JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Opening day with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp went on … online, that is.
Wednesday would have been the Jumbo Shrimp’s first home game of the baseball season, but the COVID-19 pandemic shelved those plans.
So, instead of taking the field at 121 Financial Ballpark, the Jumbo Shrimp decided to have their opening day virtually for baseball fans on Facebook.
The virtual opening day consisted of highlights from last season, in-game activities and messages from players.
Wednesday was all about keeping fans engaged, Jumbo Shrimp general manager Harold Craw said.
“While everybody is bummed out people are still excited that it is supposed to be baseball and we get to engage with our fans,” he said.
Like most sports, tte Jumbo Shrimp aren’t sure when the next time they’ll be able to play a live game. Whenever that is, it will likely be without fans in the stands as the country adjusts to a new normal and life during a pandemic.
Last season, the team did a Two-for-Tuesday event with Dreams Come True where only two people were allowed in the ballpark. That may be a snapshot of what the games could look like when play resumes.
“It was an eerie feeling, wholesome, because we knew what we were doing,” Craw said. “And so I can only imagine not having the community able to be there and not having that feel-good story and having that sinking feeling that you just want fans to be there.”
Virtual opening day isn’t the same as going to a game, but that likely wouldn’t have mattered anyway. As bad weather pounded the area, the actual home opener would have likely been rained out.
The Jumbo Shrimp are working on a series of videos to post online every day during their first homestand to help keep fans entertained.