Boston Red Sox: Key 2021 spring training dates and changes
Everything you need to know about Red Sox spring training this year
Spring Training is right around the corner. Major League Baseball recently confirmed the plan to start the 2021 season on time and with that looming question sufficiently addressed, the Boston Red Sox have released their schedule for training camp.
Truck Day, the annual event foreshadowing the start of spring training, is set for February 8. That’s less than one week away! The Red Sox typically make a spectacle of loading up the truck with equipment that will be shipped to Fort Myers in order to generate excitement about the upcoming season. That probably won’t be the case this year with the city of Boston discouraging the gathering of large crowds due to the ongoing pandemic.
Pitchers and catchers report to camp for their first full workout on February 17. The rest of the team will join them for the first full-squad workout on February 22.
The Red Sox are scheduled to begin Grapefruit League action on February 27. The team is planning to allow fans for home games at JetBlue Park at about 24 percent capacity, which is approximately 2,400 fans for each game.
Tickets will be sold in socially distanced “pods” of 2-4 seats to allow at least six feet of space between groups. Families and friends are welcome to sit together, as long as there aren’t more than four of you.
This could lead to some awkward moments that could determine who falls to the bottom of the hierarchy in a group of friends. Who is the odd man out that has to sit alone in a group of five? Will they even be allowed to buy a pod for themselves or do they need to join a group of strangers? Limiting how many fans can sit together makes sense for safety purposes but keep this in mind if you’re traveling in a larger group and plan accordingly.
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All workouts at JetBlue Park are closed to the public and there will be no tours of the ballpark this year. These are typically opportunities where fans can seek autographs from the players but we won’t have that option this year with the club being cautious about the proximity between fans and the players.
The rule changes are an unfortunate necessity to protect against the spread of COVID-19. While safety should be the priority, these changes partially deprive fans of the appeal that draws them to Florida for spring training each year. Well, that and the warmer weather.
The Red Sox have some new additions to the roster this season who will get the opportunity to work with their new teammates for the first time during camp. Alex Cora has returned as the manager after a one-year hiatus while serving a suspension. Those factors will lead to a different vibe from what we saw in camp a year ago.
We can only hope that the outcome of spring training is vastly different from last year when camp was interrupted by the pandemic. A hiatus that lasted several months followed by a brief summer camp leading into a 60-game season left many players unprepared, resulting in some disappointing performances from a few players the Red Sox thought they could rely on.
Holding spring training during the pandemic will lead to some significant changes for the fan experience but a full camp should bring a return to relative normalcy for the players. We expect that will benefit those who are aiming for a bounce-back season and should help the Red Sox improve upon last year’s dismal last-place finish.