FLORENCE, Ky. — The Florence Y’alls opened their regular season Friday night against the Lexington Legends with fewer fans in seats than years past -- and that’s by design.
In a season that's anything but regular, the Y’alls have put up new protocols for fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, including limited stadium capacity and spaced-out seating.
Y’alls Fan Communications Director Hannah Siefert likened UC Health Stadium’s socially-distanced seating chart to a “bubble” for each family of fans.
“You have three seats on either side of you. Nobody is in front of you or behind you,” she said.
Face masks are required until you sit down, and if you get up for concessions, stickers will mark where you stand. Condiment stations have been replaced with individual ketchup and mustard packets. Fans wanting to sip a cold one on the concourse level will have to find their seat or a picnic table on the right field line.
“We have 50% capacity ability, but we’ll probably be at 30–35% at the end of the day to make sure everyone is safe and socially distanced,” Seifert said.
An hour ahead of schedule, fans including Triston and Sophia Cornett stepped up to the gate for a temperature check before coming into the stadium.
“As soon as we knew the date, we’re like, ‘We have to get the gear. Let’s get decked out. We’re ready,’” said Triston, a Y’alls season-ticket holder. He said they enjoy the fan interaction at Y'alls games that you can't get at major sporting events.
“Here you can chit-chat with players. You come to games, they get to know you. It’s nice and cool to have that one-on-one interaction," he said.
For fans like Jason Wren and his family, taking their seats on the third base side, it’s been a long wait to watch a baseball game in person, even if it means playing it safe.
“It’s nice that they’re doing that,” he said. “That way everyone is being healthy. Trying to stay safe with everything.”
With minor league baseball back, everyone wins, and with precautions in place, fans like the Cornetts hope it stays that way.
“To sit down and watch nine innings of baseball, we’ve missed it so much to not have any sports," Tristan Cornett said.