Spring Training

Elizabeth Flatley 

With the smell of fresh newly cut grass, the dry chalk in the air, and sprinklers’ tuttering of geriatric pipes, the new major league baseball season has been officially declared to begin on Saturday, February 27th with each of the 30 baseball teams participating in grapefruit and cactus leagues. The regular 2021 season will start with all 30 of the major league teams playing the opening game on Thursday, April 1st. The MLB is planning on having the typical 162-game campaign. Many skeptical people had desired safer conditions and created more time for a vaccination period which created much safer conditions. Last season, no attendance was allowed in stadiums due to the growing amount of COVID-19 numbers. This year, 2021 has promised for better and safer regulations where a limited number of masked crowds can purchase tickets in socially distanced “pods” in stands. USA Today’s Bob Nightingale indicated that the league does not intend to require proof of vaccination or negative tests from fans at the onset of the spring. It’s unclear if and/or when the league will revisit their stance on testing. . The games will remain in a regulation length: nine innings. The runner-on-second-in-extras rule has not been yet implemented in the new season to make it more entertaining either. Although these changes to the new year led to excitement for the new season, reports in the cactus league have not been promising. Arizona’s cactus league has told MLB that they want to postpone spring training due to the spread and high infection rate of Maricopa County’s high COVID infection rate.