It seemed like it was only a matter of time before it was made official.
Now, it is.
Starting as soon as this Sunday, 3,100 lucky fans will be able to go to games at the Wells Fargo Center. The Phillies will be able to seat 8,000 fans, as the venue is outside. It was just yesterday that PA changed their Covid-19 gathering guidelines. However, before fans could officially go back to watching, the city of Philadelphia had to match the state.
About a day later, the city has followed suit. In what has been an extremely tumultuous year for many people, it is great to see some sense of normalcy return. As a result, the Sixers and Flyers will have fans cheering them on as their respective seasons hit the final stretch.
We all understand how rowdy the fans at Wells Fargo can get. This will no doubt help both teams on their quests to make the postseason. It truly brings back the home field advantage that Philly has always been known for.
Having the baseball season start with fans is nice, as they were the only sport last year to not have any fans at games. Since baseball is the only major sport whose season happens within one calendar year, the Phillies had no attendance numbers last year. Any number of fans will surely make the game more natural for players. Opening Day will be the first game with fans at Citizens Bank in 549 days.
The Phillies lost an estimated $149 million last year and this will surely offset some of those losses. It could even give them more flexibility to extend past the luxury tax threshold. At last check, they have ~$8 million in money prior to hitting the luxury tax.
“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 VP 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.”
While the stadium won’t be full, there is still reason to celebrate. It will be the first time Phillies’ fans will be able to see a game in over a calendar year. Zack Wheeler, Didi Gregorius, and Alec Bohm have yet to play a home game with fans while in Philly. With the long layoff, I can imagine 8,800 people will feel like a packed house.
2021 was always going to be a battle, regardless of fans in attendance. Playing in the best division in baseball, the Phillies will need all the help they can get.
Knowing that fans will be there to support them everyday should only help motivate the players. It is about time that the Phillies broke their postseason drought. 10 years is way too long without any October baseball in this city.
If you weren’t excited for the upcoming season, hopefully this changes your mind!