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Will Chicago ballparks have fans in 2021?

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The answer is still ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Photo by @WillByington / www.willbyington.com

Sloan Park will open for Cubs spring training next week at about 20-25 percent capacity, or somewhere around 3,500-3,750 fans (I’ve seen sources quote both numbers). Tickets are completely sold out for the 14 games scheduled.

It remains to be seen whether there will be fans permitted at Wrigley Field this year. As you know, I have been in favor of delaying the season, which as of now isn’t happening, and perhaps sometime in May for fans to be at the ballpark.

It is true that with COVID-19 caseloads dropping and people being vaccinated, some small number of fans at the two ballparks in Chicago could happen this year.

This article by Scott Powers in The Athletic hints that might be true:

A high-level city of Chicago source said Wednesday that fans aren’t in the short-term plans for the Blackhawks or Bulls at the United Center.

“Indoor spaces are still a concern,” the source said. “You need four to five people (working) to every fan. You have concessions, security, cleaning people. It’s not a small undertaking. We’ll see. Their seasons don’t have a lot of time left, but it could be a possibility before they finish.”

But as for the Cubs and White Sox, the source is more optimistic.

“I do expect to see fans in baseball because it’s outside,” the source said.

The scheduled Opening Day at Wrigley Field is five weeks from today, April 1 vs. the Pirates. There’s been no indication from the Cubs ticket office to season-ticket holders that anything will be happening one way or another regarding tickets, and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was quoted in Powers’ article:

“It looks like we’re going to be able to play the whole season, but we may have to play the whole season in front of very, very few, if any fans,” he said.

So the answer is still unknown. The Cubs declined to comment for this article.

In Boston, though, it was announced Thursday that there will likely be some fans in Fenway Park for the opening of the Red Sox’ 2021 season, whose home opener is also scheduled for April 1:

In conjunction with Governor Baker’s announcement that the Commonwealth will enter Phase 4 of its reopening plan on March 22, the Red Sox today announced limited capacity plans that allow for the safe return of fans to Fenway Park for the regular season.

Season Ticket Holders will be offered the first opportunity to attend regular season games at Fenway Park. Additional details about the plan, including ticket sales information, will be communicated in the coming weeks.

I would assume that IF the Chicago teams are given permission to have fans in their ballparks in April, the Cubs and White Sox would do the same. There’s yet to be any indication from either the state of Illinois or city of Chicago that this will happen, though.

As always, we await developments.

Poll

When will fans return to Chicago’s MLB parks?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    April 1
    (115 votes)
  • 19%
    May 1
    (87 votes)
  • 24%
    June 1
    (111 votes)
  • 24%
    Sometime in 2021, but after June 1
    (107 votes)
  • 5%
    Not until 2022
    (25 votes)
445 votes total Vote Now