It's official: America's pastime is back! April 8 is opening day for the Orioles.
Baseball fans aching to catch a game will finally get their wish next month, as Orioles games are back on at Camden Yards. On Friday, the team announced their return to the ballpark for the 2021 season, where they will play scaled-back crowds to curb the spread of COVID-19. Around 11,000 fans, or 25-percent capacity, will be allotted into the park for each game, which is a striking contrast to the park's typical capacity of 45,000 people.
The thrilling news follows the one-year anniversary of the pandemic's designation by the World Health Organization.
"Just as we did in 2020, the Orioles will remain vigilant in our efforts and will continue to consult medical experts every step of the way as we invite fans back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to enjoy another successful baseball season," said Orioles Chairman and CEO John Angelos in an official press release.
Fans can expect a series of adjustments made to this year's baseball season. With input from local health officials and the CDC, the stadium will be enforcing face coverings and social-distancing at all games.
We’re thrilled to welcome you back to Oriole Park.— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) March 12, 2021
Along with many health and safety protocols, we will begin the season at 25 percent capacity in order to ensure social distancing and prioritize the safety of all fans.
"Pod seats" will be spread throughout the park to minimize contact between other people, while debit and credit cards will be the only accepted payment methods. Fans will be able to enter the park an hour before the first pitch.
Governor Larry Hogan praised the team's participation in the state's ongoing pandemic relief efforts that have lead to the moment of the ballpark opening to the public once again.
“We will work closely with the Orioles to ensure the proper guidelines are in place for fans to safely enjoy America’s favorite pastime and educate fans on the importance of getting vaccinated," he said.
The team's first home game is on Thursday, April 8, against the Boston Red Sox. For single-game tickets, members will get the first pick of seats before moving on to the general public. To show their gratitude, the park is also reserving some for frontline workers and staff at local organizations, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Baltimore City Health Department.
Ready to stand on the sidelines with a Natty Bo and hot dog in hand? You can find out more about safety guidelines here.
Are you excited about the Orioles' return to Camden Yards? Will you be catching a game this season? Let us know in the comments.