BOSTON (CBS) — Baseball will be back soon, and with that return, Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy is hoping it will mean fans back in the seats at Fenway Park.
On a video conference call Wednesday night, Kennedy left that door open, creating quite the buzz around Boston. However, he was quick to add that having fans attend games at Fenway would take a lot of work between now and when the gates may eventually open.
“I would say it’s a possibility. If it were to become a reality, it would be because of the great work that the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston have done,” said Kennedy. “[Governor] Charlie Baker and [Lieutenant Governor] Karyn Polito and [Mayor] Marty Walsh and [Mayor’s Chief of Staff] Kathryn Burton and all of their teams. They’ve been under fire and under the gun day in and day out for four months. But if you look at the data and the numbers, it would suggest all of their work and the great work of people who live around Boston and New England is starting to pay off as the data is improving in our region.
COVID-19 numbers are spiking in certain parts of the country, but continue on a downward trend in Massachusetts. Kennedy said that having the public continue to follow the social distancing guidelines put in place by medical officials is imperative to getting fans back to a normal life — and not just attending baseball games.
“We are hopeful to have fans at some point. We need fans at Fenway Park. Our fans give us a competitive advantage,” he said. “I can tell you there are clubs around Major League Baseball that are anticipating having fans in their ballparks. It’s an incredibly important part of our business and of our baseball operations, so we’d like to get to that point. But I can’t tell you when that would happen. But we are working through the protocols that would be required to pursue the opportunity some day in the future.”
Kennedy warned that this is just a hope of his, and the Red Sox will not open the doors to fans until it is safe to do so.
“I want to make sure I’m clear: I hope that we can have fans back in the stands because of the competitive advantage that it gives you to have fans, but I don’t know that we will. It’s probably a little bit of me, personally, just projecting my own hope that fans will be back at Fenway Park,” he added. “I just anticipate it being extremely odd when we get going playing Major League Baseball games in front of no fans, it being a strange environment. It is, I think, important that if we do it, and can do it, we do it in a safe and responsible way following CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleanliness, face coverings and the like.
“We’ll see how it goes. I think it’s incredibly important that we start, when it’s safe, to start to try and get back to some sense of normalcy,” he said.
Major League Baseball announced earlier this week that it will begin its 60-game schedule on July 23 or 24.