Despite uncertainty with the public health situation, Major League Baseball and the Players Association are moving forward with the intention of starting Spring Training on time next month.
Most teams have not yet announced specific dates for players to report to camp, but that typically is by the second week of February. Even if this turns out to be the case, Spring Training figures to look a bit different this year.
Minor League players (excluding Triple-A) may have to wait longer to join their teams depending on the widespread availability of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. There are also some questions as to whether fans will be able to attend Spring Training games.
MLB is currently planning for this possibility, albeit with strict protocols to follow. According to a memo recently sent to teams, fans must wear masks at all times except when eating or drinking, and socially distanced seating will be required.
Furthermore, fans will not be allowed to arrive to the ballpark early for morning workouts or receive autographs during that time unless they are seated as they would be for games, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
Fans will not be permitted to watch morning workouts or other pregame activities “unless those events are held in the ballpark under the same seating plan as for games.”
One of the best parts of Spring Training is the fan experience, where fans can get an up-close look of their favorite players during workouts. While that may not be possible this year for obvious reasons, a silver lining is that fans can still watch the action from afar.
Of course, it will be up to teams to make tickets available. Such would be a welcome sight after most of the 2020 season was played in empty ballparks.
However, that changed during the National League Championship and World Series at Globe Life Field, when a limited amount of tickets were sold to fans.
Dodgers 2021 Spring Training schedule
While it is currently unclear when camps will open, Spring Training schedules have already been finalized for each team. The Los Angeles Dodgers begin Cactus League play on Feb. 27 with a road game against the Chicago Cubs.
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