We’re now in 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging throughout the world. Cases and deaths are surging across the United States, although the vaccines are slowly but surely entering circulation. In any case, that noticeable spike does allow reasonable doubt to enter the equation about whether the upcoming season will start on time. However, as recently noted by Evan Drellich of The Athletic ($), Major League Baseball is intent on having Spring Training and the regular-season start on time.
The question today we have today is whether the fans believe Spring Training actually starts on time? Don’t forget that sometimes our desires don’t always translate into reality. The pandemic remains a delicate situation to navigate through in 2021.
However, fans are holding the generally optimistic viewpoint that Spring Training will start as planned. I can appreciate that sense of optimism following the past year we all have had, even if I have my doubts about how realistic that start date actually is. But as Drellich notes in his article, it seems as if the only way that Spring Training won’t start is if a new set of government restrictions impact the states of Arizona and Florida.
The obvious follow up is whether fans will be allowed to attend Spring Training, and, well, that optimism begins to dissipate a bit. In fact, it is a flip between the yes and no votes of the previous poll. Only 43 percent of those who answered the poll think that fans should be allowed to attend.
Based on how last season unfolded, both clubs and players are likely anxious to start the season on schedule to avoid another shortened edition where revenue and salaries are greatly affected. Even without fans in the stands for probably a good portion of the 2021 season, including Spring Training, considerable money is still be made through the all-powerful television deals set up all around the sport. In other words, money talks, and all parties have their eyes on that financial prize. Fans won’t probably be allowed inside ballparks for a while. Let’s just hope for the sake of everyone that Major League Baseball is responsible and ensures the well-being of all parties when that time comes. But based on how last season unfolded, I do have my doubts.