Mud Hens getting ready for 2021 season with new regulations
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Officials with the Toledo Mud Hens hosted a virtual Q & A session live on their Facebook page Wednesday night.
The discussion included Mud Hens General Manager Erik Ibsen, Director of Ticket Sales Kyle Moll, Director of Strategic Planning and Projects Mike Keedy, and event host and broadcaster Matt Melzak.
In a previous interview with 13abc, Ibsen said the organization had been through a difficult year without a 2020 season but saw the light at the end of the tunnel with the 2021 season schedule announcement.
“We’re looking at a capacity of 1,500 for the start of the season,” added Ibsen.
Currently, fans can go online to buy a $100 deposit, putting money down towards future tickets when they are available for purchase.
“It was really just to get people thinking about us again and let people know that it is coming,” explained Ibsen. “Being able to tie that to the capacity at Fifth Third Field, along with all the safety protocols that we’re working on to make sure the ballpark is safe and ready to go.”
At Monday’s news conference, Governor Mike DeWine was asked about state guidelines for the upcoming baseball season. The Governor mentioned he’d talked to minor and major league officials over the weekend, all of whom’s plans for fan capacity and distancing must be approved by local health departments, but an official announcement is expected Thursday.
“With what we know about masks and the power of masks, plus the vaccine, we could start at 30%,” said Governor DeWine regarding stadium capacity. “But the only one exception, the dark cloud out there, is the variant. We don’t know how it’s going to impact things and I told all of them (baseball teams) of that. That could totally change the ballgame.”
The Mud Hens are still playing by the rules from the state health guidelines, and the MLB, while asking fans to be team players.
Wednesday night, Ibsen stood ground for now on the capacity limit.
“We’re focused on what we’re able to do, putting our plan in place to safely entertain 1,500 people on April 6, and the hope has been that number will increase,” said Ibsen.
To cut down on traveling, teams will play longer six-game series against each other, within their own new regional divisions.
The Swamp Shop will be open, but there will be plexiglass, and masks must be worn at all times inside the park unless spectators are actively eating or drinking.
Seating in the park will be divided into pods of up to six people.
“We have to make sure there is a six-foot radius in each group, and we’re asking people to sit with members of their own household or trusted individuals,” said Keedy.
Opening Day is April 6, with the first game of the season against the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Fans can click here to fill out a form and select their preferences for games they’d like to attend before capacity limits are met.
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