Cardboard cutouts in the stands and pumped in crowd noise have gotten us by to this point in a Major League Baseball season without spectators. But when we get to the postseason, the energy the home crowd brings surely will be missed.
But there may be hope for having fans in attendance during the late stages of the postseason.
Speaking in a virtual event put on by Hofstra University’s business school, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday said he anticipates the postseason to be played out in a bubble, beginning with the Division Series, and he hopes to have fans at some of the games.
“I’m hopeful that the World Series and the LCS we will have limited fan capacity,” Manfred said, via The Athletic’s Evan Drellich. “I think it’s important for us to start back down the road. Obviously it’ll be limited numbers, socially distanced, protection provided for the fans in terms of temperature checks and the like. Kind of the pods like you saw in some of the NFL games. We’ll probably use that same theory. But I do think it’s important as we look forward to 2021 to get back to the idea that live sports, they’re generally outdoors, at least our games. And it’s something that we can get back to.
“Again, I hope for the postseason, we’ll have some limited fan presence in ballparks. I think it would be a good thing just in terms of getting people used to the idea being back in the ballpark, and again, I think the trick in terms of what’s going to happen next year, it’s dependent on the virus. The virus controls and it’s ‘do you have a vaccine? Are we still seeing spikes?’ That’s going to drive what local governments are going to allow us to do.”
Manfred also mentioned the health experts MLB has been consulting expect a vaccine to be widely distributed to the public by spring of next year.
So if fans can’t attend the World Series, at least there’s a decent shot at going to the ballpark in 2021.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images