Nearly a year ago, MLB’s 2020 preseason was right on schedule, with spring training in both the Cactus League and Grapefruit League kicking off without a hitch. Despite troubling news surrounding COVID-19 at the time, the virus had yet to take full effect in the United States and precautions to prevent spread of the virus had yet to be implemented. Pitchers and catchers reported as usual and scheduled games with full in-game attendance were allowed to be played beginning in late February. On March 12, however, all spring training activities were suspended as the nation’s focus shifted entirely on COVID-19.
As recently as January 11, MLB has stated its intention to begin the season as scheduled and has informed teams to prepare for spring training to begin on February 17. This optimistic timeline now appears to be in jeopardy as the Cactus League has expressed a desire to push back the start of spring training with concerns related to COVID-19.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, back in December, MLB proposed delaying the start of the season to the player’s union, but it did not go far. At this point the conversation has not resumed. As Rosenthal puts it, “[i]n a development that will surprise no one, considering the recent tension and distrust between the parties, the two sides are not engaged in conversations on a possible delay.”
At the moment, MLB remains on track with the scheduled start for spring training, but the statement released by the Cactus League indicates that there is a non-zero chance things could change.
With vaccines now being distributed and administered there is reason to be optimistic that we can look forward to an MLB season that more closely resembles a normal year rather than last year’s 60-game season. But if spring training indeed does get delayed, it would be the first domino to fall in what could be a cascading effect that could ripple all the way through to the postseason. With just over three weeks to go until spring training begins, this will be a story to keep an eye on.
As for how this affects the Rockies, having a full season with as much in-game attendance as possible is critical, as it makes up a larger proportion of their revenue in comparison to many other MLB teams. Hopefully for Rockies fans and all fans across MLB, the season can be played safely as it is currently scheduled.
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The deadline for Hall of Fame voting has passed and the 2021 class will include...zero inductees. Curt Schilling led all candidates with 71.1% of votes but fell short of the 75% threshold which was somewhat impacted by “backlash against Schilling’s public and social media comments” according to Bradford Doolittle of ESPN. Schilling has submitted a formal request to the HOF that he not be included in next year’s ballot, which would be his tenth and final year of eligibility. Todd Helton received a total of 180 votes which amounted to 44.9% of ballots in his third year of eligibility. This was a big jump from the 116 votes (29.2%) he received last year and has him on a good trajectory to Cooperstown.
Leave it to Thomas Harding to give us our weekly dose of pleasant Colorado Rockies memories. In this week’s edition, he highlights the best moments at Coors Field, home to Rockies baseball since 1995. If you guessed that the first Rockies game ever played there that ended in a walk-off home run by Dante Bichette would make the list, you’d be right. That moment came in at fourth on the list and was topped only by three games, all of which happened within a 30-day stretch in 2007 that defined Rocktober and made the franchise’s only appearance in the World Series possible.
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