Royals to welcome fans back for 2021 season

By The Examiner staff
Young Kansas City Royals fans as players for balls before a 2019 game. Royals fans will be welcomed back this season but will be limited to 10,000 in socially distanced pods.

Fans will be in attendance when the Kansas City Royals take the field in the season opener on April 1.

The team announced Thursday that an initial plan calls for pod-style seating to accommodate 10,000 fans per game, with goals to expand the capacity monthly, as the season progresses, and it is appropriately safe.

That will start when the Royals host the Texas Rangers in the 2021 opener at 3:10 p.m. April 1.

“Though we were able to return to the field last year, there was a huge component missing and it was felt by all of us with no fans in Kauffman Stadium,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a news release. “We play this game for our fans and the anticipation of seeing even a percentage of them in the ballpark when 2021 begins makes us wish we could open the season tomorrow.”

The Royals have been working for months with Kansas City health officials and the Jackson County Sports Authority to ensure fan safety, meaning capacity at first will be at approximately 30%, made up of socially distanced seating pods.

Season ticket holders, beginning March 8, will have first access to purchasing tickets for the 13 games in April. The general public will have the option to purchase single-game tickets on March 24. Future home game sale dates to be announced after opening day.

“Just playing in front of a few fans right now in spring training has made these games so much more exciting and interesting for all of us,” player Whit Merrifield said in a release. “The thought of at least 10,000 fans in Kauffman Stadium on April 1 makes my juices flow already and knowing our fans, they’ll make it sound like the ballpark is packed. We can’t wait to come home and play in front of our fans.”

Royals’ Sherman named to MLB council

Philadelphia Phillies managing partner John Middleton and Kansas City Royals chairman John Sherman have joined Major League Baseball’s eight-man executive council.

Their terms on the council began in January when the terms of Houston Astros chairman Jim Crane and the San Diego Padres' Ron Fowler expired. Fowler stepped down as Padres executive chairman in November and was replaced as controlling owner in November by Peter Seidler, who became chairman.

The council also includes Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio and Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf (whose terms expire in 2022); Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry and Colorado chairman Dick Monfort (2023); and Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter and Detroit Tigers chairman Christopher Ilitch (2024).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.