St. Louis Cardinals: MLB to allow fans as early as spring training

JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: A general view of the field after the spring training game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 12, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. Major League Baseball is suspending Spring Training and delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: A general view of the field after the spring training game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 12, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. Major League Baseball is suspending Spring Training and delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The specifics around the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2021 season look to be getting ironed out as MLB sent a memo outlining specifics of fan attendance.

Things in the MLB have shifted a lot in the past month. It wasn’t that long ago that Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the owners wanted to require players to have the vaccine before the season could begin. There is almost no chance that would be possible by the scheduled beginning of spring training, setting up another battle with the players who don’t want to take another pay cut.

However, amid other leagues starting up and the players pointing out that there is nothing in the CBA that lets the owners push things back, the MLB now seems full steam ahead on 162 games. This is a great thing for the two sides to not be at odds and it does seem like a real understanding at this point that the owners won’t throw a fit.

Now, just over one month until pitchers and catchers are expected to report to spring training, the MLB has sent out a memo outlining the plan for fan attendance at the beginning of 2021. While it won’t be full attendance, it appears the MLB wants fans to be able to attend even spring training games.

Again, Bob Nightengale of USA Today has the story but this is an extremely promising thing. According to Nightengale, the memo sent out outlines “pods” of seats to be sold to groups of fans in spring training. Fans would have to wear a mask when not eating or drinking at their seat and social distance in the ballpark, but that is par for the course for the other professional sports leagues allowing fans right now.

One of the biggest things is that the MLB will not require fans to have the COVID-19 vaccine nor will they require fans to be tested to enter the ballpark. Teams are allowed to make their own restrictions, however. Also included was a note that the MLB will reduce the buffer zone between the field and fans from 20 feet to just six feet in most instances.

It is unclear how long these changes will take effect, as restrictions would be lowered gradually throughout the summer in a perfect world. Though teams can put in their own limits, clearing the way from a global point of view from the MLB’s side is an important step.

The St. Louis Blues have announced that just next week they will allow around 300 frontline workers into games, following guidelines put in place by the city of St. Louis. Logically, the St. Louis Cardinals will likely follow suit when the regular season begins. Therefore, keep an eye on the Blues and that will be the best indicator.

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In the meantime, it sounds like fans could be allowed to attend games at Roger Dean Stadium this spring though. Slowly, things are creeping back to normal.

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