By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Live sporting events haven’t been the same since the COVID-19 pandemic forced venues to keep fans out. But arenas in other parts of the country have found their own ways to safely allow a percentage of fans in for games. It’s about time Boston works toward the same goal.
Fortunately, the Red Sox sound optimistic that they’ll be able to come to an agreement with local officials on a plan to let fans back into Fenway Park in the 2021 season – perhaps as soon as the home opener, which is expected to take place April 1 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said during a “Town Hall” on NESN Thursday that the team plans to work with state officials once they have the time to do so. One big concern is the timeliness of rolling out vaccines, an area where the Red Sox have helped their own cause by opening Fenway as a temporary vaccination site.
“Well, we’d love to host fans if the health and safety experts up here and our government officials say it’s okay,” Kennedy said, via RedSox.com. “We have a plan in place to host fans in a socially distanced environment, with all sorts of requirements for masks and hand sanitizing and things like that, and we’ve seen it around the country work successfully at different venues.
“We will be in touch with the state as soon as things calm down a little bit with respect to getting the vaccination process rolled out, and then we will be in touch shortly thereafter with our season ticket holders. It is our sincere hope to have fans back at Fenway as early as Opening Day. We’re cautiously optimistic. But again, that is not our decision. That decision must be made by medical community health experts.”
It seems promising. Massachusetts appears to be inching toward allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity. Governor Charlie Baker announced recently that the temporary capacity limit on bars, restaurants, and other small venues will increase from 25 percent to 40 percent starting next Monday, Feb. 8.
That’s a far cry from full capacity at Fenway Park. It will be much longer before you see a packed house at America’s oldest ballpark. But could there be, say, 5,000 fans or so allowed in? That alone would make a huge difference for the viewing experience – and possibly improve morale among Bostonians who are desperate for a simple fun night out amid such troubling times.
Ty Anderson and I are on the record saying it’s time for Boston to figure out a plan to let fans back into sporting venues. You can hear our thoughts in the podcast below from our show, SideLines.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.