Red Wings hold first game of the season without COVID-19 restrictions |

Red Wings hold first game of the season without COVID-19 restrictions

Stephanie Duprey
Created: June 16, 2021 11:20 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Wednesday night was a great night for a ball game. For the first time in a long time, Frontier Field was full of fans, and they were able to sit wherever they wanted regardless of vaccination status.

News10NBC caught up with fans and veteran employees of the stadium. Jim Newman said for him, game day is a big deal.

"I've been working red wings games for over 50 years,” Newman said.

Newman said it brings a smile to his face to not only watch his favorite sport in person, and fans too.

"It’s been a joy to walk around and see the people and to have people recognize me so that’s nice,” Newman said.

Newman also likes any opportunity he can get to visit his signature on a baseball mitt that sits on the glove statue inside the stadium.

"It's been 10 or 15 years since I signed it and I've got 'Jim hello Newman on it,'” Newman said.

Seats were filled with people, good food, beers and smiles. Many people even spent time just walking around the stadium itself. When it comes to lifted restrictions, one fan told us it feels like freedom, not having to mask up, as well as not having to sit in sections designated by vaccination status.

“It's liberating, it gives me a sense of hope you know, it won't be normal but it will be something new, like a restart,” Douglas Smith told us while coming out of the team store. 

Smith said it's been way too long since he's gotten some new gear too. He says everyone has something special in particular that they're looking forward to especially now with the pandemic on its way out. For him, it's baseball.

"Baseball, baseball, who doesn't like baseball,” Smith said.

Vaccination status will not be checked. Team officials say they do ask people to follow the current CDC guidance, asking unvaccinated fans to mask up when they're not eating or drinking.

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