Batter Up! Baseball Is Back
|Fenway Park (c) Meryl Pearlstein|
It’s an unusual baseball season already. Showing proof of vaccination or testing, sitting apart from your neighbors, and not dancing to "YMCA" or "Sweet Caroline" is a very weird start.
But, let’s cheer for the Red Sox, the Bronx Bombers, the Dodgers and others and say good riddance to cutout fans. It’s time to play baseball.
Increasing numbers of vaccinated sports fans and a bit of hindsight about how the virus spreads have helped us get to where we are with limited capacity seating. And within a few months, we should be in a much better position.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to go the stadiums.
New Protocols for Going to the Game
Going to a baseball game will be like traveling to another state or even another country. You must be fully vaccinated or have a COVID test with a negative result no less than three days prior to the first pitch. You’ll need to show your proof of either if you plan to enter the stadium, whether you have a ticket or not. Temperature checks will also be required. In some cases, you'll need to show adherence to a health survey that's on the MLB app.
CDC guidelines are being followed by all teams. Masks must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking at your assigned “seat pod,” and it is suggested that you bring hand sanitizer and wipes with you as well as wash your hands frequently. You can expect to see signs and a small legion of people reminding you of this around the restrooms, too.
Social distancing will be required. Seating between pods will ensure that rules are followed in the stands but you will be expected to monitor your behavior when you walk through the stadiums. Do note, however, that regulations vary considerably among stadiums, similar to varying COVID and masking protocols among states. Detailed “Know Before You Go” safety information are available on each team's website and will be updated as available.
How ‘Bout Them Tickets?
Like the Red Sox and the Yankees playing a game without any excitement, getting a ticket will be another challenge.
Tickets are harder to score than ever. With initial games reduced to 20 percent attendance, and tickets on sale in “waves,” you can expect higher-than-normal prices particularly for popular series like Red Sox vs Mets or Red Sox vs. Yankees. Tickets are being sold in “pods,” meaning that you can only purchase them in pre-defined groups and seating will be strategically scattered throughout the stadiums. Quantities vary as guidelines change with the hope that capacity restrictions will be relaxed. And tickets are being released in waves. Stay up-to-date by visiting each team's website or by logging onto MLB.com.
For safety’s sake, all ticket purchases will be contactless. None will be sold at the stadiums. Everything needs to be taken care of online and your phone is your entry ticket. Be sure to keep your battery charged or bring a spare as you’ll need to show your phone to return to seat if you go for a bathroom or refreshment break.
|Red Sox and Yankees (c) Meryl Pearlstein|
Concessions are still being worked out, but as a rule, all purchases will be cashless this year. If you have cash, you can convert it to a pre-paid debit card at a “reverse” ATM, or use your mobile phone or credit card instead. In-seat delivery has been suspended but you can pre-order and pre-pay your food selection on the MLB Ballpark App for express pick-up at designated locations, or just purchase at the stands. In some situations, Uber has arranged to have food delivered.
Check the websites to confirm openings and rules for the various sit-down restaurants or the private clubs like the buffet-heavy Legends Suite Club at Yankee Stadium or the Delta Sky360° Club at Citi Field. Rules change all the time, it seems.
Can We Still Have a Seventh Inning Stretch?
Remember when a seventh inning stretch meant actually stretching your legs and taking a quick walk to grab a beer or hit the loo? Be smart and try to schedule your break when the crowds are thinnest. Your safety is everyone’s safety.
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