In Washington, DC, however, the Nationals are wondering what their stadium will look like on April 1st. The club has made a proposal to the city and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to welcome fans back amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a person with knowledge of the process who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The proposal, this person said, is in line with what other teams have approved by local or state officials in the past few weeks.
The Nationals ask to have the maximum number of fans who can sit in small pods that are six feet apart in all directions. The city could choose to allow fans, but with less capacity than desired. A Nationals spokeswoman declined to reveal the capacity the team suggested in its talks with the mayor’s office. The Nationals’ official comment was: “We are working closely with the city and will continue to do so.”
The base model, with fans wearing masks in pods and unused seats blocked with tarpaulins or zip ties, is already being tested at spring training locations in Florida and Arizona. On Sunday, the Nationals played in front of around 1,500 fans in Jupiter, Florida. On Monday, they hosted fans with a capacity of up to 18 percent in their park in West Palm Beach, where the facility doubles as a public coronavirus test center. MLB had to approve the seating plan of each spring training stadium and works with teams like the Nationals that remain in suspense for the regular season.
When asked about the Nationals’ proposal, a spokeswoman for Bowser echoed the team’s line: “The Nationals reached out to DC (Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency) and DC Health to initiate discussions about the 2021 season. These talks are just beginning, but we hope they move forward quickly. “A follow-up question about the details of the team proposal was not answered on Monday. Since spring training began in February, a handful of prominent nationals have not shied away from their preference.[HomelandSecurity&EmergencyManagementAgency)andDCHealthtobegintalksaboutthe2021seasonThosetalksarejustbeginningbutwehopetheyadvanceexpeditiously”Anfollow-upquestionaboutthedetailsoftheteam’sproposalwasnotansweredMondayhavenferenceSincespringtrainingbeganandhyoutalsprotaryahentirominpreNandhyoutofprotaryahentiromin[HomelandSecurity&EmergencyManagementAgency)andDCHealthtobegintalksaboutthe2021seasonThosetalksarejustbeginningbutwehopetheyadvanceexpeditiously”Anfollow-upquestionaboutthedetailsoftheteam’sproposalwasnotansweredMondaySincespringtrainingbeganinFebruaryahandfulofprominentNationalshavenotbeenshyabouttheirpreference
Manager Dave Martinez on February 18th: “I hope the fans understand that we miss them. We want them there. And once they believe they are safe and we are all safe, they open the doors and bring them back to the stands. As we all know, you watch the NFL and they had fans. It’ll happen sooner or later. “
Starter Max Scherzer on February 19th: “The fans should be one hundred percent in the stands. You can do it. We’re in outdoor stadiums. Fans must be allowed to enter the ball park. We can find a way around that. I don’t see any reason why not. Hopefully cooler heads prevail, we take a pragmatic view and bring out some national fans. “
And first baseman Ryan Zimmerman on February 25th: “I know every state, every city, they have their own rules for different reasons, and that is way above my pay grade. But if you can safely implement it, or if you can start it at 10 or 15 percent and see how that goes for a couple of weeks or a month, and then build it up gradually, I think it would be good for everyone. “
Two of these make the factors harder for DC: the NFL fan adoption and the city rules. There is no NFL team under DC’s jurisdiction. And because the Washington Capitals and Wizards don’t have fans yet, there are still no city rules for attending professional sports events.
With the Washington Football Team playing in Landover, Md., Bowser, and the city had nothing to do with the decision to let fans in this fall. November. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) placed the call. But Ohio, for example, can draw on the NFL experience with the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals when it comes to fans and stadium capacity for the Indians and Reds. It’s also a helpful precedent for any city or state that wants fans to drift through the gates.
On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced that the Indians and Reds will soon be able to fill up to 30 percent of their stadiums. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, two Pennsylvania cities where NFL teams hosted fans this fall – when cases were higher and vaccines were still a daydream – recently announced the Phillies and Pirates may have fans to start the year . All of this leaves the Nationals in a dwindling group.
You worked with the city last summer to relax a special coronavirus regulation for the team. However, the request had limited impact on the general public. The Nationals wanted their players, coaches and staff to be able to walk straight from home to work during DC’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone potentially exposed to the virus. The city was committed while expressing skepticism in its response letter.
Letting fans return to Nationals Park is not a decision they can make that way.