Major League Baseball hopes to return to its full 162-game season and plans to open spring training on time in February, according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred informed teams of those plans on Monday.
The league navigated the coronavirus pandemic last summer using a modified 60-game schedule. More teams made the playoffs, too, and the Los Angeles Dodgers capped the altered campaign with a World Series title. But that season wasn’t without interruptions; multiple teams experienced outbreaks, and schedules were adjusted on the fly.
MLB had hoped to delay the upcoming season by at least a month, according to USA TODAY, allowing more time for players and fans to receive a vaccination for the coronavirus. But the Major League Baseball Players Association advocated against that idea.
Manfred has said teams lost about $3 billion due to the shortened 2020 season. A full season and fans returning to the stands would help remedy those losses. But the pandemic is still a force in the country and world, adding uncertainty to MLB’s plans.
As of now, though, spring training is still set to begin in Arizona and Florida on Feb. 17. Opening day will be April 1. ESPN has already announced the network’s opening day lineup, which includes the Washington Nationals facing the New York Mets.