WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Baseball is back at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Major League Baseball announced its spring training schedule Friday.
"We've been prepping and getting ready to, hopefully, get to the day that we got to today -- announcing a schedule and getting ready to put tickets on sale again," Matt Slatus said.
Slatus is the general manager of the ballpark. He said those preparations have everything to do with COVID-19.
"Everything from completely retrofitting our sinks and restroom toilets to being touchless now, to adapting a cashless touchless model at our parking locations, our merchandise store, our concession's locations," he said.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will host its first game Feb. 28 with the Houston Astros taking on the visiting Miami Marlins. Even with reduced capacity and reduced travel, the ballpark will host 23 more games during March.
Just up the road at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the Washington Nationals the same day. That's great news for Alex Marquez, who is the general manager of Das Beer Garden.
"We're excited," he said. "Spring training is probably the most exciting time we have in our little street."
Marquez said businesses on Town Center Drive have taken a hit during this pandemic. But when it comes to baseball, that means business, he said, and lots of it.
"I believe we're going to increase dramatically now that baseball is back," he said.
Back at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Slatus said he expects seating to follow social distancing guidelines.
"Pods of seats are available ranging in size from one to six and each pod will be at least 6 feet away from another pod in any which direction," he said.
Just over 1,500 fans will be allowed in the stadium and fans will be required to wear a face mask at all times unless they're eating or drinking at their seat.