Major League Baseball may have just settled the 2020 season with its players after three grueling months of labor negotiations, but now some teams have set their sights on hosting fans in ballparks despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Houston Astros apparently are one of those teams.
“That’s the plan,” Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters Wednesday when asked if fans will be allowed in Minute Maid Park. “We still have to go through the player protocol. We’re still focused on that. I think the intent at some point is to get the fans back in the ballpark.”
Crane noted that the “only thing we have to do that can counter” his team’s revenue loss “is get some people in the building and sell some tickets, some merchandise, some cold beer, whatever they’d like to have.”
The league is reportedly leaving it up to individual teams to decide if fans are permitted in stadiums. With select states relaxing their restrictions to combat the virus, some MLB teams are under the impression that opening gates to fans this season is a possibility.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Rangers are another team considering playing in front of fans. Although nothing is official yet, season ticket holders would get first priority and Globe Life Park could be filled to 50 percent capacity should the Rangers go ahead with opening up to fans.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he’s not concerned about player and staff because fans would be far enough away from the field. However, Daniels is worried about fans staying safe.
670 The Score reported that the White Sox are also planning to play in front of fans, while the Cubs have also considered doing the same. The report also says that the current idea is to only fill Guaranteed Rate Field, which seats 40,615, at 20 percent capacity.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez is reportedly considering allowing fans to attend games at Marlins Park as early as July, according to Fox Sports 640 South Florida. The Marlins would be expected to submit a plan to the county detailing how fans would be able to socially distance.
Texas officials announced Wednesday that the state recorded more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases the day prior, setting a new daily record. Houston could become the hardest-hit city in the United States, with numbers also rising in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.
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