By Shem Rivera, March 30, 2021
The year-long wait for Southern California baseball fans to get back into the stands and bleachers is over as Angel and Dodger stadiums will be reopening to the public on April 1 for opening day of the MLB’s regular season.
The two stadiums will be opening with limited capacity for fans in attendance. Since Los Angeles and Orange counties are in the red tier, stadiums will only allow up to 20% spectators for outdoor stadiums — around 9,000 seats at Angel Stadium and 11,000 seats at Dodger Stadium.
California’s four color-coded tiers for its counties each lay out different sets of rules regarding which businesses can reopen. The purple tier is the most restrictive followed by red, orange and yellow.
Jenzen Torres, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for CPP’s baseball team, believes that stadiums reopening is a great idea for the public and a step closer toward normality.
“Obviously, we are at a tough situation with COVID-19, but for people being able to go back and watch professional sports live again, this will create a great atmosphere for people and a release for them to escape,” said Torres.
COVID-19 rates in the state have decreased while the number of vaccinated people has increased.
According to the CDC’s COVID-19 tracker, as of March 24, in LA County there has been a 20% decrease in reported cases with 36.57 per 100,000 people and in Orange County there has been a 3% decrease with 32.15 cases per 100,000 people.
As of March 27, 1.4 million LA County residents are vaccinated and 460,000 in Orange County.
Drew Atherton, a senior pitcher for the baseball team, explained the importance of fans returning and what it means to him.
“Baseball is a huge part of my life and something that I miss a lot,” Atherton said. “Although I understand these are unprecedented times, having the opportunity to watch these pro players would be amazing since my team’s season was canceled.”
Fans attending games must follow restrictions and guidelines such as wearing a mask throughout the entire game and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others. Torres believes it will be easier to follow these restrictions since baseball plays in open stadiums compared to sports in smaller arenas.
“All the stadiums are outside, and are not enclosed,” Torres said. “These stadiums are huge and the nature of baseball being an outdoor sport plays a huge factor on allowing fans to return, compared to the Staples Center or Honda Center where it is indoor.”
As time progresses, LA and Orange counties hope to move into the next two tiers and lift more restrictions. Since entering the red tier, businesses such as restaurants, theme parks, schools and more have been able to open with restrictions.
With professional baseball gaining some normalcy, Joe Villa, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for CPP’s baseball team, expects CPP to make the right protocols when the team returns to the field.
“The most important aspect for our school is the health of our students and faculty,” Villa said. “When we return playing, we must follow every single guidelines and protocols that have been given to us to stay safe.”
Since CPP’s baseball season was canceled, it has been difficult for players and coaches unable to play games and interact in-person. The team is making the most of it and continues to provide a positive atmosphere virtually.
“Right now, we have been helping the team academically,” Villa said. “We have been meeting as a team through Zoom and just making sure they are staying on top of their classes and, with the MLB coming back, having them watch film is another way to help them learn.”
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