Phillies likely to have ‘some fans’ attend Opening Day

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Come Opening Day on April 1, there will be exactly 550 days since Philadelphia Phillies fans last saw a game, in person, inside of Citizens Bank Park — the 4-3 season finale defeat to the Miami Marlins on September 29, 2019, Gabe Kapler‘s last game as manager of the team after two seasons.

That streak is now likely to go no further, as “some fans” are likely to be able to attend the 2021 season opener opposite the Atlanta Braves.

There is a strong chance there will be Phillies fans in attendance on Opening Day.

“I can’t guarantee anything, but I can say that it’s likely that there would be some fans in the stands at the Phillies home opener,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “How many is going to depend not just on us, but also what the state decides.”

Dr. Farley confirmed a report that the Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers, and Philadelphia Flyers have all reached out to the city with a request to have “limited fans” in attendance — which would coincide the State of New Jersey’s recent ease of restrictions.

These requests, Dr. Farley reminded, must be approved by the State of Pennsylvania — since Philadelphia cannot be less restrictive.

Starting pitcher Zach Eflin praises Phillies fans.

Having even a small number of Phillies fans inside the ballpark come Opening Day would be a significant boost for not only the team, but also the fans themselves — who have only been able to see the team play on ladders outside the centerfield gates, not sitting in Citizens Bank Park’s blue seats we took for granted since its 2004 opening.

“Don’t get me wrong, [fans] hold us accountable, but they are fantastic,” starting pitcher Zach Eflin said about Phillies fans in a recent Baseballtown Charities Phillies Winter Tour interview. “I’d much rather hear backlash and support than just support the whole time. I’m always a guy that sometimes I need to be talked down to in order to get better and prepare myself better for my next outing.”

“It really is such a unique place,” Eflin continued. “It’s really special to be able to interact with the fans. All of them are so super nice to your face. It’s an awesome place.”

Hopefully, every Phillies fan gets a chance to return to Citizens Bank Park at some point this coming season.

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