ALBUQUERQUE — So now you know why this story wasn’t posted a couple of hours ago, when the news first broke. I’m on the road, heading back to Chicago, and just arrived at my first stop here in New Mexico to be greeted by the news that Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney spoke on 670 The Score earlier today and revealed that some fans will be permitted to see Cubs games in person when they begin:
[Kenney] expects the rooftops overlooking Wrigley Field to be open for the Cubs home opener. The rooftops will still have to abide by city regulations, which will likely limit the number of fans and promote social distancing.
“Even now with the mayor’s phasing of the city’s reopening, we would be allowed to open the rooftops,” Kenney said.
Kenney also said he hopes that at some point in the season, Wrigley Field itself will be able to open its doors to fans, albeit at a reduced capacity.
As I wrote three days ago, I’m skeptical about the Cubs’ (or any other MLB team) ability to properly social distance up to 20 percent of capacity.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot clarified on Monday that Chicago will not yet open stadiums to spectators.
“We are in constant conversation with all of our professional sports teams,” she said in a press conference. “And a lot of that is going to be dictated by their league offices, in conjunction with the players associations. My expectation in the short term, is that they will reopen without fans in the stands.”
There are a tremendous number of logistics involved in getting to any sort of fans in the stands at Wrigley. Who’d get the tickets? (Likely, the longest-term season-ticket holders.) How do you enforce social distancing? Would there be temperatures taken at entrance? (Choke point there.) Would mask wearing be enforced? (I think you can see how hard that would be to do.)
Beyond that, there continue to be positive tests among players and staffs for teams. It’s entirely possible that a COVID-19 outbreak happens among one or more teams and the entire MLB structure gets shut down.
So hold your horses if you think you’re getting into Wrigley Field this year. I don’t expect that to happen. As always, we await developments.
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