We still don’t have official confirmation that fan attendance will be in the cards on Opening Day for the Cubs, but we do know that other teams all over the Midwest have this week announced their approvals (for example Cardinals at 32%, Brewers at 25%). We also know that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot indicated that the Cubs and White Sox had submitted “very good plans” to have some fans in attendance as soon as Opening Day.
Now, we know a little more about those “very good plans” – specifically, the volume of fans the Cubs and White Sox are seeking for attendance by April 1:
"…The Cubs and Sox together put a presentation together for the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago, they're waiting to hear back. Proposal was for 30% attendance on April 1st, it's a little bit over 12,000 at each stadium." – @JesseRogersESPN on @WaddleandSilvy today pic.twitter.com/HfkNly4ZcB
— ESPN 1000 (@ESPN1000) March 4, 2021
As noted earlier, the Brewers originally requested 35% attendance, but will receive only 25% for now, with the potential to increase from there. The Cardinals are at 32%. The Reds are set to be at 30% for Opening Day. So the Cubs (and White Sox) are clearly in the ballpark with their request.
Ultimately, to me, the number matters a whole lot less than the actual logistics, planning, and science. If the plans and protocols can accommodate X number of fans safely by the science on day one, then do it, whether that’s 10% or 50%. Maybe 30% is that sweet spot right now? I have no idea.
For now, we are still waiting, though I’m sure the Cubs and White Sox would like some official confirmation so they can start the real planning process (and selling tickets). If hospitalizations from the pandemic continue to decrease, and if vaccinations are available to all adults by the end of May as the administration has now indicated, it’s difficult to see significant attendance caps lasting deep into the season. So even if the Cubs cannot have fans on day one, it’ll just be a matter of time.
Of course, it seems like limited capacity outdoor attendance should be safely possible on day one, so I would like to see it happen for the Cubs, as it will for apparently every other team in MLB.