The cardboard cutouts of baseball fans are cute, especially the ones where folks sent in their dogs.  But there are never enough of them to actually make the place look like it is full of fans.  They still get a big A for effort, though.  But there is nothing like having real fans in the stands once again.  The worst part is the fake crowd noise, and the good news is that this is going away.  Fans are returning to the stands at MLB games.

MLB Welcomes Back Fans

In this new era of social distancing, watching a baseball game these days we see all that space in the stands.  Couldn´t we get at least a few, properly distanced, select fans into the ballpark who have been cleared of COVID-19, and who really, really want to go out to the ballpark for the live experience of Major League Baseball?

The NLCS and the World Series will both take place at one site in Arlington, Texas.   The facility is called Globe Life Field and MLB has recently announced that approximately 11,500 tickets for those fans lucky enough to live in the area.

Of course, those 11,500 lucky fans will be spread out around the stadium to allow for proper social distancing, but the effect on the players for the first game of the NLCS was amazing.  Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said after the game, “We haven´t heard anything other than fake crowd noise.  This was much needed.  It was great.”

The Braves Come Out On Top

It did turn out to be great for Atlanta in the ninth inning with the score tied one to one, when Austin Riley slammed a no doubter home run to take the lead.  Marcell Ozuna later knocked in Ron Acuna Jr. for insurance and the Braves went on to win the first game of the NLCS, 5-1.

The fans are expected to turn up again at Globe Life Field at 6 pm EST when the Braves and the Dodgers go at it once again.  The Over/Under is 8 and tonight, LA gets to be the slight favorites at -135.  This is going to be a tight, hard fought series.

Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to pitch the second game against Atlanta, but had to withdraw due back spasms, which have bothered the future Hall of Famer before.  He has been replaced as the starter with Tony Gonsolin, who has proven to be lights out as a reliever earlier this season.

The MLB Postseason Is Going The Distance

Whoever takes the mound will surely notice the fans in the stands right away.  Many players have commented to the press about how the games are just not the same without having live folks in the stadium making live noise for a change.  All welcome the few that made it to the game.

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters after the game,  “I’m happy for the people here that were allowed to come in and experience this whole thing.  I think it’s a great step in the right direction.  I applaud MLB for all of us for what we´ve been through.  People got to be happy with the product that they saw tonight.  It was what, 11,000?  It sure sounded like more.  The people were into it, and good for them to be able to go to a ballgame and see a game of this caliber.”

While the NFL has been discreetly allowing limited numbers of fans into certain stadiums this year, this is Major League Baseball´s first venture into allowing live fans back into the ballpark.  Let’s hope that it works out well for all.