MESA, Ariz. - MLB pitchers and catchers report to Arizona spring training facilities this week and soon after, fans will follow to cheer on the teams.
In 2020, spring training was abruptly cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, stadiums are not closing down completely, but things will look different.
The head of spring training for the Chicago Cubs spoke to FOX 10 on Feb. 15 about what to expect at Sloane Park, the home of the Chicago Cubs.
Justin Piper, general manager of spring training operations, says, "Safety is paramount to everything we do for the players the staff as they come to Sloan Park."
The team has seen 16,000 fans for a spring training game, but this year, that capacity will be cut down only allowing at most 4,000 fans.
"It will be a limited capacity ballpark and it will be done in pod-style seating, physically distanced from other pods and fans will be able to sit in twos, fours or six pods and then on general admission lawn it will be two or four seats," Piper said.
On top of the pod seating, the facility is prioritizing disinfecting. Masks are required and they are promoting a contactless time at the park.
The Cubs have a 28-game schedule with 14 of those games at Sloane Park. "We are happy to have players back in Arizona and they have been checking in over the last week," Piper said.
The first game will be on March 2 and their tickets will go on sale Friday, Feb. 19 at noon.