When the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the MLB season last March, many questions were presented about the way the league would adapt due to state and federal restrictions. About a year after the first lockdowns, Spring Training is underway in Arizona and Florida and the regular season is on deck. Spring training games began on Sunday, Feb. 28, with the rollout of a 162 game schedule. The season opener is slated for Thursday, April 1.
It’s no joke that there are still questions lingering about the up-and-coming season. As vaccines continue to rollout, many fans are left wondering how and if they can even attend games at all. I myself have spent many years of my life attending at least one Milwaukee Brewers game a year. The idea that I might have to go one more year without attending a ball game saddens me. Each team has kept their fans in the know as the MLB rolled out a set of guidelines. As of now, the MLB has no plans for vaccine checks or COVID-19 tests being administered prior to entering the ballpark, but social distancing and masks are expected to be required. This information is all subject to change. CBS News is currently tracking each team's status on fan allowance. For those who are interested, you can find the information here: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/which-mlb-teams-will-allow-fans-at-the-ballpark-tracking-every-clubs-attendance-plan-to-start-2021-season/
During the offseason, MLB.com put together a list of the top 100 prospects for this 2021 season. Wander Franco (Tampa Bay Rays, SS), Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles, C), and Spencer Torkelson (Detroit Tigers, 1B) topped the list with high expectations for the three ballplayers. With the unusual 2020 season, not many rookies are listed as top prospects but they are still something many should keep their eye on. Randy Arozarena, a right fielder, is regarded by many to be a difference-maker this season with the Rays. Last post-season, Arozarena claimed the American League Championship Series MVP title. Arozarena is also considered a top 50 prospect this season.
The defending World Series champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are the favorites going into this 2021 season. The Dodgers defeated the Rays in six games (4-2) last October. Many vital players on their LA’s roster will once again return to the field this year in hopes of claiming the Commissioner's Trophy with odds of +350. However, with odds of +550, the New York Yankees are also considered to be World Series contenders. Bringing back many key players, the Yankees didn’t make many this offseason. Both organizations have a deep history in baseball and in their respective cities so, as the two preseason favorites, this season is bound to be interesting.