The Cactus League Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s almost time for baseball in the Valley, as the Cactus League is scheduled to get underway next month. But with the pandemic still happening, things will continue to look a little different this year.
Spring Training usually means packed crowds at stadiums in the Valley. But after what happened in 2020, locals aren’t necessarily expecting that in 2021.
“Less seats are available. Seats are more expensive,” says Scottsdale resident Erika Camacho. “It’s not quite as fun, in my opinion.”
Neither the Cactus League nor local municipalities have released any official guidelines for the 2021 season. This is in large part due to the constantly changing nature of the pandemic. That uncertainty has restaurants like Bootleggers in Scottsdale feeling worried.
“When COVID-19 hit, it just went boom,” says Bootleggers Bar Manager Christopher Apostle. “Because after all those games let up, usually they start at one, and they get out about four. Then we get hit. Well, that was taken.”
Scottsdale resident Rudy Camacho hopes that COVID-19 won’t get in the way of the traditional Cactus League experience. He says he prefers to “get people in there and allow them to make their own choices.”
But while that feeling of intimacy that defines Cactus League games might not be the same this year, there are still plenty of reasons to head to the Ballpark.
For starters, it means leaving your house. And even socially distant baseball will likely benefit the local economy.
“We’re going to feel it. But I think it’s going to be up from the business that we have right now without it,” says Apostle. “So we’re going to embrace it. We’re open, and we want them.”
Rudy Camacho thinks baseball will help, “For everyone that’s working concessions, working the parking lots. For people that rely on that for part of their annual income. For me, the faster we can get to quote on quote normalcy, the better.”
Click here to learn more about the 2021 Cactus League.