2021 Major League Baseball
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The 2021 Major League Baseball season will be the twenty-second season in which the two major leagues, the National League and the American League, are consolidated into a single entity under the authority of the Commissioner, Rob Manfred.
In the months before the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, there was hope that the new year would bring a return to normalcy after the 2020 season had been completely upended by the Coronavirus pandemic. All baseball activities had stopped from mid-March to early July, the season had been reduced to 60 games played without spectators, one team had had to find a temporary home, a number of them had been shut down for days on end by outbreaks of COVID-19, the All-Star Game and numerous other prestigious events had been cancelled, almost everyone had had to take a cut in salary, and teams had suffered massive financial losses, although the final numbers were kept a close secret. But in spite of this, a season had been played, and after a postseason largely taking place in neutral sites, the 2020 World Series had crowned a worthy winner in the Los Angeles Dodgers. The turmoil continued in the first weeks of the off-season, as teams decided to non-tender a number of veteran players for purely financial considerations, creating a glut of free agents with teams unwilling to make significant offers, with a few exceptions, because of the prevailing uncertainty. At the same time, the long-rumored reorganization of the minor leagues was announced in early December, with whole circuits and dozens of teams disappearing. And with Major League Baseball heading into the final season of the Collective Bargaining Agreement reached in 2016, there was uncertainty about whether a full season would be played: heading into late December, owners and the Players Union were at loggerheads on this issue, with players insisting that it would be possible to play a full season, given that health and safety protocols had been successfully implemented in 2020, while owners wanted to delay its start to May and cut it to 140 games, to allow for vaccination, which had just started at that point, to be sufficiently advanced to allow for a more normal environment.
- "MLB announces 2021 regular-season schedule", mlb.com, July 9, 2020. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Major League Baseball, union at odds on whether start of 2021 season should be delayed", USA Today, December 15, 2020.