It’s a start
Spring Training is back! But it won’t be your typical Spring Training to say the least. This year will be a whole New Look for Spring Training. Many changes will be in effect for 2021 in both the Cactus and Grapefruit League surrounding the current pandemic. The fan and player experience will be different as well as the accustomed Spring Training player interaction for us at MaxBat.
There will be fewer players and fewer teams per organization. Big League camps are allowed to invite 75 players to the big-league portion. Major League and AAA players will proceed at the first portion of camp. The A and AA players arrive after the big clubs pack up and head back to their respective locations. The theory behind this is to allow for more social distancing. Making it easier to follow Coronavirus protocols, and to prevent the spread within the whole organization.
New Things this Spring Training
The schedules will be different. Teams are roughly scheduled to play 24 to 28 games in 30 days based on their geographical locations in Florida and Arizona. Managers have the option to play 5 or 7 inning ball games. The fan capacities will be limited to roughly 25% and be required to socially distance and sit in pods. Masks will be required, concession stand purchases will be cashless transactions, and autographs are a no-go from players to fans.
Players and organizational staff members will be required to wear electronic contact tracing wristbands during all group activities. This includes games, practices, and other workouts in team facilities and while traveling. Failure to comply could result in disciplinary actions as well as fines.
Regular Season Changes
As far as the regular season, teams will be allowed a 28-man roster through August. This includes a 5 man “taxi squad” when traveling on the road with at least one catcher in the event of a positive test to fill the roster. Strict quarantine practices will be followed on the road as well. Players will be able to leave the team hotel for outside exercise and to dine, just not at venues that are deemed a bar or club venues. No indoor dining is allowed and they cannot be in a setting with a group of more than 10 individuals.
Each team will also be designating a mask enforcement advisor. All non-playing participants, bullpen members, and staff must be required to wear a mask properly above the nose at all times. Players will receive 2 written warnings before being fined $150 per infraction.
With that being said, let’s hope for a full and healthy season! We’re glad baseball is back and the weather in Minnesota is starting to feel more spring-like with some mild 40-degree temperatures for a few days! Play Ball!