CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi hasn’t seen a Hooks game since 2019.
In 2021, the boys hit the diamond again with fans back in the stands. The team is finalizing their COVID-19 guidelines that allow fans into the park for a safe experience.
“We missed out," Brady Ballard said, General Manager of the team. "The fans in the community missed out last year with all that everyone’s gone through. So we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring the community back and we’ve been able to do that in small pieces too the last few months, with the high school games, Texas A&M Corpus Christi has been great and even the concerts.”
Although masks aren’t required in Texas, Ballard said they will be mandatory in the ballpark.
“We’re a city owned facility, it’s a city mandate," he said. "We’re a major league baseball organization, that’s a blanket policy across all of major league baseball right now, for all of these facilities. Prepare to have a mask when you arrive. It’ll be part of the experience for at least a period of time.”
“It makes sense," Loretta Hooper said, season ticket holder. "If we want to enjoy something we just got to abide by the rules. Eventually the rules will lighten up and we’ll be able to enjoy more company and more fans will be able to attend.”
Like most other places, you’ll see hand sanitizing stations throughout the park. Concession stand employees will have their masks and gloves and it’s encouraged you pay using a card. Fans will see signs reminding them about social distancing. Ballard said the they’re asking for distancing while waiting in any line. They’ll monitor foot traffic in and out of the team shop to avoid it getting too crowded.
For at least the first few months we won’t see a full ballpark. Season ticket holders, people with “legacy seats” will still have those. They have the option to sit with those other season ticket holders in larger groups. Then there will be other sections designated for seating using social distancing.
“I sit in a section where there’s several season ticket holders behind me, beside me, in front of me," said Hooper. "And we’re a little cluster. And if it gets too tight we have the option to leave. And that’s understandable.”
Changes have come for Hooper through these adjustments as well. Hooper is usually a host for a few players but won't be able to do that this season due to the pandemic.
Not all the kinks have been worked out yet. Ballard said they’re still working on a plan on how to allow children to safely get back on the playground in center field.
MLB changes guidelines on a constant basis, Ballard said. So, the team adapts as time goes on. So there’s the possibility more seating becomes available as the season carries on.
“We’re excited to have you, but we understand the rules are going to be in place and we’re going to be required to emphasize those and enforce them, said Ballard. "So, come with a mask in hand it’s going to be part of the experience and if you’re not ready for that it’s totally understood and totally fine. But this is the way we get back to business right now, get our employees back working, be able to have players on the field. We’re going to have to have some safety protocols in place until we’re told otherwise.”
Single game tickets will go on sale in the last week of April and will only be sold a month in advance. Like tickets, the promotional schedule will be released in a phased approach as well. But you can count on the traditional opening day fireworks on May 4, as well as on Friday nights.
When you return to the stadium you may notice some changes. Metal detectors will be installed and there are new electronic boards in the outfield. A small renovation is also happening behind the seating along the first base line.