ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – Baseball is back in more ways than one in Anaheim.
In what marks the Southland’s first major sporting event with fans in attendance in more than a year, the Los Angeles Angels will kick off the season against the Chicago White Sox Thursday night.
It will also be the first time Angel Stadium has had fans for a regular-season baseball game since Sept. 29, 2019.
Orange County on Wednesday moved into the orange tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening blueprint, allowing 33% capacity at outdoor sporting events.
That means that the approximately 45,000-seat Angel Stadium can have up to 15,000 fans.
Since perennial all-star Mike Trout made his debut with the Angels in 2011, the team has reached the playoffs once — in 2014, when they were swept by the Kansas City Royals in an American League Division Series.
Hopes for a playoff berth increased last season when the playoff field for each league was expanded by three to eight teams. However, the Angels again missed the playoffs, finishing the coronavirus-shortened season with a 26-34 record, matching Kansas City for the 10th-best record in the 15-team league.
The Angels will celebrate their 60th anniversary as a franchise in 2021. The diamond anniversary will be recognized with a 60th anniversary patch affixed to the left side of Angels hats, baseballs will feature the 60th anniversary logo and commemorative base jewels will be used at Angel Stadium.
Last September, the Anaheim City Council approved a finalized deal to sell Angel Stadium to the team’s owner for $150 million in cash, in exchange for a commitment to keep the team in Anaheim through at least 2050.
First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)