The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the country, but the presence of a vaccine — and a growing number of people being inoculated — gives hope that some semblance of normalcy is on the horizon.
While the plans and protocols for fan attendance vary from sport to sport, league to league and team to team based upon myriad factors, it’s unclear exactly how Major League Baseball will approach fan attendance overall during the 2021 season.
Ask Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, though, and it quickly becomes clear he’s a huge proponent of having people back in ballparks this coming season.
“Fans should be in the stands, 100 percent,” Scherzer said on a Zoom call with reporters Friday, via NBC Sports Washington. “You can do it, we’re in outdoor stadiums. Fans just need to be allowed to come in the ballpark. We can engineer a way around it. I don’t see any reason why not. So hopefully cooler heads prevail, we look at this pragmatically and we get some Nationals fans out there because trust me, as all ballplayers, we definitely miss them and we miss the atmosphere that they bring.”
Scherzer’s comments Friday reinforce what he said about the fan attendance issue earlier in the offseason. The Nats pitcher was pragmatic about it, however, saying open-air ballparks hosting fans obviously makes the most sense. He also conceded that fans would be welcomed back to ballparks in limited numbers, at least at the onset.
“But even from the beginning, even from spring training we can start talking about how we can get fans into the stands and engineer ways to mitigate any type of spread,” Scherzer said in December.
“But if you’re outside and you’re following the rules, there’s no reason for me to sit here and say fans can’t be in the stands.”
The Nationals have yet to announce any official plans concerning fan attendance at Nationals Park this coming season. The team, like other MLB organizations, will consult with local health officials and make a decision in accordance with local governmental edicts and directives, not to mention consideration of whether the rate of community spread of COVID-19 is increasing or decreasing.