Striped jersey on the back, glove in hand and mask on face, New York Yankees fans returned to their stadium on Thursday for the first time since October 2019, when the baseball season started in the USA.
“It has been a very difficult year because the Yankees mean everything to us. I’m so happy to be back, ”excited David Wickland, 10, who came to the game with his father William.
The Yankee Stadium, located in the Bronx, remained empty throughout the 2020 season, shortened by the coronavirus pandemic that claimed more than 49,000 lives in the country’s largest city.
The 54,000-seat connection, which still serves as a vaccination site, is now allowed to operate at 20% of its maximum relief capacity in New York.
Nearly 11,000 fans were expected for the first game of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We could not wait to come here. We would have arrived last night if we had managed it, says 60-year-old Sunny Angen.
Neighbor Cori Odwak, a 27-year-old medical student, maintains that the atmosphere “is going to go crazy”, despite the reduced number of spectators.
Pierce Readon, 10, baseball glove in hand, hopes that a smaller audience means more chances for him to catch a ball sent to the stands.
Before being admitted to the stadium, fans must prove that they have been fully vaccinated or tested negative during the last 72 hours. Their temperature is also checked at the turn changes at the entrance.
Once inside, they should form a “capsule”, at least two meters from other fans, and wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking – an important component of a fan’s experience. American baseball stadium.
In the United States, baseball is closely related to the summer season, as much as a trip to the beach or a meal around a barbecue in the backyard, and families love to get together in the stadium to watch a game.
However, a torrent of rain hit the Yankee Stadium all Thursday morning – but failed to act as a killjoy for the fans.
“Getting into (the stadium) is much more important than the weather. It can snow, I would come anyway. It may be the hottest day of the summer, I would come anyway, says Jose Villeneuve, 26.
With most of the professional baseball team stadiums operating at reduced capacity for the 2021 season in the United States, President Joe Biden has 100% criticized the opening of the Texas Rangers Stadium, which seats 40,000 people.
“I do not think it is responsible,” he told ESPN Sports Channel.
A sold-out, unlimited 40,000-fan game took place in Texas.
Jose Villeneuve, who drove two hours from Philadelphia to watch the Yankees, hopes the limited return of fans to Yankee Stadium is a sign of better days, and that spectators can soon fill the arena.
“It is the first step for me, mentally, to think that we are on the way to returning to normalcy,” he says.