Coronavirus: Nationals GM says World Series banner raising will be delayed until fans are allowed back

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports

The Washington Nationals might have to wait a while to properly celebrate their first World Series banner.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

The team was previously scheduled to raise its 2019 banner two weeks ago during their home opener, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic obviously meant that wasn’t going to happen.

Now, games clearly aren’t going to be happening for a while. And it’s going to be even longer before fans are allowed into stadiums to watch them. That raised the awkward question of when the Nationals — and possibly other teams as we move through the sports calendar — will actually hold their banner-raising ceremony.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told MLB Network Radio on Sunday that the team is prepared to wait as long as it takes.

From NBC Sports Washington:

“I think as far as raising the banner and the distribution of rings, we’re going to wait for our fanbase to be involved to do those types of things,” Rizzo said. “Those are once-in-a-lifetime things to do and our fanbase is such a big factor in helping us win that thing. They earned it, they deserve to be involved in it and we’re going to wait for them to do it.”

That’s probably the best option, given how deflating the alternatives were. Either doing something virtually or only with the players once games can be played in isolation would probably have been a downer for Nationals fans.

However, it could be a long time before fans are allowed back into Nationals Park. Experts aren’t even trying to guess when it will be safe to put tens of thousands of people in close contact again, and top expert Anthony Fauci has said the only way the virus can truly be stopped is a vaccine, which might not come until 2021.

It could be a while before spectators are allowed back into MLB games. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
It could be a while before spectators are allowed back into MLB games. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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