JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There hasn’t been a baseball game on Bragan Field since 2019.
Since then, the stadium changed its name from the Baseball Grounds to 121 Financial Ballpark, and COVID-19 has changed the way the world looks at large gatherings like sporting events.
“It has been a pretty good little while here since we have seen athletes take the field, players to take the field, and the wackiness that gets us involved in baseball, so, yeah, awhile,” said Jumbo Shrimp general manager Harold Craw.
The Jacksonville baseball drought will finally come to an end on Feb. 12 when Raines and Ribault will hit the field for the High School Heritage Classic. Just over a month later, the JAX Diamond Classic between Edward Waters and Savannah State will be held on March 22.
In a few weeks when fans finally return to the ballpark to watch baseball, things will be different than they were the last time they watched a game.
“The one thing we will do with our rules and our protocols is keeping them similar to what they have been throughout the summer,” Craw said. “As long as you are moving inside or around 121 Financial Ballpark, you must be wearing a face coving. Once you are seated in place in your seat you may remove your face covering.”
While 121 Financial Ballpark has not hosted a game since COVID-19 began, fans have had the chance to attend other events there like bingo and movie night. Those events have helped the Jumbo Shrimp prepare for when fans return to the park for a ball game.
“I have a lot of grey hair already, but it really does help in the idea that we have seen have other areas of our stadium were active throughout the summer, so that gives us a foundation to build off of,” Craw said.