Toronto – Not even the excitement of MLB opening day on Thursday could provide a break from COVID-19 as ballparks across the United States were left mostly empty while the game in Washington, D.C. between the Nationals and New York Mets was postponed after positive tests.
Fans, many wearing masks, did their best to put on a happy face, but the usual buzz associated with opening day was lacking as COVID-19 health and safety protocols were observed across the league.
With 14 games on the schedule, the mood was as defiant as it was giddy as stadiums, many that had been used as vaccination centers, prepared to welcome back spectators.
“We’re reminded of how this wonderful game can lift our spirits, especially after this doozy of the past year. Not a day too soon,” tweeted legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
Opening day, however, was put on hold for Nationals fans after a player tested positive for COVID-19 and four others and a staff member were put in quarantine following contact tracing.
In the Bronx, for the first time in nearly 18 months, Yankee Stadium opened its gates to fans with 10,850 allowed inside for the Yankees’ opener against the Toronto Blue Jays —but only if they had proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test to go with their ticket.
Those sitting through the grey, cold New York afternoon didn’t have anything to celebrate on the field as they watched their Yankees fall 3-2 in extra-innings.
Toronto fans weren’t celebrating much either, as a few shuffled in the chill around the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays’ home venue, wondering when they might see their team again.
The Blue Jays, who have taken up temporary residence in Dunedin, Florida, have not played at the Rogers Centre since 2019 and are unlikely to be back in Toronto anytime soon with Ontario announcing on Thursday a new 28-day lockdown as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge.
Mother Nature spoiled the party for some, with rain forcing the postponement of Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles season opener at Fenway Park in Boston.
The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians play as snow fell at Comerica Park in Detroit. Miguel Cabrera smacked what was the season’s first home run to help the Tigers to a 3-2 win.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.