Baseball is back: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp return after COVID-19 delays games by almost 2 years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are officially back. It’s been almost two years’ worth of hurdles, setbacks and cancellations, but now the 2021 season is in full swing.

“I’m pumped. I’m ready to go,” Andy Foster said, as he picked up his season tickets. “It’s my bucket of popcorn. It’s what I love in life and one thing I’m going to enjoy during my retirement.”

Foster and his wife are baseball fanatics. The retired military couple has always vowed to be season tickets holders wherever they go. As a military family they’ve been stationed many places, including Norfolk and Scranton. Now, living in Jacksonville, it was only fitting to grab tickets for the Jumbo Shrimp.

“We are very excited for the season to finally come back,” Foster said.

The last time the Jumbo Shrimp played a team on the field was August 26, 2019. Their 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Action News Jax told you back in July of 2020 when the team requested rent relief from the City of Jacksonville. It was approved for $120,000 for 6 months’ worth of rent.

The hardships didn’t stop there. The season was supposed to start back in April, but got delayed due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Just because they want to get the players vaccinated,” Media Relations Manager, Scott Kornberg, said. “Most of those guys got their second shot last week.”

For the most part, everything on the field will stay the same. It’s in the stand where you’ll see the changes.

The stadium is operating at 45% capacity, which is about 5,000 fans. Some seats are sectioned off with zip ties to make sure people stay socially distanced. Masks also must be worn at all times, unless actively eating or drinking.

“The hope is that as vaccines get more prevalent, as things open up, our ball park will open up more and more,” Kornberg said.

The team will evaluate capacity and other protocols on a month to month basis.

By mid-May they will release tickets for their summer games, some seats could be added depending on where we are with COVID-19.

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