Sportress of Blogitude

Nationals GM: Team working with D.C. officials on plan for fans at ballpark

After one of the Washington Nationals star players recently campaigned for a return of fans to the stands in the coming MLB season, the team’s general manager has detailed plans for the organization to accomplish as much.

Nationals president and GM Mike Rizzo made an appearance Thursday on D.C. radio, during which he laid out the ball club’s plan concerning how to welcome fans back to Nationals Park in the coming months.

“We’re working with the city on that,” Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies, per NBC Sports Washington. “We’re certainly committed to hosting fans the safest way possible at the ballpark and we believe that there’s proper protocols that we’ve all practiced — social distancing, mandatory masks — if those are in place, we can host a safe number of fans.”

The plans and protocols for fan attendance of course vary from sport to sport, league to league and team to team based upon myriad factors. For Major League Baseball, the league is expected to allow individual teams to open their ballparks to fans in 2021 depending upon local governmental mandates, policies and protocols regarding COVID-19.

One caveat regarding fan attendance is explicitly laid out by the league in “A guide to the 2021 MLB season,” however.

“Plans to have fans attend games during the regular season have not been made official,” the guide reads. “While allowing fans in stadiums will be an evolving process, with varied policies dependent on team and local rules, there is optimism about fans being able to enjoy games in person in 2021.”

Just last week, Nationals ace Max Scherzer made it clear he’s a huge proponent of having people back in ballparks this coming season.

“Fans should be in the stands, 100 percent,” Scherzer said on a Zoom call with reporters last Friday.

Rizzo concurs with Scherzer’s sentiments.

“We miss our fans, the players miss them and we need them,” Rizzo said. “We need their energy and support inside of Nats Park. That couldn’t be overstated in our success in 2019 and our failures in 2020. That was a different world without the fans and we need them and want them.”