After losing their entire 2020 season due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Chattanooga Lookouts will almost have a full slate this year.
The Class AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds announced a 120-game schedule on Thursday with 60 games at AT&T Field. The season opener is set for Tuesday, May 4, when the Lookouts will host the Rocket City Trash Pandas from Madison, Alabama.
Chattanooga typically has a 140-game schedule with 70 home contests.
"I think it's fantastic," Lookouts president Rich Mozingo said. "I think the idea that we're going to be at home and have fans in the ballpark and have that many games out here this year is just amazing given what we're coming off of."
The Lookouts since 1976 have played in a 10-member Southern League, which dates back to 1885, but they are now part of an eight-team collection that Major League Baseball is referring to as the Double-A South. Chattanooga will reside in the North Division of the Double-A South along with the Birmingham Barons, Rocket City and the Tennessee Smokies, with the South Division containing the Biloxi Shuckers, the Mississippi Braves, the Montgomery Biscuits and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
In its new farm system landscape, MLB bumped the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp up to Triple-A, while the Jackson (Tennessee) Generals were among the 42 victims of contraction.
The Double-A South will employ six-game series with Mondays as a day off, so there will be no Lookouts games, home or away, on Memorial Day or Labor Day. The 120-game schedule will run through Sept. 19, with no all-star break and no playoffs.
As a Southern League competitor, the Lookouts would play a 70-game first half, participate in an all-star event and then start the second half with an 0-0 record. There will be no such reset button this season.
Mozingo expects a socially distanced AT&T Field in May.
"So much changes on a day-by-day basis," he said. "I don't see a scenario where we open at a huge capacity, but we're going to do our best to make sure people are safe and that people are having a good time out here. We will have to wait and see what May holds for us, but we're definitely going to be distanced to some extent."
The Lookouts will announce game times, promotions and ticket information, including 2020 ticket exchange details, at a later date. The Lookouts online store is open and provides protective masks along with hats, shirts and other items.