Having successfully staged live professional ballgames for a month in the midst of a global pandemic, Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League is now preparing for the next step. As CPBLStats.com covers, the league is preparing to welcome fans through the gates.
Taiwan’s CDC, which has overseen one of the world’s most successful responses to the coronavirus, already greenlit a proposal for 250 fans per contest. (Per the Fubon Guardians’ Twitter account.) The CPBL has already sought approval for permission to let a thousand fans through the door as soon as this weekend.
It won’t quite be business as usual, to say the least. The turnstiles won’t be rotating quite as many times as normal. And there will be restrictions on those that show up to see a ballgame in the flesh. Fans will not only have to provide their names and undergo temperature screening on their way in, but will need to maintain social distancing and don masks during the contest.
The CPBL became the first professional baseball league to launch after the coronavirus crisis halted play around the world. And it remains a clear success story, with no indication that play has interfered with efforts to protect the health and welfare of participants or the broader public. It’s also no longer alone in staging ballgames, with the Korea Baseball Organization kicking off play overnight.
Though it’s tempting to interpret these developments as cause for optimism, the sobering reality is that the situation is far different in Taiwan and Korea than in North America. Those countries have only reached the point of staging sports — and, now, allowing fans to congregate — after all but fully stomping out the spread of COVID-19.