TAMPA, Fla. — It's an exciting day for baseball fans in Tampa Bay, as pitchers and catchers are reporting for spring training today for the Rays in Port Charlotte.
MLB's spring training struck out last year as the pandemic started, but things are looking more organized this season.
What You Need To Know
- Rays pitchers and catchers report Wednesday to Port Charlotte for Spring Training
- Rays workouts start Feb. 23, Spring Training games start Feb. 28
- It's Time For Spring Training: Here's What You Need to Know
The Rays and other teams will be limiting the number of fans attending games once they start later this month.
Capacity will be capped at 25%, so that's around 1,500-2,000 fans per game.
Limited fans will mean less people traveling to Florida from other parts of the country to watch Grapefruit League spring training games, and that means a smaller financial impact for the tourism industry.
However a more orderly spring training could mean a stronger and more competitive upcoming season.
Spectrum Sports 360 anchor Mike Cairns says expect big things from the Rays again this season.
"It's tough. The American League East is just brutal to get through, and the Rays were the best team in the American League last year. I don't see that changing. I think they will be one of the top two or three teams in the American League this year. Getting through the east is brutal when you have to play the Red Sox as many times and the Yankees as many times as they have to, so they are going to be battle tested," Cairns said.
And perhaps just not battle tested on the field.
The Rays will have to have just as strong an off-field game in order to stay healthy and avoid any big Covid outbreaks that threatened several teams last year.
Most MLB teams will have full team workouts starting next week.