With the release of spring-training schedules and Triple-A slates, the baseball world takes two more big steps toward normalcy for the 2022 season.
This season MLB schedules were not really impacted by COVID-19 mitigation–unless you were a Toronto Blue Jays player, of course–but in terms of travel and logistics, the 2021 MLB schedule looked pretty much like every other regular-season schedule. Same for the 2022 MLB schedule.
This wasn’t true of the 2021 spring-training and MiLB schedules, which were all drastically overhauled to address COVID-19 mitigation. Of course, spring training was heavily Impacted by mitigation measures, including mask mandates, limited capacities, canceled autograph opportunities and pod seating. And the MiLB schedule–save Triple-A–was delayed by a month, with most teams heeding local mandates regarding limited capacity and pod season, and limited travel. Most MiLB teams played most of their games against just three opponents. If you were a fan of Rocket City taking on Tennessee, you had plenty of chances to see them face off in 2021.
In 2022, however, we’re seeing a return to normalcy on the schedule front. Last week MLB released the 2022 spring training schedule, as we’ve posted on our Spring Training Online site. Take a gander: we have full slates of 15-18 home games, college exhibitions in the Grapefruit League, a potential return of games at Las Vegas Ballpark, and ballparks operating at full capacity. The 2022 spring training schedule is very much a traditional slate of games.
Similarly, the release of Triple-A schedules also signals a return to normalcy. The Triple-A schedule launches on April 5, and teams can expect more travel and expanded destinations across a full 144-game slate. For instance: the St. Paul Saints played before a limited number of opponents in 2021: lots of Iowa Cubs and Omaha Storm Chasers games. In 2022, the Saints will still face off against those two teams 24 times–two six-game series at home and two six-game series on the road–but play against an expanded lineup, including the Nashville Sounds, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Buffalo Bisons and Rochester Red Wings. The Charlotte Knights released a schedule today that calls for a more traditional travel arrangement, including play against the Indianapolis Indians, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Louisville Bats and Syracuse Mets for the first time since 2019.
We’re still awaiting the AA and A releases, but we’re hoping they contain more of the same. Here’s hoping there’s more normalcy awaiting for the 2022 season.