D-backs’ Hall details what return of fans to Chase Field will look like
Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the (limited capacity) crowd.
Arizona Diamondbacks fans will be able to sing together during the seventh inning stretch once again as the D-backs announced on Sunday that they will be allowing 25% or just under 12,000 fans at Chase Field for the upcoming 2021 MLB season.
Seating will be sold in “pods” of two or more and will have the appropriate distance in between each group of fans.
“We just hope that there continues to be an improvement in numbers and those that have been vaccinated as well,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall told KTAR News’ Gaydos & Chad on Monday.
“We’re seeing so many positive signs out there publicly that we hope to see even more loosening and during the year we can pivot and get even more fans in.”
Hall added that they’ve even looked into having “vaccinated sections” within the ballpark after the CDC said Monday that fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors without masks.
However, he stressed that they’ve only looked into it and will still have full social distancing protocols as of now.
“We’re still going to have the appropriate spacing, but I don’t see why we wouldn’t be leaning that way for the future,” Hall said. “If people are certainly comfortable enough [with their vaccinations] sitting in that location, then by all means I think we need to entertain that.”
All payment will be 100% cashless –including parking — in order to prevent physical contact between fans and those working the games. Employees will go through health screenings and temperature checks in addition to being physically distanced from both coworkers and fans.
“It’s spaced out, there are signs everywhere telling people which directions to go, where to stand,” Hall said. “But when a fan comes into the ballpark, we have to make sure that (they) feel absolutely comfortable, confident, it’s clean as can be and they want to come back. We’ve been able to do that so at spring training — that’s going to spill over to Chase Field as well.”
“It was so different last year, so sterile, it was strange. I went to a number of the games and you have the [fake] noise and the players knew that too — it just wasn’t authentic,” he added. “This year, what a difference it has made even with 2,200 fans at spring training where you normally getting 14-15,000 and now look to the possibility of 12,000 fans … that’s a loud crowd.
“They are so excited and they have said that from the beginning of spring training just to be able to walk on the field and have fans cheering them on and it’s real — it’s not that piped-in music or sound. They really thrive off that.”
Hall said that the roof will be open for the beginning of the season to both enjoy the Arizona weather and provide a more COVID-19 friendly environment.
However, he added that the roof will close as the temperature starts to rise in the summer months.
“Baseball has always been such a big part of normalcy whether coming back from war or from huge economic problems,” Hall said. “This is another one. We’re going to have to help Americans get back to normal by overcoming this pandemic.”