Padres load up the truck and gear is headed for Arizona

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Last year, we waited until late July to experience Opening Day. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, spring training was cut short and, hunkered down in our homes, we anxiously awaited the return of baseball.

After the MLBPA turned down Major League Baseball’s proposed delayed start to the 2021 campaign, teams and players are getting ready for their annual pilgrimage to Arizona and Florida as they begin ramping up for the regular season. As is the case for the Padres, whose truck left for Peoria this week.

Fan attendance is still being discussed and it won’t be a normal spring training by any means. Team facilities are strictly off-limits to the public in an attempt to keep players, staff and coaches safe as nationwide vaccination efforts continue.

Padres ready to assemble in the desert to start putting in work

So, again, the season is cautiously moving forward under the cloud of the ongoing pandemic. But, at least this time around, the league and everyone involved has a year of this under their belts and can (hopefully) navigate the risks a bit more tactfully.

Just the thought of getting videos of guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. or Manny Machado back on the field is enough to make me giddy. Not to mention seeing some of the new faces that will be in camp this spring, including Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. And let’s not forget our favorites (I’m looking at you, Jurickson Profar).

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I don’t know about you, but with social distancing all winter long and even holidays looking wildly different this year, I’ve never been more ready for the return of baseball. This year’s Padres are the most exciting team San Diego has seen in decades and even if we may not be able to physically be in the seats at the onset of spring, baseball will soon be in the air once again.