National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci is no stranger to Major League Baseball, but he might want to socially distance himself from future ceremonial first pitches.
Fauci spoke with ESPN's Buster Olney on the "Baseball Tonight Podcast" about the upcoming season held amid the COVID-19 pandemic and seemed optimistic that at least some fans will be able to watch their favorite teams in-person inside ballparks.
"We could have a pretty good chance of having a baseball season that's a full season," Fauci explained. "That we could have people in the stands, maybe not right next to each other; there are going to be public health restrictions like mask-wearing and things like that."
Spring training facilities and parks will welcome fans at limited capacities in Arizona and Florida, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins are among clubs planning to permit paying spectators to attend regular-season games in April.
Fauci added that 75 to 80 percent of the population may have to be vaccinated for ballparks to fill to full capacities. Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker recently said he's hopeful the Hall of Fame Game scheduled for Aug. 5 will be played in a full stadium, but it's unknown if leagues such as the NFL and MLB will require fans to prove they're vaccinated to attend official events.