Boston mayor Marty Walsh is open to the idea of the Red Sox playing games at Fenway Park this summer under two conditions: no fans would be allowed in the stands and the City of Boston would have have to sign off on “advanced health and safety protocols that protect not only the athletes, but also everyone else reporting to the workplace,” per The Boston Globe’s Michael Silverman.
Speaking with Silverman in an over-the-phone interview earlier Friday, Walsh emphasized the safety of all parties involved in this challenging process.
“Yes, as long as the players and the teams and the support staff and all the people that are associated with it are safe and feel comfortable,” he said, “Obviously, their health is important to me as well, many of them are constituents of mine and even if they’re not constituents of mine, I obviously want people to be healthy and safe. That’s going to be the biggest challenge that they’re going to have to figure out and meet if they’re going to move forward here.”
Walsh mentioned how he had recently spoken with Red Sox team president and CEO Sam Kennedy. The two talked about MLB’s plan to get baseball back this year, although no specific dates to get the sport back have been set to this point in time.
Still, the league and its players association are hashing out negotiations about a potential return to baseball in 2020, and if an agreement is reached sooner rather than later, the City of Boston would have to ensure that MLB’s COVID-19 protocols meet its own.
“We want to see the plan,” Walsh said. “We’ll have our public health experts take a look at it and make sure that they feel like everything is covered that needs to be covered moving forward here…They’re personal teams and they have employees, and we want to make sure the teams and the employees are taking care of everything and looking through it all so that we can make sure if it does open it’s open in a safe way and the virus doesn’t spread.”
This applies to the Bruins and Celtics, whose respective seasons were abruptly suspended in March, as well.
Opening Fenway Park and the TD Garden back up to its tenants does not involve letting fans back in anytime soon, however. This is mainly due to the fact that we are still pretty far away from getting a vaccine.
Despite how unfortunate that may sound for fans across the city, Walsh is still looking forward to the return of professional sports. whenever that may be.
“I think if baseball could come back like we’re seeing in Taiwan and South Korea, I think that’s good for people to have a distraction,” Walsh said. “I think sports is one aspect of that. People have different reasons for distraction and sports is one, and I think it would help a lot of people’s psyches as far as having baseball and sports back.”
To get sports back at all though, one would assume that the City of Boston would have to open back up first. And until more information is gathered on the ever-changing coronavirus, that still might not be for quite some time.