If you’ve been looking for signs as to what COVID-19 could do to the 2021 baseball season, here’s one:
MLB informs @Indians to hold off on early camp due to recent spike in number of new COVID 19 cases in Arizona. Arizona currently has the highest rate of new cases in the US per the @CDCgov yesterday. No new plan currently on timeline to open camp. https://t.co/9cWNyjlbI8— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) January 5, 2021
As you can see by that tweet, the Indians had planned on having pretty much all players in camp by the end of January — long before the usual official report date for Spring Training, which is generally in the February 10-15 range.
If Cleveland has been told to “hold off on early camp,” I would guess the same is likely the case for any of the 15 teams that train in Arizona.
Per this article on our SB Nation Indians site Let’s Go Tribe (which is also where I found that tweet):
The 2021 Major League Baseball season is still expected to start on time, but it’s far from a guarantee with Coronavirus cases spiking all across the country and in many parts of the world, and a vaccine rollout going far slower than expected.
Arizona, where half the league — including Cleveland — calls home for spring training, reported 5,916 new cases and 253 deaths on Tuesday.
Monday, I posted this article noting that there are still obstacles in the way of MLB starting on time this year, and in today’s “5 bold predictions” article I made “The 2021 MLB season will not start on time” the very first of those predictions. As of the posting time of this article, 58 percent of you said that was the “most likely” of any of my bold predictions to actually happen.
I’ll stand by that. Jeff Passan of ESPN.com writes that there easily could be:
... another argument between MLB and the union over playing a 162-game season, something that multiple high-ranking officials think is inevitable. The union believes Manfred’s powers during a pandemic are limited, particularly compared to other sports’ commissioners’. Owners may be willing to pick that battle anyway.
Repeat after me: “As always, we await developments.”