The sweet sounds of baseball are almost back at "The Joe." We're just two weeks away from the ValleyCats' home opener.

“This is what we work for," general manager Matt Callahan said. "Creating that fan experience and giving people a chance to enjoy a night at the ball park.”

But before you grab your gear and head to The Joe, there are some things you need to know.

What You Need To Know

  • The ValleyCats will have COVID-19 protocols in place this summer

  • There will be different sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated people

  • GM Matt Callahan says they are dedicated to the fan experience and keeping everyone safe

“We will have some sections with a higher capacity, where there are vaccinated sections offered," Callahan said. "We’ll also have some socially distant seating for folks who are not vaccinated, or are more comfortable being spaced out. So that’s how we’re planning on starting the season.”

Under current guidance, fans who are not vaccinated will not have to provide proof of a negative test before entering, but fans will have to show proof of a vaccine if they wish to sit in a non-socially distant section.

“I think it opens up the opportunity for more fans to attend," Callahan says. "We encourage everybody to practice their own safe practices to make sure the experience remains fun and safe. But we’re looking forward to opening up the gates and getting people in here, keeping them safe and making sure they enjoy a nice baseball game.”

Asked if the protocols will affect the fan experience, he said, ”I think to start the year, the fan experience is going to look a little bit different. Our goal is to provide that fun-filled, affordable entertainment. I think we’ll be able to do that. So, I think things may be tweaked to start the year, but I think we’ll be able to do more and more as the season and summer goes on.”

Callahan adds he is cautiously optimistic the park will fill up at some point this summer.

“I think that’s the direction we’re heading," he said. "The world seems to be progressing. We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress against the pandemic, and I think that’s going to continue. Obviously, there are no guarantees, but as things open up and we’re able to do that safely, we absolutely hope to have more people here.”

Guidance from the state is likely to change over the next couple of weeks, but Callahan says the Valleycats are ready to adapt and change their protocols.