The new meaning of the Phillies’ opening day

COVID-19 turned normality upside down. But on the Phillies’ opening day, normality returned as in-person fans cheered and booed.

It was not a joke. On April 1, the Phillies opened their season at home and fans were in attendance.
2020 was anything but normal. Big crowds were non-existent in pandemic-laden 2020. Sold out ball games, concerts and the like were impossible. But, things have started to change.
In 2020, like the majority of major league sports leagues, the MLB did not have fans. The NBA and NHL did not have fans. Some teams in the NFL, like the hometown Philadelphia Eagles did try to have fans for three games, but ultimately, COVID-19 did what COVID-19 does and the team stopped letting fans in.
But, 2021 is a new year. Unlike last year, this country has a vaccine, three in fact. Because of that, COVID-19 will meet its maker sooner rather than later.
Following city protocols, the Philles made plans. Regulations determined that the team could offer tickets to 8,800 fans, 20% capacity. Masks were mandated. While it was not completely normal, it was definitely more “normal” than last season.
On opening day, those plans were put into action and it was a good day, and not only because the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2.
There were cheers. And, there were boos when the umpire made questionable calls against the home team.
Players interacted with the fans by tossing balls to them.
“The Phandemic Krew”, a group of fans that were famous for sitting outside the stadium in 2020, were actually in Citizens Bank Park this year, stationed in the outfield.
Opening day brought people together unlike anything has in the past year. It will only get better from here. In fact it already has.
Since opening day, capacity was raised from 20% to 25% and so now 11,000 fans are allowed inside Citizens Bank Park.
Day by day, more people are getting vaccinated as well, so, before you know it we will be able to reach the estimated 70-85 percent of the population having herd immunity, and we will be completely back to normal.
Opening Day was a great start, and as long as people keep rolling up their sleeves and lining up to get the vaccine.
The hope and normality and hope that we saw that day will only grow, day by day.