KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Baseball games in empty stadiums could soon be a thing of the past.
Major League Baseball announced on Feb. 1 that the season will start on time, and a limited number of fans will be allowed in the stands for games starting at Spring Training.
Anyone going to a game this upcoming season will not need a COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination or even a temperature check. However, they will have to sit at least six feet apart from others and wear masks unless eating or drinking. There will also be a buffer zone around dugout, meaning no fans in first three rows unless a team puts up Plexiglas.
Fans will also be allowed to watch as soon as Spring Training. If you want to fly to Surprise, Arizona, to see the Royals play in March, you can.
Before last night’s decision, the MLB discussed shortening the season by eight games and delaying the start of the season by a month. They wanted to give the country more time to get more vaccine out there.
However, the player’s union rejected their offer last night.
This means the Royals and the other teams will play a full 162 game season and revert to the same rules as before the pandemic. No expanded playoffs, no seven inning doubleheaders, no starting extra innings with a runner at second base and no DH in the National League.
It’s unclear how many fans will be allowed inside Kauffman Stadium. Most teams will allow around 25% capacity. If that spills over to the regular season, there could be as many as ten thousand fans inside Kauffman Stadium watching games this season. No more cardboard cutouts.
So Salvy Perez, Brad Keller, Danny Duffy – all the Royals pitchers and catchers – will report to spring training in about two weeks with the regular season set to begin on April 1.