After the Boise Hawks lost their minor league affiliation last year there's no direct tie to the Seattle Mariners or Major League Baseball, but fans have a reason to be passionate about the season nonetheless.

Unlike 2020 when delays became the norm, baseball is starting on time this year, and there will be fans in the stands at most ballparks.

The Boise Hawks haven't announced exactly how ticketing will work this season or what fan capacity will be, but we know the season starts May 22, and the Hawks have a brand new start as an independent team in the Pioneer League.  The team has said there will be fireworks shows, post-game entertainment, and giveaways, and that won't happen without fans at the games, so we know the doors will be open in some capacity.  The Hawks will announce plans for full and half-season seat plans soon.

KTVB.com pointed out that the Hawks will play every day from May 22 to Sept. 10, excluding Tuesdays and August 30.  They'll play on the road to start the season against the Ogden Raptors, and the home opener at Memorial Stadium will be May 26 against the Grand Junction Rockies and it will be a 6-game series.  We'll have plenty of opportunities this spring and summer to get to Garden City to take in some baseball, hot dogs, and frosty beverages, and buy a red Dri-fit souvenir t-shirt.  With more than thirty-five home games this season it's just a matter of planning the road trip.

As for the Seattle Mariners, opening day is coming up Thursday at T-Mobile Park against the Giants.  And fans will be back.  No more cardboard cutouts.

Most Major League teams will have at least some fans in the stands this season, but not as many as the Texas Rangers will have, with 100 percent capacity.  Wow!  It's not a given that those fans will fill up the stadium just because they can, but the fact that maximum capacity is allowed at a professional sports arena is a big deal.  It's been well over a year since that has happened anywhere in the U.S.

The Toronto Blue Jays will be among the lowest fan capacity levels this season at 15 percent, and they're not even expected to play home games in Toronto for several weeks.  The Red Sox and Nationals will have a lower capacity at 12 percent.  The Houston Astros will be able to hold up to 50 percent capacity, and that's up to 20,600 fans, and that will be among the highest in MLB.  The Mariners will allow 9000 fans and they'll be sitting in a pod.

I'm so excited that at least a semi-normal baseball season is coming!  Something about the crack of the bat makes me want a hot dog and a beer right now, and I don't even like hot dogs or beer.  Whether you watch the Hawks, the Mariners, or a Netflix marathon of something else entirely, it's a new season and a fresh start and there are reasons to be optimistic.

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