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2021 MLB Season: League May Be Jeopardizing Players, Fans

With MLB Spring Training usually set to begin next month, there are still many unanswered questions heading into the 2021 MLB season. However, fans were gifted with the news that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told teams to prepare for a 162-game season.

Along with a regular 162-game schedule, people were ecstatic to hear that fans would be in-attendance in select cities. MLB looks to follow the suit of the NFL and reduced the capacity at games depending on state requirements.

More news was released Monday, Jan 11 when Bill Shaikin from the New York Times reported that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test won’t be required to attend games during the 2021 MLB season.

This comes as no surprise, as the distribution of vaccines has been moving at a slow pace, and requiring something so difficult to get would allow virtually no fans at games. The success found in the NFL with allowing fans and not requiring a negative test proves Major League Baseball can begin the 2021 MLB season with fans in the stands.

2021 MLB Season: Who will allow it?

In a memo sent to all MLB teams, it stated that MLB, itself, would not require to have tests and vaccines for fans to attend games during the 2021 MLB season, but organizations can determine whether a negative test or proof of vaccination will be mandated.

The memo that was obtained by the New York Times also addressed why Major League Baseball won’t require these protocols to attend games:

“Mass testing of this kind is not practical with the existing rapid testing options, and testing is of limited utility when done days in advance of an event.” The league said its guidance could change in the event of “any major advancement in testing technology.”

While MLB announced their protocols for the 2021 season, the power is given to each MLB team, as they are the true determinates of their regulations for spectators. Teams will have to follow the rules that are set by their cities on how many fans, or if fans can cheer on their team inside the stadium.

2021 MLB Season: How it’s done

Tickets will be sold in “pods” or groups during the regular season and potentially Spring Training, but there has been no confirmed price for tickets. The “pod” seating allows for teams to group tickets and makes sure groups remain six-feet apart during the contest.

MLB began their 2020 season with no spectators, and replaced the roar of the crowd with fake cheers. Eventually, they allowed a limited number of fans during the World Series and the National League Championship Series in Arlington, Texas. Major League Baseball did not require temperatures to be checked upon entry, however, fans were told to remain six-feet apart from others outside of their group and wear a mask at all times unless eating or drinking.

Major League Baseball will look to follow the success the NFL had during their 2020-21 season, as they were able to have a reduced amount of fans from the beginning of their regular season. Fans were also not asked for a negative test, but still were required to maintain social distance protocols and wear a mask at all times.

Allowing a limited amount of fans without a negative test or proof of vaccination is one step closer to returning to a normal 2021 MLB season.

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