After plenty of chats with the pros in baseball who should know, here’s what we can pass along about Spring Training 2021 and planning under unique circumstances. We’ve put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to begin the discussions.
Will there be spring training 2021?
As of now, yes, with facility managers and MLB teams planning on it, whether it be MLB teams collecting deposits for spring-training season tickets or training facilities taking to social media to promote 2021. Plans can change, of course, but those are the plans as of today.
Are the dates set for Spring Training 2021?
Publicly, no. Unofficially, yes. We know the 2021 Major League Baseball season is currently scheduled to begin April 1, so we’ll work backward from that already-announced date. That means the traditional end of spring training should come Sunday, March 28, with March 29-30 devoted to exhibition games, such as the annual Montreal games for the Toronto Blue Jays. That would put the beginning of spring-training games around Feb. 25-26 and reporting dates around Feb. 15-17 for pitchers and catchers.
When will Spring Training 2021 schedules be released?
No idea. There’s no schedule for releasing schedules. Last year we already had schedules by the end of August; the year before they were released around Labor Day.
Picking dates within those time frames for a trip shouldn’t be too risky based on the above dates. Generally speaking, MLB teams don’t spend more than a few days away from their home fields once games begin. If you pick four days to head to spring training, chances are very good you’ll have a home game for at least one of those days—and chances are good any away games will be played a short distance away.
What will Spring Training 2021 look like?
That’s the million-dollar question. If spring training were to be held today under Florida guidelines, based on what NFL teams are allowed by the state, you’d be looking at a 20 percent capacity in outdoor venues with mandatory mask usage in crowds and plenty of social distancing enforced, including ticketless entry and cashless concessions, which many operators had been moving toward anyway. (In fact, expect ticketless entry and cashless concessions no matter what.) Many newer spring-training ballparks feature wraparound concourses, large berms and expansive group areas, all the better for enforcing social distancing. But that’s as of today, and we’re a long way from late February 2021.
What you think Spring Training 2021 will look like depends on how you view future management of the coronavirus pandemic and whether you assume present trends in Florida and Arizona will continue. As of today the numbers in those two states are in serious decline, though positivity rates are still higher than desired. Will things be better by the beginning of February? Answering that question is something you’ll need to decide on your own, but with so many travel-related costs now easily changeable or not subject to those pesky change fees (thanks, United and Delta!), the worst-case scenario is that you make some plans and then either cancel or adjust them as you get closer to late February and early March.