Citizens Bank Park won’t be full when the Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves on April 1, but it may feel that way.
A day after the state of Pennsylvania eased some of their COVID-19 restrictions, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the city of Philadelphia will allow 20% capacity at outdoor stadium events. The Phillies say that will mean 8,800 fans for the first 19 home games of the season.
“We have been diligently working with our city and state officials to finalize health and safety protocols at Citizens Bank Park. With these important measures now in place, we are excited to safely welcome a limited number of our fans back to the ballpark experience,” Phillies executive vice president David Buck said Tuesday. “The unmatched energy our fans bring to the game has undoubtedly been missed, and we can’t wait to hear their cheers once again come Opening Day.”
Fans weren’t allowed to attend any of the pandemic-shortened 60-game 2020 season as the city, state and country attempted to get the spread of the deadly virus under control. So when fans return to the stadium on Opening Day, it will be the first time that the Phillies play in front of fans during a regular season game since Brad Miller homered twice in a 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sept. 29, 2019. That’s a gap of 549 days.
Who will get the first crack at being able to attend these games? Season ticket holders, per the team, but tickets for the remaining seats will go on sale on March 12. On April 12, the Phillies will begin to sell tickets for the 62 other home games this season. While 8,800 will be the capacity for the first 19 home games, the Phillies say that they reserve the right to increase or decrease attendance for the 62 remaining games as they learn what shape the city and state are in. One would think that as more people are vaccinated, restrictions will continue to lessen, though that’s far from a guarantee.
In addition to those acquired this past offseason, Joe Girardi has never managed a regular season game in front of Phillies fans, while Zach Wheeler, Didi Gregorius, Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard are among those who have never played a home game with the Phillies that fans attended.
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