MLB has announced dates for a regular 162-game schedule. Managers across the game are sounding upbeat about spring training starting on time. Are you buying it? Me neither.
The pandemic will once again hang over baseball in 2021. So will the inability of MLB owners and the players' union to compromise. Instead of using this offseason to get out in front of a single-season agreement for 2021, the sides are once again slow-playing talks. Players are making it clear they want to play as many games as possible. Owners are making it clear they don't like the financial results of games played without fans. See the rub?
The discussions that produced the 2020 season were contentious at almost every turn. Especially when it came to the topic of who gets paid what. Expect a similar mess before the 2021 season comes into focus.
My guess is MLB winds up playing something like a 100-game season with the same bells and whistles (universal DH, expanded postseason, etc.) we saw in 2020. I hope I'm wrong about the number of games. But if there is one potential silver lining to a 100-game schedule, it would be that the 2020 and 2021 seasons would produce the equivalent of one lost season over that two-year span. Maybe a lost season would incentivize players and owners alike to avoid a work stoppage when the sides clash over the negotiation of the new collective bargaining agreement before the 2022 season begins. Hey, a guy can hope.