My first outing to a big venue after being fully vaccinated came this week. I was among the 4,147 people who attended an Orioles game in person.
I wish I could tell you it was glorious to watch live baseball again — and it was fun and diverting. The O’s beat the Seattle Mariners 7 to 6 with an exciting walk-off single by Ramon Urias.
But, honestly, it was also weird.
It wasn’t just that ticketing was digital, concessions were all cashless and no vendors lined the avenue into the ballpark. The Camden Yards ballpark was at 9% capacity, with most seats roped off to keep social distance. Bags were prohibited, I learned belatedly.
Masks were required and were supposed to be worn except when people were “actively eating or drinking” in their designated seats, although many fans interpreted those rules liberally.
Clearly, much effort went into making people feel safe. The Orioles Bird wore a mask with the slogan, “Mask up Birdland.” Orioles players have been vaccinated and are urging everyone to “Take one for the team. Get the vaccine.”
Guards, concessionaires and security personnel were friendly.
“Welcome back,” guards said as fans entered the ballpark. “Welcome back.”
It’s one thing to attend an outdoor event with physical distancing and quite another to sit inside a closed hall or arena packed tight with people. Going back is a leap of faith.