By Cicero A. Estrella
The cardboard cutouts of the 2020 Major League Baseball season are gone, replaced by actual fans eager to cheer on the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s.
The 2021 baseball season is here, and improving COVID-19 numbers are making it possible for the Bay Area’s teams to welcome back fans and be participants again in the national pastime. So root, root, root vigorously for Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford, and for Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.
“We are excited to safely welcome fans back to our ballpark for the upcoming season,” A’s President Dave Kaval said in a statement on the team’s website. “We thank Gov. (Gavin) Newsom for his leadership and guidance during this process, and Alameda County for partnering with us to develop a comprehensive plan that complies with local health directives and provides a safe experience for our fans, employees, and vendors.”
Both San Francisco and Alameda counties have entered the less-restrictive orange tier for COVID-19 protocols, which allows Oracle Park in San Francisco and the Oakland Coliseum to operate at roughly 20 percent capacity to start the season.
Both teams are enforcing strict COVID-19 rules that have become part of our daily routine for the past year—masks, social distancing of at least 6 feet, hand sanitizing.
Digital tickets are being sold in pods—in allotments of two and four seats—to allow for physical distancing. Both parks will accept only cashless payments, and concessions can be ordered only through mobile devices.
Additionally, the Giants are requiring fans 12 years and older to provide proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 test.
The Giants, A’s and the rest of Major League Baseball are back on a 162-game schedule. The pandemic forced MLB to limit the 2020 season to only 60 regular-season games.
Photos: Cicero A. Estrella