D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday morning announced that the government approved the Washington Nationals’ use of Nationals Park for Spring Training 2.0, which is set to start on Wednesday, when players return for testing for coronavirus.
The first workouts are scheduled for Friday as the defending World Series champions begin to work towards the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season next month, provided it’s possible to play during an ongoing pandemic.
As of Monday, the waiver request, which was submitted last week — shortly after MLB’s plan for the start of the 2020 campaign was announced — was still awaiting approval, as WaPost writer Jesse Doughtery reported, quoting a spokesperson from the Mayor’s office.
“‘The Nationals can’t just go into their stadium and start training,’ a spokesperson for the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said.”
“They have to get a waiver. They’ve submitted a request for a waiver, but it hasn’t been approved yet.”
In a press conference on Tuesday morning, Mayor Bowser told reporters the waiver request to use Nationals Park (without fans in attendance) for Spring Training 2.0 and eventually, if it is possible, games, would be approved.
“I think that we will be approving their waiver today,” Mayor Bower said, “and there were just a few things — I mean, there is nothing remarkable — the Nationals — we will waive them for training and games, no spectators.”
Asked to clarify that the club was approved to use the ballpark for Spring Training and now for games, when/if they start playing them next month, the Mayor’s office confirmed that the waiver was for both workouts and eventually games, though the initial waiver request was just for the new Spring Training period.
“The initial waiver was for training,” a spokesperson added, “... and then of course MLB — [with] announcing that games would resume, we had discussions with the Nationals on what that would look like.
“To the Mayor’s point, no fans, no spectators, and so they submitted plans that we approved to have the games.”