Governor Andrew Cuomo and retired Yankee CC Sabathia in today’s press conference announcing limited capacity at outdoor sporting venues.

The Yankees were off from Grapefruit League play today, so there’s little to report in terms of on-field stuff. There are no more days off until the mini-break between the end of spring training and opening day, which is now about a week and a half away. The Yanks do return to the schedule tomorrow, albeit it not on TV. You can watch them again on Monday, but there is a radio broadcast of Sunday’s affair.

The big story: Fans in the stands

As anticipated, fans will be allowed to return to the seats in Yankee Stadium come opening day. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (along with representatives from the Yankees and Mets, including CC Sabathia) announced that 20 percent capacity will be permitted in April. That means Yankee Stadium could have more than 9,000 fans in the seats early in the season. This applies for the team’s homestands from April 1st to the 7th and 16th through the 21st. No word yet on capacity for games thereafter, but there’s optimism for an increase.

Each fan in attendance will need to provide one of the following:

  • Negative results on PCR or antigen (i.e. rapid) COVID-19 test, or
  • Proof of a COVID-19 vaccination

Face coverings are required, except while eating or drinking.

If you’re a Yankees season-ticket licensee and want to attend one of these games, you’re in luck. You get first priority on buying tickets, which will be sold in “pods” of one to eight tickets. Anything unsold will then go to the general public.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the stadium’s vendors will be cashless during these games. Apparently there will be “reverse ATM machines”, though.

This is exciting news, even if we’re not out of the woods with the pandemic yet. Outdoor activities with limited capacity and social distancing should be pretty safe, though as we’ve seen from some sporting events in recent weeks and months, enforcement of mask-wearing isn’t very good. Still, being outdoors, unlike NBA and NHL games, should be a little more advantageous.

It’ll be really nice to hear authentic crowd noise rather than getting it pumped in like last season. It’s been noticeable and pleasant in spring training games, so hopefully it’ll have a similar feel early in the regular season.

As always, keep masking up, get your vaccine when you can, and maintain social distancing so we can get closer to full capacity by season’s end.

Leftovers

  • Clint Frazier elaborated on his defensive improvement last season. He gave kudos to outfield coach Reggie Willits, who helped Frazier with his set-up on each pitch. Clint now does a hop as the pitcher delivers, which allows him to get some momentum going. Or as Frazier put it: “revving [his] engine”.
  • Corey Kluber was scheduled to throw live batting practice today. We’ll probably find out how it went tomorrow. (Lindsey Adler)

And that’s it for the day. Very quiet, as expected without any game to play. Have a good night, everyone.

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