If I had asked this question at the end of March — or for that matter even one week ago — I would have answered no. Maybe there was a sliver of hope back then, but now it’s more than a sliver of hope. It’s a possibility.
With the MLB returning in the COVID-19 pandemic, there obviously have to be health protocols. The MLB has found some — and they’re good for that matter — but they say only one thing about fans in the whole 101 page document.
If and when play resumes with fans, clubs must adhere to all requirements of the 2020 (Best Stadium Operating Practices) unless MLB specifically provides otherwise.
This basically means that it could go either way. Otherwise this 101 page document about health in the 2020 season doesn’t specifically say. That could be taken for good news, but I just take it as protocol.
Texas governor Greg Abbott says that he will allow fans to Astros and Rangers games despite recent developments. In fact, he even released a statement about it:
We’re not changing that standard right now. For one, we hope to have the coronavirus better under control. For another, we look forward to working with the teams, and to find out their strategies to males sure that they will be able to open their stadiums up safely. Know this, and that is, if those teams could not make the case to the public that their stadiums will be safe, the public will not show up, so I feel confident we will find safe ways to open up the stadiums and have fans in the stands, watching Major League Baseball.
That sounds reassuring, although I doubt that governors will get control to decide if ballparks will open up or not. In fact, it seems like Rob Manfred will have to make a final decision soon. Nonetheless, this is good news. But don’t worry because I have two more pieces of good news:
- Illinois governor JB Pritzker says that he will allow fans to ballparks if it remains under 20% capacity. This likely won’t be a problem for the White Sox, although the Cubs might have some difficulties (Just kidding).
- Jim Crane said “that’s the plan” when asked if he would allow fans to Minute Maid Park.
At this point, it’s still up in the air whether fans will be able to come to games. But there are still other things that we have to take into account:
- COVID-19 spreads worse outdoors
- Seats could be socially distanced
- People could wear masks
- Temperatures could be screened upon entry
- Obvious protocols could be in place (like no sitting in someone else’s seat and displaying basic hygiene when seated)
Honestly, I do think that fans will be in the stands to watch baseball this year, although it will be a lot different than normal baseball.
Thank you for reading!