When will MLB actually start in 2021? Passan answers 20 burning questions on state of the season


The planned opening of MLB’s spring camp is less than two months away, and nobody in baseball — not the players, not the owners, not the commissioner — has any clue whether it’s happening. Such is life in the midst of a pandemic.

Discussions between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association about the status of the 2021 season are mimicking those that wound up with a truncated season this year: slow and with scant progress. MLB has suggested pushing the season back a month. The players want to report on time and play a full season.

The talks, sources told ESPN, are at too early a stage to panic about the upcoming season. At the same time, both parties recognize that they haven’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to reaching a deal about playing during the pandemic. The deal they struck March 26 wound up being relitigated for months, only for the commissioner to ultimately impose a 60-game season.

A surprise Christmas gift of a baseball road map is not happening. Both sides are digging in, hopeful but honest with themselves: Figuring out how much they’ll be playing in 2021 may well entail another fight — one that comes less than a year before the current collective bargaining agreement expires and potentially throws the sport’s 2022 season into question.

It’s not quite this simple, not necessarily so binary, but baseball is at a forked road. The end of both roads is the same; there will be baseball in 2021. It’s just a matter of how circuitous the path, how tortuous the journey. Here are 20 questions that illustrate those road maps.

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