Springfield Cardinals require masks, social distancing and no bags, cash at games

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 9:51 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield Cardinals are back after their season last year was canceled due to the pandemic. Vice President and General Manager Dan Reiter says he’s excited for baseball to be back, but this year there will be new protocols.

Fans are required to social distance and wear masks to keep themselves, other fans and the players safe. Reiter says fans are being asked to pay with a debit or credit card if you plan on purchasing tickets at the stadium along with food, drinks or souvenirs.

Reiter said it’s emotional being back inside the stadium and he’s ready for a great season.

Last week the Springfield Cardinals released a statement on how the organization was “extremely disappointed” over prices planned for two parking areas near Hammons Field. The team does not own or operate parking lots that surround the stadium.

”We’re encouraging all fans to do what is best for them but we do hope people find alternate parking,” said Reiter. “We hope they don’t support them. We hope they don’t do business with them. We know that for some they’re going to feel like it’s best to park there. We do hope people find alternate ways.”

Two of the closer parking options include a parking lot south of the stadium between East Trafficway Street and St. Louis Street and a parking garage a few blocks west near the Expo Center. The properties are owned by Atrium Hospitality and JD Holdings.

According to the Springfield Cardinals statement, both parking areas plan to charge $20 for every game this season.

Bryan Williams has been a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan his whole life and when the Minor League Baseball team came to Springfield he was even more excited. He created a Facebook Page to inform fans on alternate parking. Williams said the two companies are hurting not only the fans but the city .

“The Springfield Cardinals Organization is very important to the community,” said Williams. “It’s very important to the city. It’s very important to tourist and revenue. When you have a family wanting to drive in from West Plains or from Strafford to see a ballgame. That $20 for parking may push them to may not come to Springfield to not have lunch at a restaurant to not go to the baseball game and spend time in the city.”

The statement adds: “As recently as last week the Cardinals were led to believe that the price for this season was going to be $15 for all games. While this amount is still high, the Cardinals feel the actions by Atrium Hospitality and JD Holdings to further increase rates to $20 are intentional, purposeful and hurtful to fans, once again waiting until right before the home opener to communicate this outrageous price.”

While the Springfield Cardinals did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has expressed concerns over parking for ball games dating back to the 2019 season.

During the 2019 season, two privately-owned parking lots, owned by JD Holdings LLC and Plaza Realty & Management Services, charged $14 for Monday-Thursday games and $20 for weekend games to park close to the stadium. In previous years, both sites offered game day parking for $7.

In February 2020, the Springfield Cardinals franchise filed a lawsuit against the John Q. Hammons Trust Fund and investment firm, JD Holdings, the entities took over as landlords for the stadium and parking lot south of the stadium following Hammons’ death and subsequent bankruptcy proceedings.

The lawsuit, filed in Greene County, accuses the trust holders of “gauging fans” for parking and letting the stadium upkeep lapse to the point where it is no longer in the top 25% of Texas League ballparks. That stipulation was part of the Cardinals agreement with the JQH Trust Fund.

The long list of improvements that the Cardinals have been asking for from their landlords would total more than $8 million.

In past seasons, there were other parking options available at a lower price or free that required a longer walk to Hammons Field. These included spots at Jordan Valley Ice Park, Ebbets Field Bar and Grill and Ozarks Technical College.

Two years ago, in an effort to draw fans, the Cardinals offered a free shuttle service ran to-and-from the stadium for one of the free parking sites at Ozarks Technical College. However, the Cardinals are not planning to offer such a service to start the new season due to pandemic precautions.

According to Friday’s statement, the Springfield Cardinals franchise has “immediately requested discounted parking for disabled fans, but Springfield Parking Company, the managing entity for 2021, could only comment that decisions on pricing were ultimately decided by Atrium Hospitality.”

Fans with parking concerns can contact the Cardinals Ticket Information line at 417-832-3097 for more information.

The Cardinals will host the Wichita Wind Surge in Tuesday’s home opener with the first pitch at 6:35 p.m.

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