A two-month summer baseball league kicked off on Friday at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.
The Sugar Land Skeeters took on the Reyes del Tigre with fans eagerly cheering from the stands.
Diane Ferro hasn’t missed a single Skeeters game. Ferro said she wasn’t going to let coronavirus break her perfect record.
“Feels like it’s been 10 years since we’ve been out here!” Ferro said. “You’ve got to be concerned a little bit, but they’re taking every precaution they can.”
According to Sugar Land Skeeters owner, Kevin Zlotnik, tickets will be capped each night to around 1,700, about 30% of the stadium’s capacity.
“We consulted with our medical partners with the city, with the state and got all the proper approvals and feel like we really went a step above what the state mandated,” Zlotnik said. “We’re a community place, we employ a lot of people. These players have been released; they’re professionals and they can’t go 14 months without playing. So, we thought what’s the best thing we can do for the most amount of people and we decided to create our own league.”
In addition to cutting back on attendance, Zlotnik said fans can expect to see and partake in numerous safety protocol around the ballpark.
Zlotnik said when guests arrive, their temperatures will be checked at the gate, hand sanitizing stations can be found throughout the stadium and every second row of seating will be closed to promote social distancing. According to Zlotnik, fans will not sit next to anyone they didn’t arrive with.
Coronavirus may have thrown ‘America’s favorite pastime’ a curveball, but field manager, Pete Incaviglia said players, coaches and fans will adapt.
“It’s the new normal,” Incaviglia said. “We’re going to have to work with it, because baseball is here to stay, baseball hasn’t been stopped by anything and we’re coming after it tonight.”
According to Incaviglia, players, coaches and training staff undergo temperature checks and health screenings upon arrival to the ballpark and are tested for COVID-19 every week.