Baseball at any level in Minnesota remains idled by the coronavirus pandemic, but teams and leagues are in the process of implementing safety measures to keep fans safe if and when they're allowed to attend games when play resumes.
In the case of the St. Paul Saints, the reigning American Association champions, measures are already in place for how fans will be kept as safe as possible using social distancing measures at CHS Field.
Here's what fans, staff and players can expect if the season begins and crowds are allowed at some point.
– Cashless payments: this will include parking, food, beverage, tickets and merchandise.
– Ballpark sanitation: increased cleanings, possible disinfectant spraying, more hand sanitizing stations, possible addition of ionizers or disinfectant foggers in enclosed areas of the facility.
– Social distance seating: to maintain social distancing, rows and seats will be kept empty, thus effectively separating families. Overall, it'll lead to a decrease in capacity and attendance.
– Staff health screenings: temperature checks for all employees, contractors and interns; staff working face-to-face with customers will wear protective gloves and masks; no handshaking or physical contact allowed between staff and fans.
– Player/coach safety: increased cleaning of clubhouses; media and staff prohibited from entering the clubhouses; no buffet-style meals; all pre-packaged utensils; seeds, gum, peanuts and other "spit" items banned.
– Condiments: all condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) will be pre-packaged to avoid high-contact touch points.
The American Association of Independent Baseball was scheduled to begin the regular season May 19, but the start date has been postponed. League officials are hoping to begin an 80-game schedule in early July.
"The early July timeline, along with the length of the season, is subject to the ability to hold games in home markets while abiding by federal, state, provincial governments laws and municipal health orders and guidelines," the league announced in April.