We all just want everyone to be safe and healthy. If there’s a baseball season, that’s just gravy on top. If we can even get there, it will be that much sweeter when the first pitch is thrown out. And it seems like that first pitch is coming with the Colorado Rockies set to take the field for the first time of this shortened season on July 24th against the Texas Rangers. Baseball is seemingly back, baby. So why can’t you be too?
I got excited when the Rockies sent out an email a few weeks back where they stated:
“Our sincere hope is to have a limited number of fans attend our 2020 home games. We are diligently working on a plan that strictly adheres to health protocols in order to provide a safe and healthy experience for our staff, players and fans.”
This type of decree makes one think that there will be an opportunity to see a game at Coors Field this summer. And now with rumors swirling that the Rockies intend to host 10K fans for an unspecified set of games, things are trending toward hopeful and approaching awesome.
Now shut your mind off for a second and put aside the rising number of Covid cases across the country. That very real aspect will put a stop to this very quickly so we’re just going to take it out of the equation for now and pretend everything is hunky dory like a politician up for re-election.
When I first started thinking about whether one could attend a game this season, I was overwhelmed by the logistical nightmare it would be to pull it off. But apparently they’re thinking about it and that is encouraging. Still, let’s not get too excited. Afterall, this is the league that can’t get enough testing for some of its teams in the most wealthy and populated areas of the country, so thinking they can pull off even playing 60 games is a stretch, let alone having you sitting there.
But if they did pull it off, here’s how it would have to go down.
Coors Field holds about 50K people and it would have to be at that 10K mark to employ any notion of social distancing. Gathering on the concourses would be verboten and there would have to be ropes or some kind of guide keeping human traffic going both directions around the stadium at a safe distance. Congregating around the 4Runner in center field while Dinger does his best Linda Blair impression would be out of the question. Masks, of course, would have to be mandatory. Karens can watch on TV.
Would they sell beer and other beverages? I know my beloved Club Level Green Chile bar would be a horrifying super spreader as would crowding into the bathroom. But I guess if they aren’t selling beer, you won’t have to get up to go every 10 minutes. Any kind of line would have to be handled just like they do at any decent supermarket that gives a rat’s ass about the people shopping and working there.
How will the tickets be divvied up? Of the 50K seats, let’s say 10K are already held by season ticket holders. Of the 30 games that will be played at Coors, will they only be offering seats to these select few? If the 10K goes to just the season ticket holders, how does the average fan get in the ballpark? The Rockies will probably lay out a certain set of games for season ticket holders and the rest will go to everyone else willing to go online and relive the horror of the Great 2007 World Series Internet Meltdown.
10K is not a lot of people in the grand scheme of Coors Field, but think about what has to be done here: six feet between fans means there has to be at least an empty row or two between each populated one. Then you’ve got to spread the people out down the row. Maybe if a family or group that is comfortable sitting next to each other can sit four seats together, but you still need a gap to the next group. Do you get assigned a seat and Dinger mimes “tough shit” if you don’t like sitting there? Again, all questions that require an answer and if they don’t already have it figured out, you can probably forget about going to a game.
And then there’s leaving the stadium. Let’s say we all sat there riveted during a 3-4 loss in the ninth inning to the Diamondbacks. People will either have to be released in groups or tightly regimented socially distanced lines. Or both. Managing that herd of 10K cats coming out of Coors may be quite a task but maybe if they’re not selling beer, this could go smoothly.
At any rate, I think I’m going to a game if given the opportunity, even as bizarre as an empty Coors Field will be. But this does not come lightly. I was already social distancing back in early March and I still take the virus very seriously even while it seems life is masquerading as normal. I didn’t come this far to get the virus now but I believe Colorado has done it right and I’ve slowly grown accustomed to wading back into normal life.
There are still mountains to climb before I’d feel comfortable there, but if a socially distant Rockies game presents itself, I will probably do it. I was there for the first World Series game at Coors and I want to be there for the first mid-pandemic one too. Even without a functioning Club Level Green Chile Bar.
We all must make sacrifices for the love of the game.