PEORIA, Ariz. — As Mariners’ pitchers and catchers reported to the team’s complex at scheduled times throughout Wednesday for the team’s extensive physicals, the array of fields around the complex were basically empty.

Come Thursday morning, the familiar and inimitable sound of metal spikes walking on concrete and baseballs striking leather catchers’ gloves at high rates of velocity will permeate throughout the six-field complex. Similar to robins chirping, it’s a sweet sound signifying spring is coming.

Except only the players and approved Mariners’ staff members will hear it.  

The practice fields will be closed to fans for all of spring training, according to the Peoria Spring Training COVID-19 operations plan created by the City of Peoria and the Peoria Sports Complex, released on Feb. 9, which also used recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health officials, the Cactus League, MLB, the Mariners and San Diego Padres.

The morning/pregame workouts often attract a swarm of fans to the back fields of the complex where they can watch practice sessions up close through chain-link fences, seek out autographs in certain areas when players pass by and even interact with the players. The intimacy of this situation has made the workouts as popular as the afternoon Cactus League games.

Obviously, that entire situation would violate the social distancing plan.  


But fans won’t be completely left on the outside looking in at spring training. Unlike the 2020 regular season, baseball fans — at highly-reduced numbers — will be allowed to attend spring training games in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.

Unlike the regular season where games are played in MLB-owned ballparks and handled by the league and team owners, the spring training game controls and ticket sales fall under the jurisdiction of the local communities, with MLB and teams offering input.

Given the differences with each spring training location in terms of facilities — size, occupancy and infrastructure — as well as local health guidelines, each municipality developed its own operations plan with their respective teams.

Based on the Peoria operations manual, a ticketing manifest, featuring pod seating, has been finalized with a reduced capacity to allow for 6 feet of distance between pods of fans.

The total attendance allowed at games at Peoria Stadium will be 1,960 fans, which is about 16% of its 12,518 capacity.

The tickets available will be in “pods” of two seats (65%), four seats (33%), three seats (1.25%) and one seat (0.42%). People looking for pods of five or more seats would be remitted to the lawn area in the outfield or the outfield pavilion, right field porch or Colonnade Patio. There will be no suite tickets or usage. And no season ticket plans for all of the spring games will be sold. But season-ticket holders from 2020 would get priority on single-game purchases.


The lawn seating, which offered an economical option for fans, will be limited to 468 fans.

The plan also mentioned cashless transactions for concessions with a reduced menu and for purchases in the team store.  

And all fans in attendance above the age of 2 must wear face masks at all times unless they are consuming food or a beverage. If a fan fails to abide by the mask rule, they will receive two warnings before facing ejection from the stadium.

Of course, fans don’t really care about this whole process to make it work. They just want to know if they can go watch their team play and when they can start buying tickets.  

Unlike other locales in the Cactus League, the Peoria Sports Complex has yet to announce when tickets will go on sale. The Mariners and Padres have yet to receive official notification as well. They’ve offered input based on their safety guidelines, but ultimately the PSC has control over the situation.

An announcement of when tickets would go on sale might come as early as Friday. The Mariners and Padres open the Cactus League schedule on Feb. 28.

Here’s a look at other Cactus League and fan attendance policies based on their stadium websites and respective operation manuals. All facilities will follow similar protocols:

  • Pod seating in groups two, four or six, which includes lawn seating.
  • Tickets will be sold on a single-game basis. There will be no season tickets.
  • Face masks will be required at all times for fans older than age 2 unless they are eating or drinking. Several stadiums will not recognize gaiters, bandannas or masks with vents as appropriate to fill the requirement.
  • Fans will not be allowed to bring bags of any sort into stadiums.
  • Autographs are prohibited and all practice areas will be off limits.
  • Most stadiums will go with touchless transactions, meaning cash will not be accepted.
  • Many stadiums have banned spitting, including sunflower seeds.

Chicago Cubs

  • Sloan Park in Mesa
  • Normal capacity: 15,000
  • Fans allowed in 2021: Approximately 4,000 fans (27%)
  • Tickets go on-sale: Friday

Arizona Diamondbacks/Colorado Rockies

  • Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
  • Normal capacity: 11,000
  • Fans allowed in 2021: approximately 2,200 fans (17%)
  • Tickets on-sale date: Saturday

Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago White Sox

  • Camelback Ranch in Glendale
  • Normal capacity: 13,000
  • Fans allowed in 2021: 2,400 fans (18%)
  • Tickets on-sale date: Saturday, Feb. 20

San Francisco Giants

  • Scottsdale Stadium
  • Normal capacity: 12,000
  • Fans allowed in 2021: reportedly 750 fans total
  • Tickets on-sale date: TBD

Cleveland Indians/Cincinnati Reds

  • Goodyear Ballpark
  • Tickets on-sale date: TBD
  • Normal capacity: 10,311
  • Fans allowed in 2021: 2,268 (22%)

Oakland A’s

  • Hohokam Stadium in Mesa
  • Normal capacity: 12,500
  • Fans allowed in 2021: 2,000 fans (20%)
  • Tickets on-sale date: Thursday, Feb. 18

Milwaukee Brewers

  • American Family Fields of Phoenix
  • Normal capacity: 10,000
  • Fans allowed in 2021: approximately 2,300 fans (25%)
  • Tickets on-sale date: Thursday, Feb. 18

Los Angeles Angels

  • Tempe Diablo Stadium
  • Normal capacity: 9,558
  • Fans allowed in 2021: between 1,800 to 2,000 (25%)
  • Tickets on-sale date: Feb. 23

Kansas City Royals/Texas Rangers

  • Surprise Stadium
  • Normal capacity: 10,500
  • Fans allowed in 2021: under 2,000
  • Tickets on-sale date: Saturday