The long trek to the start of the regular season begins this week with training camps opening up on time in Florida and Arizona — although with many of the same COVID-19 protocols in place as during the 2020 season.
For now, Opening Day on April 1 is on schedule — the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers start up at the Colorado Rockies — and the 108-page operations manual for 2021 includes shorter spring training games, mandatory wearing of contact-tracing devices, fines for not wearing masks properly and bans on indoor dining and going to movie theaters.
Fans will be allowed to attend spring training games in limited numbers; Florida teams will limit cross-state travel for games; and players will face a five-day quarantine when first reporting to camp. Otherwise, it’s all systems normal — as normal as they can be, anyway.
As players head to spring training, let’s take a run around the majors to see the biggest spring training story to watch for each team and some key players to keep an eye on.