Take Me Out to Fewer Ball Games
The toll of frostbitten fans was held down only by Mayor Lightfoot’s determination that “her” city’s current COVID-19 statistics allowed 20 percent capacity at Wrigley Field.
In other words, instead of 41,374 shivering baseball nuts in Wrigley there were 8,274 - wearing masks when not eating or drinking hot chocolate and bunched together for about three hours in pods of four or less.
In Pittsburgh, where it snowed on Thursday, the governor of Pennsylvania has kindly allowed the Pirates to fill PNC Park to 50 percent capacity for their home opener next week - about 19,000 fans (roughly the 2019 season attendance average).
Other stadium capacities are all over the lot: 25 percent in Miami, 20 percent in Yankee Stadium and just 12 percent in Boston.
In the still great state of Texas, the capacity at the Rangers’ Globe Life Field was set at 100 percent, a figure that made a nerdy writer at the New York Times gulp in fear and loathing.
Baseball is a great game, and I’m glad it’s back. But it’s just not as much fun anymore.
The last time it was truly fun was in 1998 when Mark McGwire’s of the Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Cubs had their epic home run chase and both erased Roger Maris’ season record of 61 set in 1961.
McGwire ended up with 70 homers and Sosa 66 and the league promoted the heck out of the race.
Though it was tainted by McGwire’s admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs - “juices” that were legal at the time - it made baseball exciting, fun and something for fans to follow day by day.
Baseball was fun for Los Angeles fans last year when the Dodgers won the World Series, but the best part of the 2020 season was its shortness.