NORFOLK, Va. - Tuesday, the Norfolk Tides played their first home game in 623 days.
In celebration of the home opener, all fans in attendance received a 2021 magnetic schedule. For several folks at Harbor Park, two weeks from now - June 1st - will be a date to circle on that 2021 calendar.
Two weeks from Tuesday is when folks receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 show will be fully-vaccinated against the virus. And Tuesday at Harbor Park, like a double-play on the diamond, vaccinations and baseball teamed up during the Tides' home opener.
Harbor Park is a facility owned by the city of Norfolk. So, the Tides were approached by the city about hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and FEMA.
Therefore, during Tuesday's game, fans could receive the Johnson & Johnson shot inside Hits at the Park, the restaurant in the ballpark. And for doing so, they received a voucher to attend a Tides game for free later this season.
"I never imagined it in my life," newly-vaccinated Jim Nelson told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler Tuesday after receiving his shot. "I didn't even plan on getting one, but it was convenient."
"We try to go where the people are," Auvergene Larry, site manager for FEMA's COVID-19 vaccination site at Norfolk's Military Circle Mall explained. "We've been going into the communities, doing vaccinations at churches. "We did one at the YMCA, and now we're in the schools."
"For us, the players, everyone - the more vaccinations the sooner we'll get some of these restrictions relaxed," Tides general manager Joe Gregory noted. "So, I anticipate we'll have a player or two get vaccinated later on."