By: Justin Boder
Four months ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed its 7th World Series title, capping off a chaotic 2020 season. On April 1, baseball will be back in action (with Covid protocols, of course). Many people are wondering whether or not there will be fans in stadiums. Last year, the season came to a halt because of Covid-19. This forced the MLB to have a 60-game regular season (as opposed to its normal 162-game season). To accommodate for this, MLB increased the number of teams that made the playoffs from ten to sixteen. This year, Covid-permitting, the number of games played will go back to normal.
Spring Training (pre-season) has already begun in Arizona and Florida. In early April, all 30 teams will make their regular season debuts. On the topic of fans, the MLB states that “While allowing fans in stadiums will be an evolving process, with varied policies dependent on team and local rules, there is optimism about fans being able to enjoy games in person in 2021.” A highly anticipated part of the baseball season is the all-star game, which comprises the best 78 players in the league. The teams are split up by what conference (National League or American League) certain players are in. The 2021 All-Star Game is set to be on July 13, at Atlanta’s Truist Park. The 2021 postseason has not yet been determined because of the unknown effects of Covid.
A major part of the baseball offseason is free agency, which allows teams to sign new players to be on their respective teams. This year, some of the biggest free agent signings were Trevor Bauer, a former Cy-Young winner, who signed with the reigning champions, the LA Dodgers; George Springer, a former World series champion, signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. There were also some blockbuster trades this offseason. One major trade was between the New York Mets and the Cleveland Indians. The Mets acquired a top short-stop in the league, Francisco Lindor, and pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Another blockbuster trade included the San Diego Padres, who acquired former Cy-Young award winner Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays, in exchange for catcher Francisco Mejia and three prospects.
In terms of the best teams in baseball this year, the New York Yankees are the favorite to win the AL East. In the AL Central, the Minessota Twins are favorited. In the AL West, the Oakland Athletics are favorited. In the NL East, the Atlanta Braves are favorited. In the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs are favorited. In the NL West, the Dodgers are expected to be the best. The Dodgers are the betting favorite to repeat as back-to-back world series champs.