SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As baseball teams across KELOLAND return to the diamond, fans are following, and they’re attempting to play by a new set of rules.
At this weekend’s Sioux Falls Cyclones Swingfest, fans are asked to beware of thrown and batted balls, but being a spectator in the age of COVID-19 presents its own challenges.
“I think people are going to distance themselves. I think they’re only going to be around the people they’re generally around anyway, and with baseball you can watch from any place on the field and feel totally safe,” Baltic resident Jenny Hefty said.
“I think they’ve done a good job of using common sense. Everyone has been pretty programmed to keeping their hands clean and keeping their distance when it makes sense,” Sioux Falls resident John Sutton said.
“16 varsity and jv teams, including squads from Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Seattle, are participating in this weekend’s tournament, and fans are just happy to be back in the stands,” KELOLAND’s Travis Fossing said.
“A month ago, we were thinking we might have nothing to look forward to and that changed very quickly, and very excited to be out,” Sutton said.
“These kids are older and they just lived through something none of the rest us have and they realize it’s a big deal and they know the precautions and all the rest of us adults are taking it very seriously,” Hefty said.
Precautions include a limit on the number of players in the dugout, fans in every other row of the bleachers, and the drinking fountains are turned off.
“I”m a little concerned that they have the water faucets and everything turned off, especially when it’s going to be super hot,” Hefty said.
It’s not an ideal setup, but it’s baseball.
“Everyone’s really excited and very thankful to have the opportunity. Not all states have this opportunity,” Sutton said.
“We’re just pumped that everyone can finally get together and play ball,” Hefty said.
The Dakota Classic is set for next week, with games in Brandon, Harrisburg, and Sioux Falls. 13 teams are currently scheduled to participate.