I saw fans at Yankee Stadium…and Globe Life Park…and Kaufman Stadium…and Fenway Park…and Tropicana Field…and TD Park in Dunedin.
Actual human beings, mixed with a few cardboard cutouts.
They ate, drank, chatted and cheered. Some wore masks. Some didn’t. Some might have already been vaccinated. Some might have chosen not to.
Nevertheless, spectators are watching baseball games at their local friendly confines.
I am unable to do that. I am envious.
When the Blue Jays flew to Arlington, I was very nervous. Scared even. There were people crammed into Globe Life Park during a pandemic. Even President Biden wasn’t thrilled about it. And the Jays were right there in the middle of it. Prone to a high chance of exposure.
But seeing all those fans in Texas felt…normal.
It was beautiful.
And I shouldn’t have liked it. I should have been angry at Texas. I should have expressed outrage. I should be uncomfortable with fans attending matches, regardless of capacities.
But it was beautiful.
And I shouldn’t like it because liking it would make me look anti-Liberal, anti-science, anti-woke; Jays Twitter will affix me with a scarlet letter.
But it was still beautiful.
Damn. I miss watching games at SkyDome. What’s a guy gotta do to speed up the vaccination process?
I fully supported the Federal Government’s decision not to grant the Jays and MLB an exemption last year. Hell, I even encouraged it. Things were really bad in the States at that time, while case numbers were low in Ontario.
The situation is a lot worse now in locked down Ontario. It’s still not safe for the Jays and their opponents to fly in-and-out, as part of the extensive travelling that comes with regular season play. Obviously, I agreed – albeit begrudgingly – with the decision to use Dunedin for April and May home games.
Still hoping that things will be safe by the all-star break, allowing the Jays to return to SkyDome for the remainder of the season. Additionally still hoping that things will be safer for a few of us to watch live games in September and beyond. They can easily host 4000-5000 fans, distanced throughout the 100s and 200s. They can even have 10,000 if Level 500 is opened up.
Of course, that’s just wishful thinking. I could just give in to my pessimistic side and accept a second straight summer without the Jays on home soil. However, that would be accepting defeat and I choose to be stubborn.
For now, I am watching, listening, following, cheering and stewing. Fortunately, the actual matches distract me from the bleak realities. It’s not perfect though and it’s definitely not normal.
But even if it’s limited capacity and the spectators are wearing masks, while sitting amongst cardboard cutouts, it’s a tiny bit closer to normal.