If you need a break from yesterday’s stark reminder that, yes, it can happen here… well, maybe not.
Baseball America passes along news that MLB has decreed—as expected—that Spring Training will be staggered: MLB and AAA players first, then everybody else.
The upshot is that most of the minor leagues will be delayed in 2021.
This, of course, presuming that MLB and AAA start on time in about six weeks. With a late March/early April start, that would have the minors beginning in May.
While the season may be pushed into September/October, it will reportedly be at the expense of playoffs. To reduce travel, it would appear that the schedule will be six days on, one day off. Essentially, homestands (if/when fans are allowed to attend) will be every other week.
As BA noted, players and operators will both actually like this arrangement. The former because even a day with travel, which you can probably bank on being optimized for as short a trip as possible between stops, they’re not playing at least once a week vs. once or twice a month. The latter will like it because homestands will be limited to six days at a time and every homestand will have weekend games.
Like many of the COVID-19 protocols, I think there should be concern that some of these “temporary” things will become permanent. Fans may not be as keen on seeing the same opposing team that long; It was bad enough when Hagerstown would play Delmarva and Lakewood 27-30 times a year. While it matters not to me, autograph seekers will probably be cut off and like the media at the MLB level, organizations may decide they like having that remove from the fans.
TL;DR – It’s another year of uncertainty and anxiety. 2020 rages on…