Baseball teams across the country are increasingly signaling their confidence in – or specific plans for – fans being able to attend games this season, in limited capacity, as soon as Opening Day. Even in states where large crowd attendance hasn’t yet been approved, we’re seeing teams say that they anticipate some volume of fans early in the season.
Buuuuut we haven’t really heard anything in Illinois or Chicago, or directly from the Cubs or White Sox. That is no doubt an exercise of caution, but it is also an acknowledgment that the actual decision on whether limited capacity fan attendance can happen on April 1 is not entirely within their own hands. For now, all we know is the Cubs will stand ready with plans for limited capacity, and they are hopeful it will be approved.
To that end, Scott Powers reports, via a City of Chicago source, that because of the outdoor nature of baseball, the Cubs and White Sox are expected to be able to have fans at games. Does that mean April 1, or soon thereafter? Not quite clear on the timing. But it’s notable that the information this time is coming from a source with the City, which is probably the hardest line in place before attendance can happen.
I would add that, relative to the Bulls and Blackhawks, who are not only indoors at the UC but are playing right now, the Cubs and Sox still have well over a month before their games begins. That’s another month of vaccine distribution and case/hospitalization declines, if things are going well. It’s also a month of Spring Training taking place with outdoor, limited-capacity attendance to see where the potential issues/bottlenecks/unknown-unknowns lie.
My guess is if the trends hold for the coming weeks, we’ll get an official announcement from the Cubs and Sox, as well as the City, before we get TOO much closer to Opening Day. Arrangements and logistics and planning and execution will take some time. So there will be a tentative plan put in place, and then things will continue to be monitored closely.
You can expect any version of attendance at Wrigley Field to include pod seating, strongly limited capacity, and mandatory masking.