DENVER (KDVR) — When the Colorado Rockies announced their 60-game schedule on Monday they buried perhaps the biggest news at the bottom of their press release. Denver’s baseball team hopes to play with some fans in the stands.
The team statement said it hopes to “allow a limited number of fans to attend 2020 home games at Coors Field.”
The Rockies start their season on the road against the Texas Rangers on July 24. Their first home game is against the San Diego Padres on July 31.
The team hasn’t defined what a “limited number of fans” might be considering the ballpark typically seats just over 50,000 people. All the team has said is that it is working with city and state health officials and Major League Baseball “to finalize a plan that adheres to strict protocols and ensures fan safety.”
It was just three days ago, on Saturday, that Rockies pitcher Scott Oberg told the media how much fan support means to the players.
“Especially when we’re getting into the middle, late in the ballgame that’s usually when we need that type of help. That’s when we really start to feel the crowd,” he said.
If fans are allowed, Dr. Lisa Miller, an epidemiologist with the Colorado School of Public Health said face coverings should be mandatory.
“The variables that would concern me are the amount of time spent indoors and the just the sheer number of people,” said Dr. Miller, before adding, “On the plus side it is outdoors mostly and it’s a large space so there would be room to social distance.”
Dr. Miller said she herself would not attend a baseball game this summer but would leave it up to fans to decide their own risk tolerance.
“There are plenty of ways to reduce risk but I don’t think you can get away from the fact that if you are bringing people together you are bringing some risks,” she said.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s office said the Hancock administration has been working closely with the team and “if health conditions allow” acknowledged the Rockies hope to play with some fans in the stands.
Team manager Bud Black told the media Tuesday morning that he felt good about what Major League Baseball is accomplishing with widespread testing to get the season started.
“Everybody’s encouraged by what`s happened across baseball and obviously encouraged by what`s happening here in Denver so that does lend itself to optimism,” Black said.
Governor Jared Polis’ office shared the following statement with FOX31:
“Like most baseball fans, the Governor is excited for baseball to return to our lives and screens in a safe and responsible manner. Safety is a top priority. We are working closely with the Rockies, and they have been great partners. The first goal is to get the players training again. Then, we will explore if there’s a way to get fans at Coors Field, but need to take this one step at a time based on the latest epidemiological data, which is subject to change.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sent FOX31 the following statement:
“We have received a plan from the Rockies, and we’re reviewing it.
“According to the latest version of Public Health Order 20-28, effective June 30, professional sports may resume pre-season practices, training and league play after they submit a reopening plan that details their disease prevention and mitigation strategies to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and receive approval. Many professional leagues have created their own reopening requirements and guidance, and professional teams are expected at a minimum to incorporate those requirements into their reopening plans. Colorado sporting events that include both a professional event and a recreational event must have their professional opening plan reviewed and approved by CDPHE.”