This year, as with last, we have offered a master list of most national and major independent baseball leagues around the world, with the majority all delaying their 2021 seasons. This weekend marks the last major checkpoint, as most leagues that had announced a start date planned to begin by June 6 at the latest.
As of today, 50 of the 72 leagues we surveyed (see chart below) are now active, which amounts to 69 percent. Europe continues to be the most affected, with 10 of its leagues—including six national leagues—yet to announce plans for their 2021 seasons, while the Americas and Asia have mostly long since resumed. In fact, one of Europe’s top leagues, France’s Division I, has still to start its season, with its postponed date of June 5 pushed back another week. The same goes for Belgium, another European country with an established circuit, which also begins June 12. Only two other announced start dates remain globally: Puerto Rico (June 27) and the Empire League in the U.S., which normally has a summer start date.
Joining the list of active leagues this weekend were the national leagues of Finland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland, plus Great Britain’s three-tiered Northern League (see our primer on the complex British baseball scene here [link]). The Pecos League, an independent circuit in the U.S., celebrated opening day this past Wednesday (June 2).
The penultimate weekend in May (22-23) was also a big one for Opening Day around the world. The full 33-team Serie A in Italy finally took the field, with a partial commencement a fortnight prior. Joining the Italians were Estonia, Women’s Baseball UK (the national women’s baseball league in Great Britain), and Russia. The Atlantic League and United Shore League, U.S. indy circuits, played their first games of 2021 a few days later.
The full list of leagues surveyed is available here [link].
*No spring season. Percentage is of leagues normally active in the spring and/or summer.