Fans set for return in MLB

Fans will be able to attend Major League Baseball (MLB) games for the first time this season after the league detailed plans for a limited number of spectators at this month’s National League Championship Series and World Series at Globe Life Field, the new home of the Texas Rangers.

MLB will work with the Rangers to make around 11,500 tickets available for each game, with 10,550 fans to be spread throughout the ballpark and 950 in suites. Tickets for all seven games of each series will go on sale next Tuesday.

The first game of the NLCS on October 12 will mark the first time fans have attended games this season, the start of which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Series begins on October 20 and will mark the first time that MLB’s showpiece event has been held entirely at one site since 1944.

MLB has received the necessary approvals to allow fans at Globe Life Field, which has a capacity of 40,300. Tickets in the seating bowl will be sold in groups of four contiguous seats, called pods, with individuals restricted to purchasing one pod per game.

Seats within each pod cannot be broken apart for sale and the pods will be at least six feet from each other. No seats will be sold within 20 feet of where a player can be located on the field, in the dugouts or in the bullpen.

Fans will be required to wear masks at all times, except for when they are actively eating or drinking. Hand sanitising stations will also be set up throughout the stadium.

Globe Life Field is fitted with a roof but Rob Matwick, the Rangers’ executive vice-president of business operations, is hopeful that as many games as possible will be played without the roof open.

“I do think it would be safer and better for air circulation,” he said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “If we had storms, rain, obviously we would play with the roof closed, and that’s where the masks and distancing and good hygiene practices all come into play.”

The State of Texas currently allows up to 50% capacity for sporting events but Globe Life Field will be around 28% full for the games this month. The venue is located a short walk from AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team, which last month welcomed a crowd of 21,708 for their home game against the Atlanta Falcons.