ST. LOUIS–Count St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt among those happy to hear the news that fans will be allowed back inside Busch Stadium, beginning with the April 8 home opener against Milwaukee.
The stadium will be allowed to hold up to 32 percent capacity, or roughly 15,000 fans.
“They’re the reason, candidly, we have our jobs and beyond that the bond that it Cardinal baseball with Cardinal Nation, it’s hand in hand, it’s special, it’s magic, it’s really not duplicated in any other place,” Shildt told reporters Thursday afternoon via Zoom ahead of the team’s Spring Training game Thursday night against Houston.
“Anyone who’s ever put on the birds on the bat at any position whether that be on the field or in the dugout as a coach or manager always echoes that, rightfully so. Just a really nice thing to have those fans back and get ’em back to interacting with us,” Shildt said.
While it will be the first time for fans in St. Louis to give new third baseman Nolan Arenado a standing ovation for representing the home team, it will also be a chance for fans to welcome back longtime stalwarts like Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, who faced uncertain futures in the offseason before agreeing to new contracts.
Shildt was also mindful of what the Busch Stadium news means in the larger context of the fight against COVID-19.
“It’s also a great indicator that it’s a positive for our country and the world, that we’re making strides with this really tough deal that everybody’s had to face that we have a shared bond with COVID,” Shildt said.