The planned opening of MLB's spring camp is less than two months away, and nobody in baseball -- not the players, not the owners, not the commissioner -- has any clue whether it's happening. Such is life in the midst of a pandemic.
Discussions between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association about the status of the 2021 season are mimicking those that wound up with a truncated season this year: slow and with scant progress. MLB has suggested pushing the season back a month. The players want to report on time and play a full season.
The talks, sources told ESPN, are at too early a stage to panic about the upcoming season. At the same time, both parties recognize that they haven't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to reaching a deal about playing during the pandemic. The deal they struck March 26 wound up being relitigated for months, only for the commissioner to ultimately impose a 60-game season.
A surprise Christmas gift of a baseball road map is not happening. Both sides are digging in, hopeful but honest with themselves: Figuring out how much they'll be playing in 2021 may well entail another fight, one that comes less than a year before the current collective bargaining agreement expires and potentially throws the sport's 2022 season into question.
It's not quite this simple, not necessarily so binary, but baseball is at a forked road. The end of both roads is the same; there will be baseball in 2021. It's just a matter of how circuitous the path, how tortuous the journey. Here are 20 questions that illustrate those road maps.