Baseball

Will the 2021 MLB Season Start On Time?

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Will we see a 2021 Major League Baseball season? That’s a great question,  but you shouldn’t be optimistic for the season starting on time, despite the fact several MLB teams releases their schedules on Thursday.

It’s a curious move, releasing next season’s schedule given the fact that 2020’s shortened 60-game season schedule is due to start July 23rd, and that players are opting out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19.  

Even with an April 1, 2021 debut, there are still no confirmed dates for spring training either. COVID-19 is also clearly not going away anytime soon, especially in the U.S., and that is the biggest factor leading us to doubt about the MLB playing 162 games in 2021.

https://twitter.com/tigers/status/1281272243922837505

High Profile Players Opting Out

There are also a lot of players opting out for 2020, as well. The latest was the San Francisco Giants Buster Posey who opted out because he and his wife adopted twin girls who were born prematurely. premature. Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher David Price has already said he will not play. Mike Trout is another star player who’s mulling his options with his wife pregnant. He’s also concerned about jeopardizing his family.

By the Numbers

It’s great to speculate on why the 2021 season may or may not happen, but let’s look at some numbers that indicate why the season could be in doubt. 

The United States has the highest rates of COVID-19, since passing China in March. The U.S. has 3,117,946 cases with 133,290 deaths. That’s followed by Brazil 1,755,779, who has reported 69,184 deaths, then India with 793,802 and 21,604 dead.

COVID-19 continues to ravage the U.S.. Fueled by cavalier openings of states like Florida and Texas, and a with White House determined to resurrect the economy at all costs, means that baseball is in jeopardy for 2020 let alone 2021.

Florida And Arizona Two States With High Numbers of Cases

Florida is breaking records on a daily basis, now with 244,000 confirmed cases and 4,101 deaths.  As you know, currently two teams, the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, play in Florida, and 15 teams hold spring training every season in Florida for the Grapefruit League.

In the state of Arizona, there are 113,000 confirmed cases and one in four tests is coming back positive. Currently, the Arizona Diamondbacks are practicing now, and scheduled to take on the San Diego Padres on July 24. I still believe Arizona might have to move their workouts and games should things continue to go this route.

It also seriously jeopardizes potential Cactus League Play for 2021 as well given the COVID-19 rates in the state. 

2021 Major League Baseball Cactus League Training Sites

What’s this all leading too?

It’s all leading to the fact that baseball in 2020 could be shut down altogether, let alone open up on time in 2021. As a fan, it’s better to air on the side of pessimism. I wouldn’t put your money on the 2021 season starting on April 1st. 

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Ben has been closely following sports since the late 1980s and began writing about them in the 90s. Armed with a BA, an associate certificate, and a diploma, he brings a highly educated perspective to sports betting. Specializing in hockey, baseball, and tech, Ben has contributed many outlets and is a frequent contributor to the CKNW radio station.