Play ball! That is the call from Major League Baseball as teams have reported for spring training this month. On Sunday, February 28, the MLB 2021 spring training games will begin as the boys of summer prepare for a full 162 game season.
This month, MLB has given out its orders on what teams can do, should do, and expect. As it stands, MLB 2021 will be a 162-game campaign after the players union declined to negotiate on a delayed start to the season. There is a lot to be aware of ahead of the start of spring training games and teams moving north for the first pitch of the season.
MLB will make its second attempt to play amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 season saw a number of rule changes put in place and only 60 regular-season games played. The good news for sports bettors and fans is that MLB 2021 will be more like a normal baseball season.
Like the NBA, NFL, and NHL, the COVID-19 pandemic could see games postponed to slow down or stop the spread of the virus.
When will the MLB 2021 season start?
Grapefruit and Cactus League spring training games will be played from February 28 to March 30. Select teams will host exhibition games at their home ballparks in the days prior to Opening Day.
The regular season will begin Thursday, April 1 with each team playing 162 games unless cancellations occur due to the coronavirus. The All-Star Game will be played on July 13 at Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park) in Atlanta.
The final day of the MLB 2021 regular season will be Sunday, Oct. 3. The playoff Wild Card games will commence on Oct. 5. If the season goes as planned, the World Series will start Tuesday, Oct. 26 and a Game 7 (if needed) will take place Nov. 3.
Are there rule changes to the MLB 2021 season?
Last season’s shortened campaign saw a few changes to the rules such as DHs used in both leagues and teams staying within their region to play games against rivals in the NL and AL.
So far, MLB has reached an agreement with the players union on health and safety protocols. The league will revert to no DH in the NL — which if you are a traditionalist, you will love. The expanded playoffs will be reduced to normal.
However, MLB does have some rule changes that will remain or be different. Doubleheader games will remain seven innings and extra innings will begin with a runner on second base. Teams’ active rosters will return to 26 players. Teams will be allowed a five-man taxi squad for home games. In addition, they will have up to 28 players at either their alternate training sites or Triple-A affiliate ball club. If needed MLB will use neutral sites for the playoffs games if COVID-19 levels are high.
MLB coaches and staff must wear contact tracing devices at all times. All covered individuals must be tested at least every other day. Their household members will be provided with testing during the season, too. Fans will be allowed into stadiums where possible as long as local guidelines allow it.
Who is the favorite to win the World Series 2021?
The LA Dodgers won their first World Series since 1988 last season. The powerhouse club from Chavez Ravine is favored to win the World Series once more.
The latest odds from Bovada look like this:
Los Angeles Dodgers +300
New York Yankees +600
San Diego Padres +750
Chicago White Sox +850
New York Mets +900
Atlanta Braves +1000
Toronto Blue Jays +2000
Minnesota Twins +2200
Oakland Athletics +2400
St. Louis Cardinals +2400
Houston Astros +2500
Tampa Bay Rays +2800
Cincinnati Reds +3500
Washington Nationals +4000
Cleveland Indians +4500
Los Angeles Angels +5000
Boston Red Sox +5000
Chicago Cubs +5500
Philadelphia Phillies +5500
Milwaukee Brewers +5500
Miami Marlins +8000
San Francisco Giants +10000
Seattle Mariners +10000
Baltimore Orioles +12500
Arizona Diamondbacks +12500
Detroit Tigers +12500
Kansas City Royals +12500
Texas Rangers +15000
Colorado Rockies +15000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20000
Ready to win?