Whether you’re a South Sider or North Sider, Chicago is a serious baseball town. Thankfully, Major League Baseball is finally making its way back to Chicago and throughout the country after a long delay due to COVID-19.
While we should have been near the midpoint of the season by now, the pandemic and many attempts to figure out how to restart the season has put America’s pastime on the backburner. Finding an agreement between players and owners hit many snafus before they reached a deal, and now Cubs and White Sox’s fans can finally root for their team, albeit in a shortened season, the like of which baseball has never seen.
As of this writing, the MLB season will officially kick off on July 24. The Cubs will face the Milwaukee Brewers for a night game at Wrigley Field. The White Sox play against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field the same day.
So what will baseball look like in Chicago for the 2020 season? Let’s take a look at all the changes facing both of the city’s teams amidst a global pandemic and what it means for their fans.
The 2020 MLB season has been drastically reduced due to COVID-19. The regular 162 game season is now condensed to a mere 60 games. Furthermore, to hopefully lessen the risk of infection and keep travel to a minimum, both the Cubs and White Sox will only play against Central Division teams in the American and National League.
The big question on fans’ minds is, can they be in attendance during the games? The state’s current Phase IV guidelines allow for no more than 20% seating capacity for outdoor sports.
As of now, fans will not be permitted to attend games. There is a possibility that a limited amount of fans may attend games as the season progresses, however, based on each state and cities own guidelines as they see fit given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time.
So while a classic lazy summer day at the ballpark is most likely not in the cards for Chicagoans this summer, at least we have baseball back again. All hope is not lost watching baseball live, though. Chicago Cubs fans can watch games from the Wrigleyville rooftops, which will host fans at 25% room capacity.
The 60-game season allows for many potentially exciting scenarios for our two Chicago teams. With so few games played, a solid run can see the young and hopeful White Sox make a deep run. Likewise, the talented Cubs can see themselves reaching the playoffs and maybe more. Of course, injuries and slow starts can be the kiss of death for any MLB team, making this shortened season so compelling.
Fingers are still crossed that baseball can actually make it through the season with COVID-19 cases spiking in many states. Numerous variables are up in the air as we try to navigate this new normal in our everyday lives. But at least for right now, baseball is set to return to Chicago, which is welcome news for Cubs and White Sox fans who have been yearning for to hear these two magic words: Play ball!
ERIC KAPLAN AND DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO