by Alex Poletti
Photo by Steve Mitchell / USA Today Sports
Looking for a way to start the season as soon as possible, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred disclosed that the league has considered holding all games at Marlins Park in Miami with no restrictions on fan attendance, as the number of fans generally going to Marlins games would adhere to all social distancing guidelines.
“We think we can effectively quarantine the players and make sure that they stay safe,” Manfred says, “but the problem is with the fan experience. Baseball just isn’t the same without people there to witness it live. Luckily, if we just make every game a Marlins game, then barely anybody will show up, meaning fans should have no problem staying six feet apart.”
The Marlins have boasted a record-low attendance rate over the past few years amid a string of losing seasons. Once known for an All-Star outfield including MVPs Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton, a recent fire sale under CEO Derek Jeter has left the team without any stars and without a reason for fans to come out to support the Fish.
“Now as soon as fans catch wind that other teams will be playing at the park, we may encounter a problem,” Manfred continues. “But Floridians are pretty slow to catch on, so we should have at least a month before attendance actually becomes an issue.”
This discussion comes as baseball attempts to become the first sport to make its return in America since the coronavirus pandemic began. Pundits have been saying that baseball is the perfect sport to reopen, as there is no physical contact, all players stay reasonable distances and the lack of exercise means heavy breathing won’t be a problem.
“This was our strategy all along,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says. “We knew that someday, the league would need a team without a fan base. Because of our hard work, we’ve achieved that, and now our stadium is the perfect refuge for teams looking to play live baseball in front of real fans without actually having to worry about there being any fans.”
However, some worry that Marlins Park opening up may cause an increase in attendance, thus defeating the purpose. Some Floridians have already expressed their excitement at the prospect of going to a game.
“Knowing that I may catch a virus and die may be the saving grace I need to make it through a Marlins game,” Florida man Trey Irwin says.