The 2021 Major League Baseball season is likely to begin on time according to Evan Drelich of The Athletic. When the season was set to begin has been up in the air a bit given all that’s going on in this country. The rolling out of a COVID-19 vaccine, which we now have, has been slower than we had hoped here in the United States of America.

Major League Baseball owners want to get as many fans into the stands as they can. That means more revenue. In 2020 there were no fans in the stands until the playoffs began, and only in the Texas hub. But we’ve seen the NFL season take place, and in most cities there have been limited numbers of fans allowed – though none have yet played near full capacity. We aren’t likely to see that happen in 2021 for Major League Baseball, either. But it does seem likely that there will be at least some fans at games in the upcoming season. How many may vary based on a whole lot of information that we just don’t have available yet (where a team plays, how the vaccine rollout continues to go, etc).

So why has their been talk of a delay to the start of the season? Well, it’s pretty simple. The owners want to spend less money because they won’t have a full stadium of fans, and that cuts into the bottom line. The longer they delay, the more likely it is that they can have more fans at the games they do play. However, the players have told Major League Baseball that they have no plans in agreeing to another shortened season. If they don’t agree to it, then the current collective bargaining agreement says the season must go on as scheduled.

Unless there’s a change in the stance for the players, then spring training is expected to begin on February 16th and 17th depending on which team we’re talking about. Time flies, apparently, because that’s just six weeks from now.

Reds news and notes

Baseball America has released their most recent mock draft, if you are into that sort of thing. The Cincinnati Reds own the #17 overall pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft. The mock draft has Cincinnati taking a high school shortstop as things stand right now. A lot of things can likely change between now and July, though. Seasons will likely be played by nearly every high school and college in the country, and that’s going to lead to guys rising, and falling on draft boards.

Over at Red Reporter, Wick Terrell looks at the shortstop market and how perhaps having more than a few options is really slowing down the shortstop market. The trade market is there, too – but as noted in the article, it seems that teams may prefer to just wait it out for the stars that are there to reach free agency next offseason rather than make a big trade of talent for one season.

19 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    From a baseball standpoint, I feel it favors the Reds to have a full season. Despite losing Bauer and Disco, pitching is still the strength of this team relative to the others in the division….that the Reds can endure the 162 game grind.

    That said, they need to reinforce the bullpen with players worthy of major league contracts.

    A quality shortstop will fall to the Reds if they’re patient, or at least willing to deal prospects. I’m comfortable trading any combination of players outside our top 4.

  2. Rednat

    thank you Doug for the update. i am excited. i just hope baseball doesn’t become a country club sport where it will cost hundreds of dollars for a ticket. or like the masters where you have to know somebody who knows somebody to get in. also i am so scared about buying tickets on line but it seems like with basketball and football since the pandemic that is the only way to purchase tickets as everything has gone “paperless”. i hope to be able to walk up to the ticket booth this summer to buy a real ticket.

    • RedsFan11

      Agree with it or not, there will be a 0% chance of full capacity in stadiums for opening day, and probably all year. So the one Reds game a year where it actually cost $100+ dollars for a standing room ticket, will now cost anywhere from $200-$400.

      Unfortunately that means for most, myself included, it will be a second straight missed opening day. But after that, I would think tickets will be reasonable especially on a cold weeknight in April. And you better believe I will be there then!

  3. RedsFan11

    I have to believe that the players are all in on a full season, and wont change this stance. Uncertainty faces them again with the CBA. I think the majority believe the full season $salary severely outweighs any potential Covid risk.

    Owners wont be able to have full capacity in some if not all stadiums for some if not all year. So of course I understand them trying to delay as much as I am not happy about it. Maybe it will cause some to push their state govt’s to allow higher capacity.

  4. A. Coleman

    Great to hear the season will start on time, but I think it’s foolish to expect this to be anything approaching a “normal” season regardless. There is simply still too much uncertainty about the virus, especially with the reported new strains that are popping up.

    I fear we are not going to have a “normal” baseball season until 2022 at the earliest. I feel sad for the players who have lost some of their prime years to this virus, but it truly is a once-in-a-century event, and they just happened to have the bad luck of playing at this time.

  5. SteveLV

    Capacity restrictions are largely a function of the authority that is in place due to Governors declaring a state of emergency. States of emergency declarations are in place primarily due to the concern regarding overrunning the health care systems and unavoidable risk of essential workers.
    Once we get into March, despite the slow start to vaccination, a lot of people will have been vaccinated or will have some immunity due to having had the virus. At that point, cases and hospitalizations will naturally decrease and the continued need for states of emergency will be questioned by Governors and the public, and ultimately eliminated.
    I think by sometime around May, restrictions on gatherings will be gone. We may have vaccinated most everyone who wants a vaccine, but even if it’s half that, that’s a lot of people who want to go to baseball games who are going to be completely comfortable doing so. And there a lot of people who won’t get vaccinated, but are comfortable anyway.
    Once there is no real risk to society generally(overrunning hospitals) and unavoidable risk for essential workers, we’ll get back to allowing people to do what they are comfortable doing. I’d be surprised if that isn’t the case by July 4th

  6. docproc

    So Doug, what do you think are the chances that fans will be allowed in the Cactus League stands in March?

  7. Bill J

    Let’s hope the scouts evaluation skills are good and the front office will not keep them on the farm until they’re 25 or 26 when they’re ready at 22 or 23. 2 of the last 4 #1 Reds draft choices were said to be best college hitters 1 has played some the other has not played in MLB. The Phillies drafted the best hitter in college 2018 and was in their lineup last year.

    • DaveCT

      Not to mention the development people.

      That said, the TB Rays are often cited here as a good model for player development, and they move their prospects almost notoriously slowly. SS Willy Adames took several years to arrive after being acquire, in part because he was so young. Plus the player often dictates how quickly they move.

      Senzel is a good example after he was so universally rated as the best college hitter in the draft. IDK if he had as much trouble staying on the field in school as he does as a pro, but you’d think with the resources used in scouting him we would have figured that part out. So how do you predict whether a guys body is prone to breaking down. Question: Does anyone remember if it was disclosed Senzel had vertigo prior to the draft. I seem to remember it coming out after. But business is business.

      • BK

        Senzel started 160 of 161 games in his three years at Tennessee. The one missed start was as a freshman. There were no durability questions when he was drafted.

      • DaveCT

        Thanks. It’s all just speculation anyway (above) but perhaps some guys’ bodies just don’t hold up to the pro schedule, seen more in young pitchers.

  8. TR1

    I know it realistically won’t happen next CBA, but players and owners need to agree to a revenue sharing system. MLB players are right to want to play the whole season at full pay per their contracts/current CBA. However, to expect owners revenues to be only one to take hit this season is unfair. It is what it is, but at least players/owners share windfall/losses in other sports each subsequent year. The players will get their money this year, but at the expense of contracts over the next decade. Wonder if Reds payroll is under $100 million in 2022. Votto, Moose, Castellanos, Akayama, and rest AAA players.

  9. Doc

    Which means that people like me, a 71 year old, will still be waiting for vaccine while young healthy athletes are getting it on a special deal.

    • Mark Moore


      Yep – and that situation really ticks me off!!

    • MBS

      Athletes won’t get early access to the vaccine. I can’t imagine any state allowing that, until the vulnerable population is treated. I can see them getting it over me a healthy 40 something. I will probably be one of the last to receive it, and I’m ok with that.

    • doofus

      “Athletes won’t get early access to the vaccine.”

      Thirty something members of Congress are receiving the vaccine. It is not hard to see young athletes receiving shots before 60+ year olds like me and my fellow curmudgeons on this forum. The privileged in any society are always at the front of the line.

  10. Mark Moore

    Our old friend Curt Casali may get the chance to catch Disco again … he just signed with the Giants per MLBTR.

    • TR1

      What was he projected to earn in arbitration? Would figure slightly more than 1.5 mil.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      I wish him well. I liked Casali.