Welcome to the pandemic era, Season 2.
Lee Hacksaw Hamilton issues bulletin that it is highly doubtful MLB Spring Training will open on time given recent pandemic spikes and owners are willing to delay the start of the regular season until May. In the words of one owner, "I don't see a snowball's chance in hell that spring training can start with protocols in place. To have 162 games at the normal time without players being vaccinated, that's just crazy." Another anonymous owner suggests the season being shortened to anywhere between 80 and 120 games. Any move to shorten or move the season dates must be negotiated by the owners and Major League Baseball Players Association. As has been the case for nearly a year, the situation remains fluid - but seems like a good bet that empty stadiums and apocalyptic fan cutouts will be the norm for much of the 2021 season. Expect more contentious negotiations on matters such as the universal DH, 7-inning doubleheaders, playoff formats and regular season tie-breaker rules for extra innings.