Houston Astros: Order from Texas governor will have little effect on fans

Texas governor Greg Abbott | Houston Astros (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)
Texas governor Greg Abbott | Houston Astros (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images) /

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently modified his order to allow fans into sporting events with restrictions. What’s the detail? Effect on Houston Astros?

The Houston Astros are still awaiting the MLB and MLBPA to get an agreement so that way they can get the 2020 season back on track which has yet to start.  They’re aiming for a mid-July start with their hopes pinned that a handshake — or elbow bump in these times — can be made on how best to split the vastly reduced revenues as a result of things being shut down.

The MLB has been losing $75 million a day since things have been shut down as a result of this global pandemic and that’s just not a rate that’s sustainable for the survival of the league unless some semblance of a return is executed with the Houston Astros in tow.

It’s a tough tightrope that Commissioner Rob Manfred is having to walk, ensuring that both sides — players and owners — have a deal while keeping the utmost of safety in mind.  Manfred is said that he’s confident he has the resources to test robustly so that they can keep things going even if a player tests positive for the coronavirus.

He’s going to be tapping into the same facility that is used to test for PEDs and the testing should be around 14,500 per week heading just south of 200,000 of them for the 82-game, shortened season.  Players won’t be tested every day but will be done so frequently and CDC guidelines will be followed during games as well.

You can only imagine what’s going through the minds of Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa in regard to what will be the new normal.  I can’t speak for them but I still imagine they’re just as ready to get things going.

The opening of team facilities for individual workouts is an early tell-tale sign of how things will work once things get started, including temperature checks before entering buildings, players spaced apart with masked coverings across facing during some circumstances.

While that’s going on, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced via executive order yesterday that professional sports teams can allow fans at events as long as it’s up to 25 percent capacity for outdoor facilities.

This doesn’t work for most of our pro sports teams with the exception of the Houston Dynamo

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and Dash as well as our collegiate teams with sports that play primarily outdoors such as the University of Houston, Rice University and Texas Southern.  The Houston SaberCats could actually let fans back in with their open-air facility already on deck but it remains to be seen what they will do once their season restarts.

Even though NRG Stadium and the Houston Astros‘ Minute Maid Park have retractable roofs, the language of the order doesn’t consider those facilities as an open-air type.  So it’s highly probable that both leagues will have to start their seasons without fans, at least in the near-term.

Limited capacity or not, pro sports are designed to have massive crowds to keep their business model strong and if that can’t happen, the stands might as well be empty because it’s going to be tough to manage limited capacity when there’s so much pent up demand that has been built up to watch our teams live over the past two months.

Next. Astros: MLB testing protocols remain in question. dark

We’ll back in our stadiums once again ladies and gents but now is not the time but it will be soon.

Let us look forward to a hopeful future in this regard…