It’s 16 days to opening day, we hope. Every team is in training camp. Some players have opted out for the year for varying reasons related to the pandemic. Some are still considering it. Some, not as many as feared, have tested positive. Freddie Freeman, for one, has been ill from the virus. This is while the country as a whole is seeing record numbers of positive tests. Still, each day that passes with the players in camp means it’s just that much more likely MLB pulls this off, and a season occurs.
With that, MLB has published every team’s 60 game schedule. Part is, as expected, 40 games against intradivisional rivals (10 each). However, instead of the clean/easy 4 each against the teams in the paired opposite league’s division, every team plays 6 against its “natural” rival, 4 against one and 3 each for the other two. Weird and unbalanced? Yep. That’s MLB for you. Take the Tampa Bay Rays as an example—they get 6 games vs the Miami Marlins (3 home, 3 away), 4 vs the Atlanta Braves (2 home, 2 away, all back-to-back right near the start of the season), and 3 each vs the New York Mets (all away) and Philadelphia Phillies (all at home) to end the season. Seeing as the Marlins will be one of the weakest teams, 2 extra games against them is a slight advantage for the Rays.
Meanwhile, NPB is supposed to start allowing up to 5k fans per game into their stadiums for games this week. KBO was planning to allow up to 7k last week, but it didn’t happen. The South Korean health authority stated they were fine with KBO’s plan for people inside the stadiums themselves but that there was no good way to plan for the people massing together entering or exiting the stadiums nor on mass transit. Those are good points that US sports leagues will have to consider also before ever letting in significant numbers of fans…especially considering the infection rate in South Korea is much, much lower than it is here.