on its usually rhythm by releasing next year’s schedule during the first half of August, but with the White Sox trying to wrap up their first division title since 2008, now it feels way too early to be thinking that far ahead.
The first thing I looked for was a weekend series in Kansas City, which doesn’t exist this year. The next thing I looked for was the interleague opponents, but while it was great to see a road series in Colorado, it’s in the middle of the week. And so our first two ideas for the Sox Machine/From the 108 Tailgate died an early death.
*Interleague play: Fans who had their West Coast White Sox trips blown up by the pandemic will get a shot to plan around San Francisco (July 1-3) and San Diego (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).
*Crosstown series: The White Sox and Cubs are back to a pair of two-game sets, both in May. The White Sox get the benefit of hosting the North Siders on Memorial Day weekend, although the Sox won’t play on Memorial Day itself.
*Tough stretches: May could be bruising, particularly the Boston-Cleveland-Yankees-KC-Yankees-Boston series totaling 20 games over 21 days. The AL Central could also shift during the last fortnight before the All-Star break. Speaking of which…
*AL Central: The Sox won’t be done early with any divisional opponent, as the final series between the four foes all wrap up in September. The Sox will also face every Central rival by the third week of the season, so the unbalanced schedule is rather evenly distributed this year.
*The finish: It’s hard to tell whether the last three weeks of the season will be tense or a cakewalk. That depends on whether the Guardians and Twins have any real designs on 2022, or whether it’s Detroit’s turn to push. Regardless of what comes before, the San Diego series makes history, as it’s the first time the Sox will end a regular season in a National League ballpark.
As for the tailgate, Josh is conducting a poll for a Plan C.