Things have changed.
The Padres are loaded. George Springer is a Blue Jay. And spring training seems headed for a later start.
But just like last year, baseball season will go on.
On Monday, officials from Arizona’s spring training Cactus League sent a letter to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred requesting a delayed start to spring training.
“With one of the nation’s highest infection rates — we believe it wise to delay the start of spring training to allow for the COVID-19 situation to improve here,” read the letter, which was originally shared by KPNX TV’s Brahm Resnik and later published by CBS Sports.
The key word there is delay, not cancellation.
Most people expect that spring training will eventually happen. The season will too. And for baseball fans hoping to see their teams on the field, that should be good enough.
This year will be different, no doubt. But the show will go on. And that should also give bettors some confidence as they turn their attention toward baseball season.
In this week’s installment of Penn Sportsbooks’ Pick Play, we’ll take a look at Pennsylvania’s pro teams, the Phillies and Pirates, and cover their futures odds at the top PA online betting apps.
Phillies tied for seventh in NL futures at DraftKings Sportsbook
If the previous dates hold, pitchers and catchers will report in just a few short weeks and the first spring training games will be played on Feb. 27. Many people expect those dates may be pushed back somewhat, but few doubt that the season is in peril.
So it makes sense to examine the odds for the upcoming season. And at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Philadelphia Phillies are tied for seventh in National League futures. At press time, the Phillies are priced at +2000 to win the National League.
The Phillies haven’t made any monster moves this offseason, but have kept their roster largely intact, retaining catcher J.T. Realmuto in November. So Philadelphia remains in the middle of the National League as far as futures go. The favorites are as follows:
- Dodgers: +225
- Padres: +380
- Braves: +440
- Mets: +600
- Reds: +1400
- Nationals: +1600
- Cubs/Phillies: +2000
The Pirates are last in National League, World Series futures
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates have spent their offseason trading away starting players for prospects. Those moves have made the Pirates dead last in both World Series futures and National League futures as well. Pittsburgh traded slugger Josh Bell in December.
They swapped starting pitcher Jameson Taillon last week. And an article at CBS Sports suggests that the team might trade away a few more starters before the season begins.
So with a roster heavy on developmental players, it’s no surprise Pittsburgh is a futures long shot. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Pirates at +10000 in National League odds. Their World Series futures are set at the same price.
Tale of two baseball cities in PA
So as the calendar swings into February, Pennsylvania baseball fans have much different outlooks. The Phillies are in the middle of the pack. They should be a pretty good team and with a little luck might be even better. But across the state in Pittsburgh, the outlook seems bleak.
There’s little hope for the Pirates.
But baseball season will be coming soon. And some things have changed.
Many teams will look completely different than last year.
But with the likelihood of games on the schedule and bets on the board, there is plenty to plenty to be thankful for.
So bring on the baseball season.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta