After a 20-month long hiatus, the Greenville Drive have officially announced the return of Greenville Drive baseball to Fluor Field and their 2021 schedule. The long time Boston Red Sox affiliate will begin the 2021 championship season on Tuesday, May 4th – with the season representing a reboot of their 15th Anniversary Season.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time,” stated Drive General Manager, Eric Jarinko. “Over the last year and a half, we’ve been working closely with Major League Baseball, and the Red Sox, on a realignment of many aspects of the minor league baseball player development system. The new alignment brings Major and Minor League Baseball closer together and allows for increased sharing of technology and other resources, all of which are designed to help grow the game of baseball.”
Opening Day presented by TD Bank will take place on Tuesday, May 4th as the Drive begin the 2021 campaign with 12-straight home games, welcoming the Bowling Green Hot Rods (affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) and the Brooklyn Cyclones (affiliate of the New York Mets).
The Drive will be playing in the newly formed High-A East League, as members of the Southern Division. The 2021 season will feature a uniquely designed 120-game schedule, with an even balance of home and road games. The schedule for 2021 has been structured to minimize travel and allow for a focus on player health and safety.
Fans will get a chance to see old and new foes at Fluor Field, with visits from the Asheville Tourists (affiliate of the Houston Astros), Hickory Crawdads (affiliate of the Texas Rangers), Winston-Salem Dash (affiliate of the Chicago White Sox), Aberdeen IronBirds (affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles), Greensboro Grasshoppers (affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates), and the Rome Braves (affiliate of the Atlanta Braves).
Drive Owner & President, Craig Brown, added, “This is an incredibly exciting day for the Drive organization. We are very proud to be a recognized partner in the Boston Red Sox system and we will continue to do what we do best – create a best-in-class fan experience, develop Major League ballplayers while continuing to create memories and support the Upstate Community.”
The Drive’s 2021 schedule features home games on several holidays, including Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 9th), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 20th), Independence Day (Sunday, July 4th), and Labor Day Weekend.
With an early season expectation of capacity limitations and social distancing practices, fans can guarantee themselves access to Drive games through a Ticket Plan or Ticket Experience Package, which start at just $99 for multiple games. Preparations are already underway for Opening Day on May 4th and all Drive Ticket Plan Holders and returning Group and Hospitality ticket holders will be the first to know of all policies, procedures and protocols, as such evolve in anticipation of the 2021 season.
“Our staff have worked diligently over the last 20 months to create a healthy and safe environment as we prepare to welcome fans back to Fluor Field,” said Jarinko. “We will continue to consult with State and Local Government and Health Officials to ensure the ballpark is exceeding all expectations relative to cleanliness and sanitization standards.”
The 2021 season will mark the 17th season of the Red Sox and Drive’s partnership. Since becoming affiliated in 2005, the Drive have advanced to the playoffs three times, and celebrated their first South Atlantic League Championship in 2017.
Over 90 Drive players have gone on to play in the Major Leagues, including current Red Sox stars Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Christian Vazquez. Former Drive players contributed to the Red Sox World Series Championships in 2007, 2013, and 2018. The Red Sox current 40-man roster features 10 former Drive players.
Brown concluded, “The Boston Red Sox are the most recognizable brand in all of sports and we are very pleased to continue to partner with our friends in Boston to help the Red Sox achieve success both on and off the field. Our long-term partnership with the Red Sox has been extended for another decade as a result of the new Player Development License and our fans and our Community can be assured that the future of Greenville Drive baseball has never been brighter or stronger than it is today.”