The 2020 MLB calendar year threw everything at players, coaches, fans, and the sport overall. Baseball always was on a train of possible cancellation, and every single day an outbreak was on the verge of derailing the season. Players had to quarantine in their hotel rooms, and fans had to watch every single game from their home. It tested the waters of mental strength from everyone, and it’s not finished. The carryover from the pandemic is life-altering (and I’m not just talking about baseball). Minor League teams got cut, college programs couldn’t showcase their talents, and teams furloughed employees. It was a year that none of us had ever experienced.
I can’t speak for everyone who’s reading this, but I feel like 2020 tested the mental capacity we all had. Every day you wake up wondering if you’re able to put food on the table or if today is the day you start developing symptoms. It’s a year that we learned about ourselves. While some big leaguers got a chance to participate, a shortened season turned into an existential grind. “The sixty games has been one of the biggest challenges I think I’ve ever gone through and a lot of guys on this team,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told me.
50 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training 🔥
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) December 27, 2020
Will 2021 be different for baseball?
I’ll tell you guys the truth; Spring Training may be similar to Summer Camp 2020. By late February and early March, I don’t think teams will report to their regular facilities. I guess during those thirty days, it’ll work as intrasquad games. However, I do feel like the MLB schedule will get back on track for Opening Day 2021. The NFL was able to have east coast teams travel to the west coast and vice versa, and outside of the San Francisco 49ers, everyone was able to host their respective games. The Toronto Blue Jays may be the ultimate outlier and start their season in Buffalo. If things work out with the NBA and NHL, I don’t see an abbreviated schedule like in 2020.
What about fans?
Fan attendance will be tricky. I think Major League Baseball will have fan attendance depend on location as the NFL does. For Rangers’ fans, that’s good news for the end of Spring Training vs. Milwaukee and the home opener in early April against the Blue Jays. Remember, back in October, 11,000 fans attended the NLCS and World Series. There’s a great chance that the number may jump to at least 22,000 and more. I don’t see baseball putting a strict restriction on fan attendance considering the losses the sport took in 2020 and the desperation for revenue.
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) October 12, 2020
There’s no prediction on what’ll happen in 2021. The hope is that 2020 is behind us, and everyone can look forward to and heading back to normalcy. During the summer, the day-to-day process suffered as baseball fans wanted to head home and watch a Rangers game after dinner, just like the good ole days. “Here’s to a hopeful and regular 2021 baseball year!” Now let’s get back and critique this rebuild.
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