NORFOLK, Va. - Coolest dog park, ever.
Archer, man's best friend to Norfolk Tides general manager Joe Gregory, walked freely up aisles, down concourses and through rows at Norfolk's Harbor Park this week - the home of the Tides, Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
However, Archer will not be alone in Harbor Park for long.
"I fully expect, May 18th, we're going to have fans here - as many as we're allowed," Gregory told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler.
As Major League Baseball opens its season Thursday, Minor League Baseball is still playing the waiting game. In early March, the start of the Triple-A season was pushed back from April to May. But Gregory says it would be quite a curve ball if the Tides are not on the diamond at Harbor Park May 18th for the scheduled home opener.
"I'd definitely be shocked," Gregory said when asked if he'd be surprised if his club isn't playing ball in May. "Part of me is glad they pushed the season back a month, just to give us time to get ready with logistical things booking hotels, buses and flights. It's exciting, but I'm also a little nervous. You want to do everything safe and do everything right. Tides baseball has been here since the 60s. It's been part of people's lives and summers for so long. I think it's important to get back to a little normalcy."
Soon, tickets will be available to purchase for home games - but only one month at a time. The slow roll-out is due to rapidly-changing COVID-19 restrictions in regard to capacity and social distancing.
"At 10 feet [of physical distancing], we have our seating pods," Gregory explained. "But then if you go to six feet, seats that were killed before are now open and ones that were open may have to be killed. Obviously we want to get as many fans in here safely as we can."
It will not be long until Archer the pup will have company at Harbor Park. And doggone it, it's about time.