DC won’t allow Nationals to host fans in ballpark — for now originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Nationals have been approved to play their games in Washington, D.C., this season, but fans aren’t yet going to be allowed to join them.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser co-signed a letter sent to the team Tuesday that approved its request to play at Nationals Park. However, “the opportunity to have fans in attendance will be reexamined as the public health metrics associated with COVID-19 evolve in the District.” No timetable was given for when the decisions will be revisited.
“We are assessing the prevalence and impact of new, more transmissible viral strains on the progress we are making through our various public health measures, including our vaccination program, and expect to be able to get you some word on ticket sales for fans in the middle of the month,” the letter wrote. “With you, we are looking forward to fans returning to Nats Park. Answers as to how many and when are still premature.”
Other teams across the country have started to find out what their local officials will allow them to do. The Philadelphia Phillies were reportedly granted the ability to admit around 8,000 fans per game, which will give the club more of a homefield advantage during its nine games against the NL East rival Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Nats manager Davey Martinez, president and GM Mike Rizzo, starting pitcher Max Scherzer and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman have all made public comments advocating for fans to be allowed back at the stadium so far during spring training.
“Fans should be in the stands, 100 percent,” Scherzer said Feb. 19. “You can do it, we’re in outdoor stadiums. Fans just need to be allowed to come in the ballpark. We can engineer a way around it. I don’t see any reason why not. So hopefully cooler heads prevail, we look at this pragmatically and we get some Nationals fans out there because trust me, as all ballplayers, we definitely miss them and we miss the atmosphere that they bring.”
Opening Day is set to take place at Nationals Park on April 1, when the Nationals will host the New York Mets in the first of 81 home games.