The Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles has been postponed due to rain, the team said Thursday, temporarily dampening excitement over the return of fans to Fenway Park.
The game will be played Friday at 2:10 p.m. instead, the Red Sox said in a statement.
“The decision to postpone our first game of the season was not made lightly,” said Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy. “The built-in off day was created for just this purpose and tomorrow’s forecast for sunshine also factored into our decision. We have been eager to have fans back at Fenway Park for the first time in 18 months and look forward to welcoming everyone back tomorrow under brighter and drier conditions.”
A widespread half inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain is expected across the region, according to the NBC10 Boston and NECN weather team.
Tickets to Thursday's game can be used for the rescheduled contest on Friday. Gates will open two hours before the game, and pregame ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 1:40 p.m.
The postponement comes as many were excited to see baseball -- along with fans -- return to Fenway.
"Having fans back, hearing that crowd, hearing people cheer - that’s going to be fantastic," Red Sox executive Sara McKenna said earlier.
The Red Sox were set to welcome over 100 healthcare heroes to the ballpark for Opening Day. Through a partnership with Dell Technologies, 10,000 tickets will be distributed to healthcare workers throughout the 2021 season.
Still, the Red Sox say they’re ready to play ball and keep everyone safe. Fenway’s capacity is capped at 12%, or a little more than 4,500 people. Seating will be in pods of two, four and six.
The team has partnerships with three companies to help maintain Fenway Park’s health and safety standards, including Lysol for disinfectant and cleaning supplies; Surfacide for UV-C technology UV technology that kills 99.99% of dangerous pathogens on hard surfaces; and Airocide for air purification that uses bioconversion technology developed by NASA to eliminate harmful, airborne particulates such as bacteria, mold and viruses.
Ticketing will take place online and through the MLB's Ballpark app. Plexiglass and hand sanitizers are in place. Concession stands will be open for cash purchases. But fans are encouraged to pay for beer and hot dogs electronically.
More than 30,000 seats in the ball park have been zip-tied shut to keep people out of them and away from each other. Bags are prohibited.
The Red Sox say if you’re coming to ballpark, be patient and make sure you give yourself plenty of time. You’ll have to take a health survey before getting into Fenway.