Barring further setbacks as it relates to COVID-19 cases around the league, the 2020 Major League Baseball season will get going in less than a month.
A number of teams are also expecting to have some fans in attendance when the season does indeed start.
The Chicago Cubs envision fans in attendance at Wrigley Field this season
“We are at a point where we believe we can bring some portion of our fan base back to Wrigley field,” Cubs president Crane Kenney told ESPN 1000.
Given the rising number of virus cases in the United States right now, it seems foolish to believe that fans will be in attendance should the 60-game season go on as planned.
Though, the Cubs are in a unique situation as it relates to both COVID-19 and their ability to host fans at Wrigley Field.
Kinney envisions a capacity of about 8,000 for games this season. Fans would be able to watch from outfield rooftops and restaurants, areas that can allow for social distancing.
Having done a tremendous job bending the COVID-19 curve, the state of Illinois is going into phase four of its reopening on Friday. While it would require approval from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), the new phase calls for outside sporting venues to open up at 20% capacity.
Other MLB teams expecting to have fans in attendance this season
The Chicago White Sox join their crosstown rivals with the expectation that they will be able to host fans. Meanwhile, both the Boston Red Sox and Miami Marlins are following suit.
For the Marlins, it’s much more tricky in that the state of Florida has seen multiple record COVID-19 cases over the past week. That included north of 5,500 on Wednesday.
It seems that fans being in attendance will be regional. It’s highly unlikely to happen in states such as California, Arizona, Texas and the above-mentioned Florida. Surprisingly, the New York-based teams might be able to welcome fans after that region was the worldwide epicenter of the virus during the spring.
This could also create some competitive imbalance that MLB might have to address ahead of Opening Day in less than a month.