What would summer be without taking in a baseball game from the bleachers with a hot dog in hand? It would horrible otherwise known as the summer of 2020. Luckily for Chicago baseball fans NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reported that the plan is to allow fans in Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field this summer, starting with opening day.
The first opportunity to watch the Cubs live in Wrigley will be on April 1st when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. The White Sox home opener is on April 8th against the Kansas City Royals. These are winnable games for both Chicago teams as both of their opponents are in the midst of a rebuild.
The MLB did not allow any fans for the entire 2020 regular season. Some fans were in attendance for the NLCS and World Series hosted at Globe Life Field. This marks the first time any Chicago spectators will have the opportunity to take in a game live. The Bulls and Blackhawks are yet to announce when fans can return.
The last time fans were in attendance at a Chicago sporting event was back in March when the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks at the United Center. Chicago’s COVID-19 positivity rate has been going down as more people become vaccinated.
Governor, JB Pritzker said Friday that discussion about when fans would be allowed back has been “underway for sometime”. However he also added “I don’t want to jump ahead of this process. I mean honestly, we are relying upon epidemiologist as well as figuring out how we can practically get that done.”
Playing without fans has been a challenge for athletes across the country.Cubs shortstop Javier Baez discussed the challenge saying “It was the worst to be honest, it was worse than facing a pitcher in spring training in the backfield. I didn’t like it at all.”
Northwestern defensive quality control coach Kevin Koch said in an interview on the Dorm Room Dispute Podcast earlier this month that their motto on the defense was “bring your own juice” as a way to compensate for the lack of fans.
With the news that fans will be allowed on Opening Day Chicago will finally get the opportunity to watch their beloved baseball teams again. This came at the perfect time for White Sox fans as their team is entering the golden age of baseball. The 2021 season could be the first step in the Sox quest to create a dynasty.