Mariners set July 23 return for games

Mariners set July 23 return for games
Seattle Mariners' Chris Herrmann (26) celebrates with teammates Kyle Seager (15) and Dee Gordon (9) after scoring on a two-run double by Mitch Haniger during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Saturday, June 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners officially announced plans to restart games on either July 23 or July 24.

When the team resumes at T-Mobile Park, no fans will be allowed to watch any of the games in-person.

Additionally, Mariners staff and players must test negative for the coronavirus before they are allowed to participate in training exercises or actual games.

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Despite the changes, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto insisted his team was excited to finally resume baseball.

“The excitement of having the players back and getting the game moving again is certainly creating a new energy -- and we’re looking forward to it,” he told KIRO 7 News, adding that the actual games will be the same as they’ve always been.

Instead, he said it’s the overall sporting experience that will be radically different.

When training resumes, no more than eight people will be allowed in each workout group.

Social distancing also means staff meetings will happen in the stands or on the field at T-Mobile Park, as opposed to the clubhouse.

“We’re very confident that we’ll be able to break the group up into sizes that make sense,” Dipoto commented.

Despite a ban on spectators at all Major League Baseball games, sports fans told KIRO 7 News they were just thrilled that baseball is back.

“Hopefully you have some entertainment to get your mind off everything going on,” said Steven Boynton.

“I don’t know if I expected (the Mariners) to come back, but I hoped they would!” added Josh Waldroup.

Even though the Mariners are coming back in the middle of a pandemic, Dipoto insisted none of his players have openly worried about returning to baseball.

“We’ve already heard from 25, 30 players on our 40-man team and they’re chomping at the bit,” he said.

To date, at least one Mariners player has tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

According to Dipoto, each Ccoronavirus case within the Mariners was asymptomatic and each player has fully recovered