The Aberdeen IronBirds, a High-A East Minor League Baseball team, will open its home season Tuesday in Aberdeen, but despite recent COVID announcements from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and logistics, fans coming to Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium should be aware of continuing restrictions.
Hogan’s announcement read, “As a result of the state’s rapid pace of COVID-19 vaccinations and subsequent declines in key health metrics, Gov. Larry Hogan today announced the lifting of all capacity restrictions on outdoor entertainment, art, and sports venues and indoor entertainment venues and conventions, and all remaining restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining, as of Saturday, May 15.”
“We are saying that you still have to wear a mask, because that’s the law in Maryland, but we are not going to be at 100 percent capacity for Tuesday’s opener,” Jack Graham, IronBirds General Manager said.
So, to be clear, fans attending game will still be required to wear a mask when entering and moving about the stadium concourse. Fans can remove masks when actively eating and drinking, but if not doing either, masks must be worn while sitting in seats.
Aberdeen’s first home stand is set for Tuesday through Sunday and fans will be allowed and encouraged to attend.
Tuesday through Friday games begin nightly at 7:05 p.m., while Saturday games begin at 6:05 p.m. Sunday games have 2:05 p.m. start times. All series’ in 2021 are six-game series played Tuesday through Sunday. Monday’s are an off day throughout the entire season.
“For the first home stand (May 18-23) we are going to be at limited capacity because we don’t have time take all of the zip ties off all of the seats. That’s 3,000 zip ties out there,” Graham said. So, for the first home stand, we will be at the limited capacity that we intended to be before the Governor’s announcement and then for the second home stand (June 1-6), we are going to be at approximately 50 percent capacity because we still need to ramp up our staffing levels and also the mass vaccination site in the parking lot is still taking up about half of our parking. But, we intend to be at 100 percent capacity by June 22 as long as the mass vaccination site is not there any longer, which we think they may be leaving soon.”
Season ticket holders have tickets, but seats are not likely the seats they’ve had in the past.
“Because of the logistical challenges that are posed by moving 3,000 season ticket holders once, we’re not able move them all back for this season,” Graham said. “However, if people would like to come to the box office with their physical tickets in hand and change them, we might have their seats available for some games. Where we can’t make any guarantees, but to the best of our ability, we will assist fans who come to the box office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to do exchanges.”
Graham added, “We’re guaranteeing you’ll be able to go back to your old seats in 2022, but for this year, if you’re OK with the seats you got, it’s going to be easier for everybody to stay where they are.”
Interaction between fans and players is not allowed under current mandate put in place by Major League Baseball. No autographs.
“We’re very hopeful that things will continue to progress,” Graham said.
In addition to the baseball game on the new turf field, fans can also eat and drink.
“We are just reminding people that the concession stands will be open, we’ll be rocking and rolling with lots of great food options and outside food and beverages still not permitted inside of Ripken Stadium, but that is something I think most people already know,” Graham said.