Spring Training for Major League Baseball has started

Alexandra Pawlitz, Editor

Major League Baseball officially started spring training Feb. 17, 2021. Between Arizona and Florida, 15 of the 30 MLB teams held their first official workouts, with pitchers and catchers. Thirteen more clubs got underway on Feb. 18, with the final two (Mets and Twins) getting started on Feb. 19. 

MLB players normally participate in 33 games against their rival teams throughout the months of February, March, and April. However, MLB recently announced a revised spring training game schedule, taking into account the health and safety protocols it agreed to with the MLB Players Association in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Cactus League teams in Arizona now will play 28 games over 30 days, while Grapefruit League teams in Florida will play either 24 or 28 games in that span.

The Cactus League will operate as usual in 2021, with each club playing two games apiece against each of the other 14 (not counting some additional exhibition games held in Major League ballparks, beginning on Mar. 28). 

However, the Grapefruit League will be a bit different, because camps in Florida are more spread out geographically. To limit travel, those teams will be split up into groups. Clubs located on the state’s east coast (Astros, Marlins, Mets, Cardinals and Nationals) will play 24 games, only amongst themselves. Those on the west coast will be divided into two main groups that both will play 28 games — one featuring the Blue Jays, Phillies, Tigers and Yankees, and the other featuring the Braves, Rays, Red Sox and Twins. Those groups will not play each other; however, the Orioles and Pirates will split their time between the two.

Even with COVID-19 protocols, the teams in Arizona and Florida are allowed to sell a select number of tickets for spring training games. Various COVID-19 protocols will be in place, including limited capacity, pod-style seating systems and strict rules regarding masks and social distancing. 

Spring training games will continue until Apr. 1, which is the official opening day for MLB. MLB did outline guidelines for allowing fans back into ballparks this year, and at this point, social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced but no vaccine checks or negative COVID-19 test results will be required.

Logan Koutz mentioned, “I am personally just happy to see that we have a normal spring training and that it shows we can have a normal season again. The Reds have been doing good and have a lot of young players who are fighting for their spots. I was sad to see Joey Votto step away for a couple of weeks due to COVID-19, but I’m happy to see he is back and I can’t wait for opening day.”

Danielle Luft mentioned, “I can’t wait until opening day because baseball has always been a big part of my life. I used to go to Detroit Tigers games at Comerica Park when I was younger and I always enjoyed it. With COVID-19 protocols happening at the stadium, I’m sure everything will be fine and MLB will be able to have a normal season this year.”