Baseball season is scheduled to back in full swing

Conor Sukel, staff writer

After just a 60 game season last season, Major League Baseball (MLB) is currently playing their Spring Training games in preparation for a full 162-game regular season. The 2021 MLB season will have Opening Day on April 1. 

Usually the season begins with just one or two games on the first day regular season games are held. However, the 2021 season will have all 30 teams,15 games, playing on April 1. 

The Texas Rangers are the first team to announce that they will have the stadium filled to maximum capacity. This decision from the Rangers President of Business Operations Neil Leibman days after the Texas Governor lifted all Covid-19 related mandates, including wearing masks in public.  However, the Rangers organization is requiring all in attendance to wear a mask. The Rangers first home game is April 5th and they hope to play in front of upwards 40,000 fans. 

The Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs both will have fans in attendance, but at 20% capacity to allow for proper social distancing. Meaning for the first time in more than a year baseball fans in the greater Chicago area can enjoy watching their teams play in person. 

Currently, only 5 of the 30 MLB teams have yet to announce that fans will be in attendance for games once the season starts. Those teams include the Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, and Atlanta Braves, according to Sporting News. All teams except the Nationals are expected to have fans or have been approved for fan attendance in some capacity but have yet to announce specific details. 

The five teams from California would only be allowed a maximum of 100 fans if the seasons started today. Due to the decline of positive tests in California the teams are expecting to have 20% capacity by the beginning of the season. 

Across the 30 teams the most common amount of fans allowed is 20% capacity. Still many teams are allowing different percentages of capacity ranging from 3% for the Detroit Tigers resulting in about 1,000 fans to 100% for the Texas Rangers that will allow for just over 40,000 fans. 

Several big moves were made during the off season creating some excitement for fans leading up to the 2021 season. The reigning champions, LA Dodgers resigned third baseman Justin Turner and signed free agent and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to a record setting deal in efforts to repeat as World Series Champions. 

The Chicago Cubs have nearly an entirely new starting rotation, including the addition of Jake Arrieta that pitched for the Cubs in their 2016 World Series season. It was widely expected the Cubs would part one of their young pieces such as Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, or Wilson Contreas but all of them will be on the team to start the 2021 season. 

On the Southside of Chicago the White Sox hired a new manager in Tony Larussa. The White Sox also added veterans Pitcher Lance Lynn to their starting rotation and Outfielder Adam Eaton and closer Liam Hendricks. These additions should help the young core of the White Sox improve on the success of their season before a let down in the last two weeks of the regular season in the first round of the playoffs. 

With a full season just a couple of weeks away and teams planning for fan attendance to increase as the season moves along the 2021 season looks to return a sense of normalcy to sports and the world. The off season moves made by several teams should make the season very competitive and fun to watch as fans hope this is the year their team will win the World Series.