I had planned an article outlining the lateness surrounding the decision regarding whether or not the Nationals would have fans in the stands this year.
After I finished writing the piece, and subsequently submitted it for review, wouldn’t ya know it, a news release came out regarding that very thing.
According to an NBC Sports Washington article, 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend the Nats’ Opening Day affair against the New York Mets. This decision came after all 29 other Major League Baseball teams and their local governments had reached a decision about what they were going to do.
Many clubs will allow approximately quarter capacity, while the Rockies ratchet up the allowed fans to around 42 percent; the Texas Rangers have given the green light for 100 percent capacity.
Things tend to move slowly in DC, so we shouldn’t have expected anything less from local officials adjudicating a decision about fan attendance. We reached a point, however, where we mostly understood that it was a matter of time. One reason for that is because of what we saw on the west coast: California has been perhaps the strictest state in the nation with regard to following COVID protocols — with Los Angeles in particular being a beacon of government regulation — but even the Dodgers and Angels had been cleared to allow a certain amount of fans beginning on Opening Day.
According to that same NBC article, 5,000 attendees is approximately 12.1 percent of the stadium’s capacity. It’s not surprising to see that Mayor Bowser is somewhat cautious about what these types of venues are allowed to do. I would guess that the number will likely evolve over the course of the summer, with there likely being an increase in fans allowed — but you never know, and it may trend the opposite way. Let’s hope not.
As states around the country are beginning to reopen in greater capacities, it’s unlikely that the District will simply follow suit; that’s not particularly their style. But you have to think that 25 percent is an attainable figure for crowd capacity — or roughly double what will be allowed on Opening Day.
While many might agree that the Rangers’ commitment to 100 percent capacity is perhaps questionable, restricting attendance to nearly single digits is perhaps over-cautious. Folks in DC are an eclectic group, so perhaps our readers are responding to this news in different ways. I’m curious to hear what each of you think: Is 5,000 a high enough number? Is it too high? Would you even like to see 100 percent capacity allowed? My guess is: People are tired of facing restriction of movement for so long. Let’s start the season at half capacity and go from there. Seating pods for everyone! (Well, for about 20,000 “everyone”...)