By Sports editor Brian Hoffman
Come one, come all. . .the crowds are back at Haley Toyota Field.
The Salem Red Sox returned to 100 percent capacity, or a total of 6,300 seats, at Salem Memorial Ballpark last weekend. The change from 30 percent capacity began last Friday and will continue through the season as long as current pandemic conditions improve or stay the same.
Salem is on the road this week, but the Sox will return to Salem beginning Tuesday, June 8, for a six game series with Fredricksburg. Salem lost five of six at home to Myrtle Beach last week but the weekend crowds didn’t seem to mind as baseball was back to normal for the first time since the summer of 2019.
“We have had great success welcoming our fans back safely to Haley Toyota Field,” said General Manager Allen Lawrence. “Our outdoor environment, with safety measures that are in place and guidance from local and state officials make it feel that now is the right time to re-open our stadium to full-capacity. We will continue to follow the necessary precautions to give fans a safe and clean experience.”
Salem Memorial Ballpark followed MLB fan safety protocols and state guidelines, which included social distancing, a 12ft dugout buffer, face coverings, sanitation stations and enhanced cleaning protocols.While capacity has been expanded, fan safety remains a top priority at Haley Toyota Field. The Sox will continue following enhanced cleaning protocols and sanitation stations will remain in place.
Masks, in accordance with CDC recommendations and local laws, will no longer be required for fans who are fully vaccinated. To meet the needs of fans who want to remain physically distanced at the ballpark, sections 310 and 311 will remain socially distanced with “pod seats”. These seats will be available for purchase online as well as at the box office prior to games.
Season Ticket Holders will return to their original seat locations beginning June 8th when the Sox return for their third homestand against the Fredericksburg Nationals. All previously printed 2021 tickets will be reprinted or redistributed digitally by June 3rd. Reprinted tickets can be picked up beginning Thursday June 3rd at the Salem Red Sox Front Office (9-5p) or at the stadium during a ticket pickup event, Saturday June 5th from 10am-3pm.
Single game tickets for remaining home games will go on sale during the first week of June and will be available at SalemSox.com or by calling (540) 389-3333.
“Our team and front office staff continue to be very thankful for the support and understanding from fans as we have navigated unique challenges together over the past year,” continued Lawrence. “As we transition back to full capacity we ask that guests continue to be patient as we adjust to increased crowds, a national staffing shortage and continued safety standards.”
The Sox will be at Lynchburg this week for games Tuesday through Sunday. Coming into the week the Red Sox were dead even at 12-12 in the North Division of the Low A East standings. That puts them five and a half games behind the first place Delmarva Shorebirds.
Lynchburg comes into the week in second place at 14-9 and next week’s Sox opponent, Fredricksburg, is 5-19.