NORFOLK, Va. — For the first time in a post-COVID world, the Norfolk Tides have a home-opening date: April 13, 2021.
"Getting the schedule is great, but you never know what's going to happen with COVID," said Norfolk Tides General Manager Joe Gregory, who only entertains the prospect of love baseball for a brief moment.
The world's turn since Riptide and Triton last entertained the fans between innings has taught Gregory that even the knowns are still unknown. With that in mind, Gregory looks ahead to... something.
"It's nice to see where the starting line is, we have something to look forward to," said Gregory, finally able to begin making travel plans and plot promotions.
Now that games are scheduled, how many spectators will be there to watch? Currently, Governor Ralph Northam's restrictions allow for up to 250 in attendance, but Gregory hopes they can eventually base capacity off of a percentage of Harbor Park's 13,000 available bleacher seats.
However many fans are there -- masked and distanced -- Gregory plans on at least one baseball tradition remaining.
"We'll definitely have ballpark food. I think that's a big reason people come out to games, is to get barbeque, burgers, and dogs. I don't think it'd be a Minor League game without it."
It won't look quite the same as it did over a year ago, but America's pastime finally feels familiar in Norfolk again.