MESA, Ariz. — Tickets are up for grabs again and local spring training facilities are planning to have fans in the stands with social distancing on and around the diamond.
While the stadium seating will look a lot different this year, the season is full steam ahead, so far.
Justin Piper, general manager of Sloan Park in Mesa, the home of the Chicago Cubs, is happy to talk about the 2021 changes.
"We will have a limited capacity ballpark, made up of physically distanced pod-style seating," he said.
Piper said tickets can be purchased in pods of two, four or six for the main bowl, pods of two or four for the lawn or roof deck seating.
Local health experts like Will Humble with the Arizona Public Health Association said the facilities appeal to some because of their outdoor designs and open-air concepts.
"We know that outdoor exposures are 17 times safer than indoor exposures," Humble said.
"The problematic thing is that almost all of them have a loophole you could drive a truck through, which is you're supposed to wear a mask unless you're eating or drinking."
Facility staff is asking fans for full compliance with masks and other rules and regulations pertaining to COVID-19 guidelines.
Guests will likely receive a warning about wearing masks, but officials will not hesitate to take action if guests don't comply.
"It's there for everyone's safety and if someone chooses not to abide by those rules, we could ask them to leave the ballpark," Piper added.
Spring training games are set to start Feb. 28 across the Valley but, like most activities amid the pandemic, that is subject to change.