Precise numbers: How many fans can attend each MLB opening day game?
The cardboard cutouts that filled seats in empty stadiums during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season will be replaced by actual humans in 2021. From a potential capacity crowd of 40,518 in Texas to just 1,275 in Toronto’s spring training site in Florida, teams will open the regular season with fans.
Tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of two, four and sometimes six seats and will be issued digitally via the MLB Ballpark app. Season-ticket holders will receive priority access for tickets in most cities.
Fans above the age of 2 in every stadium will be required to wear face coverings except when they are actively eating or drinking in their seats, and all in-stadium transactions for food, beverage and merchandise will be cashless.
Crowd sizes will vary across the country, and teams hope to increase capacity as state and local governments allow. A closer look at the plans and protocols of each individual club:
Chase Field in Phoenix will open the regular season at 25% capacity, with about 12,000 fans in the 48,519-seat stadium.
Coors Field in Denver will open at 42.6% capacity, with 21,363 fans allowed in the 50,144-seat stadium. A limited number of tickets will be available for single-game sales.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
A mid-March approval for Los Angeles County to move into the less-restrictive red tier of California’s coronavirus guidelines will allow the Dodgers to sell 20% of their seats — about 11,000 tickets — in Chavez Ravine.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
San Diego County’s move into the red tier will allow the Padres to sell 20% of the seats — approximately 10,000 tickets — in Petco Park to open the season.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
San Francisco County’s move into the red tier in early March will allow the Giants to sell 20% of seats — about 8,400 tickets—in 41,195-seat Oracle Park. The team was hoping to move into the orange tier, which would allow 33% capacity, by opening day. Some seats are expected to be available on the secondary ticket market.
The Cubs gained clearance from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot on March 8 to open at 20% capacity, or about 8,350 fans in 41,649-seat Wrigley Field.
The Reds received clearance from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in late February to open Great American Ball Park at 30% capacity, or about 12,700 fans, in the 42,319-seat stadium.
The Brewers will open with 25% capacity crowds of about 8,400 in 41,900-seat American Family Field, which has a retractable roof and outfield panels that open to the outside, providing better ventilation. The Milwaukee Health Dept. did not approve pregame tailgating in stadium parking lots, but the team hopes the ban will be lifted later in the season.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced March 15 that outdoor events will allow up to 50% maximum occupancy “regardless of venue size,” beginning April 4, a significant bump from the 20% capacity announced Feb. 1. That will allow the Pirates to host about 19,100 fans in 38,362-seat PNC Park beginning with the April 5 home opener against Cincinnati.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
The Cardinals received clearance from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to open at 32% capacity, meaning about 14,500 fans will be allowed to attend games in 45,538-seat Busch Stadium.
Truist Park will open the season at 33% capacity, meaning about 13,500 fans will be allowed to attend games in the 41,084-seat stadium.
The Marlins will open at 25% capacity, allowing about 9,200 fans in 36,742-seat Marlins Park. Fans will be given a time and gate for entry to streamline foot traffic. Food from concession stands must be preordered on a mobile device.
NEW YORK METS
In accordance with New York State government guidelines, Citi Field will initially operate at 20% capacity, allowing the Mets to open with about 8,500 fans in the 41,922-seat stadium. Ticketed guests will need proof of full vaccination, meaning both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or a negative test result from a PCR COVID-19 or antigen test.
The Phillies will open at 20% capacity, with about 8,600 fans permitted to attend games in 43,035-seat Citizens Bank Park. The park will be cleaned and disinfected before, during and after each game by a newly created “Clean Team,” utilizing processes and products approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency specifically for use against COVID-19.
The Nationals were the last team in baseball to receive approval to open with fans, announcing March 15 that they will be permitted to host 5,000 fans per game, about 12% of Nationals Park’s 41,313-seat capacity. Fans will enter and leave the stadium through their color-coded, designated gate. Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said the city will revisit its fan capacity rules in April.
Though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 2 executive order lifting the mask mandate and increasing capacity of all business and facilities in the state to 100% would allow the Astros to open with full-capacity crowds in 41,168-seat Minute Maid Park, the team plans to phase in how many fans will be allowed to attend games in person, beginning with 25% capacity, or about 10,300 fans.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
A mid-March approval for Orange County to move into the red tier will allow the Angels to sell 20% of the seats — about 9,000 tickets — in Angel Stadium.
Alameda County’s move into the red tier will allow the A’s to open at 20% capacity, or about 9,400 fans in 46,847-seat Oakland Coliseum. Ticket sales will be restricted to California residents only. No concourse concessions will be available to begin the season; fans can order food and drink on their mobile devices to be delivered directly to their seats.
The Mariners received clearance from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on March 11 to open with 9,000 fans, about 20% of T-Mobile Park’s 47,943-seat capacity.
Though the Rangers are allowed to host full-capacity crowds in Globe Life Field, as many as 40,518 fans, on opening day, the team announced it will offer “socially distanced” sections for subsequent games. No tailgating will be allowed in outdoor parking lots. The retractable roof will remain open unless there is inclement weather. The team will add Plexiglas barriers on top of dugouts and at the back sides of the bullpens to protect player health and safety.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
The White Sox will open at 20% capacity in Guaranteed Rate Field, allowing the team to host about 8,100 fans in the 40,615-seat stadium. Enhanced cleaning protocols will include frequent disinfecting using hospital-grade supplies on high-touch areas.
The Indians will open at 30% capacity, which will allow them to sell about 10,500 seats in 35,041-seat Progressive Field. Fans arriving at the park without an approved face covering — neck gaiters, bandanas and masks with valves will not be allowed — will be provided with a disposable face mask for the game.
State guidelines set in early March would have limited the Tigers to 1,000 fans in 41,083-seat Comerica Park, but the team recently announced it will open at 20% capacity, or approximately 8,200 fans. Fans will be required to complete a game-day wellness survey no more than 24 hours before entering the park.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Royals announced in early March that 10,000 fans — a little more than 25% capacity — will be allowed in 37,903-seat Kauffman Stadium to open the season, with plans to increase that number each month.
The Twins received approval from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on March 12 to open with a maximum of 10,000 fans—about 25% capacity—in 39,504-seat Target Field. The Twins will clean, disinfect and sanitize all in-use seats, railings, food and drink surfaces, elevators, escalators and restrooms using EPA-approved COVID-19 cleaners and disinfectants before, during and after each game.
Though Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said venues such as Camden Yards could open to 50% capacity, the Orioles will allow only 25% — or roughly 11,000 fans — to ensure social distancing. The team averaged only 16,347 fans a game in the 45,971-seat stadium in 2019.
BOSTON RED SOX
Under Phase 4 of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan, the Red Sox were granted approval Feb. 25 to open at 12% of capacity, allowing them to sell about 4,500 tickets per game in 37,731-seat Fenway Park. The team also expects Fenway Park to continue operating as a mass vaccination site beyond the start of the regular season.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Like their crosstown rival Mets, the Yankees will open at 20% capacity, meaning about 10,800 fans will be able to attend games in 54,251-seat Yankee Stadium. Fans will be required to take a PCR or rapid antigen COVID-19 test with negative results or provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, as well as temperature checks on game day, in order to gain entry.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
The Rays announced Jan. 15 that they would open with about 7,000 fans per game in 42,735-seat Tropicana Field, baseball’s only indoor stadium. In order to ensure social distancing, the team will scrap its traditional season-ticket plans for a new “season membership” model that will allow fans to choose from six membership levels, each with a separate discount and seating location.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Canadian government restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic will force the Blue Jays to play their first two homestands at TD Ballpark, their 8,500-seat spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., where capacity will be limited to 15%, or about 1,275 fans. Team President Mark Shapiro said the Blue Jays might return to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, where they played most of their home games in 2020, in June to escape the heat and humidity in Florida. The team hopes to return to Rogers Centre in Toronto for the second half of the season.
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