If the season does get underway as we all hope, the Oakland A’s may be playing in an empty ballpark.
One of the great questions surrounding the 2020 season, if one occurs, involves whether or not fans will be allowed in the ballpark. With the Oakland A’s eschewing a radio broadcast this year, the ballpark experience will be even more important for the fanbase.
However, that may not be able to happen. Major League Baseball has yet to rule one way or the other about allowing fans in the stands, leaving it up to local and state ordinances and procedures.
So what does that mean for the A’s? Well, Schulman goes on to say that he does not believe that the A’s, nor the Giants for that matter, will have fans in the stands in the coming year. While it hurts both teams, it is better to be safe.
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That may not be the case, however. Despite spikes in COVID-19 outbreaks, cities and states are pushing forward with their plans to reopen, regardless of any possible safety concerns. To this point, California has resisted joining the herd, but no one can say what will happen a month from now.
Having fans in the stands also opens up another can of worms with trying to start the season. Major League Baseball has put forth quite a number of restrictions on everything from spitting to wearing masks in the dugout. But the fans, no matter how many restrictions are in place, are always going to be a variable.
This may not be something that the A’s have to worry about at home, but it will be a concern elsewhere. Considering that states are reopening, even in the wake of ongoing outbreaks, it is a matter of time before this ends up being an issue.
Even if, by some miracle, having fans does not lead to infection, it puts teams at a disadvantage. Home field may not matter as much in baseball as it does in other sports, but there are times when the fans can provide a boost. If that swings the tide of one game, it can be significant in a 60 game schedule.
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Major League Baseball is leaving it up to the local authorities to determine whether or not fans will be attending games this year. In the case of the Oakland A’s, that does not appear to be likely.