As the Yankees conducted their second full-squad workout of spring training on Wednesday, employees of George M. Steinbrenner Field were busy in the stands.
Throughout the day, zip ties were installed on sets of seats around the ballpark in preparation for the arrival of fans (socially distanced due to the pandemic) once exhibition games begin this weekend.
"I know we're all looking forward to that. No more fans through the speaker system," Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton said. "We need some live-action fans and I think it'll be great for the fans as well to be able to get their mind off of something for a couple hours, come see us play and just enjoy being outside and back to somewhat normalcy."
With no fans in the stands throughout last year's shortened regular season, Stanton and his teammates played in empty ballparks, serenaded by the steady buzz (and occasional roar) of fake crowd noise emanating from the speaker systems.
"No more fan-pumped crowds!" Luke Voit said when asked about fans returning to ballparks. "I can't wait, it'll be fun on Sunday, and I think a lot of the other spring training parks are having fans too so I'm excited."
New York opens its slate of exhibition games on Sunday, Feb. 28 when the Toronto Blue Jays come to town. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
It certainly won't be the same as past spring training openers, as the vast majority of the seats at Steinbrenner Field will still be unoccupied, but Voit isn't complaining.
"It feels like it's been like five years since we played in front of fans so I can't wait," he said. "You'll probably get a little ovation even if you get a single, which will feel awesome. And they do the Opening Day lineups. I'm excited."
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