On Tuesday, Sept. 22, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred decided to allow fans back into stadiums for the National League Championship Series and World Series in 2020.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the MLB plans to host their postseason in neutral sites. The games will happen in Southern California and Texas. American League teams will play in Dodger Stadium and Petco Park for the division and Championship series, while the National League plays at Minute Maid Park and Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The World Series will also play at Globe Life.
For other sports, Texas has allowed fans to attend games. For example, the Dallas Cowboys, who play at the AT&T Stadium, also in Arlington, hosted 21,000 fans for their home opener. Thus, the MLB wants to try to host fans at Minute Maid Park and Globe Life Field for the final two rounds of the postseason. By contrast, the American LeagueChampionship Series, played in California, cannot have fans at games, since the state does not allow it.
The plan to bring fans to MLB games in Arlington still needs approval from the Texas state government.
However, fans wonder about the safety of attending these games. Until now, the MLB has created a version of the NBA bubble, with no outside sources able to enter or leave team facilities. These rules previously put in place mirror those implemented by the NHL and NBA, leagues which have yet to experience any coronavirus outbreaks.
However, Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, wants to move towards the policies implemented by the NFL, worrying fans because of the NFL’s outbreak-filled week four. This week included multiple outbreaks, a postponed game and star players being ruled ineligible for contracting the virus. The NFL season seems in jeopardy, leading some baseball fans to question if allowing fans back in the stadiums will result in a similar fate for their beloved sport.
While Manfred wants to host fans, the deal still awaits approval. This means that no one knows what the plan entails, making it unclear how many people can attend games or protocols in place if the plan is passed. As states like Florida have recently received the green light to host full capacity games, the MLB reopening may follow no social distancing guidelines. The MLB plans to answer all these questions and release this information as soon as the deal is finalized.
Regarding the proposed idea and yet-to-be proposed plan, Miami Palmetto Senior High students have differentiating opinions on this idea.
“In my opinion, if there are the proper precautions in place, then I don’t see why not to do it. If it can be done safely, then it should,” MLB fan and junior Sergio Flores said.
This view is not shared by all baseball fans at the school.
“I don’t think people should be going back to baseball games as the coronavirus is still prevalent. No one knows when the second surge may arise, and in order to keep the numbers down, we should stay home. We need to think about the collective good, not what is best for our entertainment,” Marlins fan and senior Iris Vanderveen said.
The MLB season has already surprised viewers just by playing right now. The MLB had to cut their season to 60 games, the shortest in league history, since they were one of the last leagues to start their 2020 season. The short amount of time they had to prepare led the MLB to have to make up rules on the fly in order to protect their players and continue to play.
The MLB succeeded in starting their season, yet still had many problems arise. Starting with a Marlins’ games cancellation because of an outbreak early on, it seemed unclear if the season would continue. To add to this, hurricanes, fires, social unrest and protests all became issues the MLB had to address before seeing the field. Yet despite all these problems, the MLB 2020 season survived.