BOZEMAN — At Heroes Park this Friday night, the Bozeman Bucks can finally have some fans in the stands as a part of Phase 2 of Governor Steve Bullock's plan to reopen Montana after the coronavirus pandemic halted regular activities.
“It makes for a really fun atmosphere to have some rowdy folks cheering us on," said Bucks head coach Garrett Schultz. "Our community really supports us, they invest in our program, we want to put on a good show. "
The team has only had family in the stands since it began to play but can now have up to have 500 people in the stadium. That is more than the Bucks usually draw, even without social distancing guidelines.
“I think we’ll probably get close to that, especially early as there’s not a lot else going on," Schultz said. "If we get close to that number, that should make for a pretty fun atmosphere.”
With slightly fewer games this year, the community's support will help the team to fund everyday expenses. Ticket sales and concessions make up 30 percent of the Bucks' revenue.
“It allows us to improve our field," said Schultz. "It allows us to travel. We have a pretty nice bus, we have equipment, the cost of baseballs, coaches, the whole deal.”
Even though they don’t have to take many precautions, the Bucks have plans in place to keep fans socially distant.
"Socially distancing is still in place," said Schultz. "The areas of focus are like the concession stand where we got to keep people distanced there. There’s going to be an option to get your order in and go sit down and actually have it delivered. We’re opening up multiple exits, so that not everybody is bottle-necked at the same time when we leave the facility, sanitizing stations throughout the ballpark, still very limited on the gear we share in the dugouts."
For Schultz, he’s excited to show the town what the defending state champions are made of.
“We want to represent our community well and be proud of the product we put on the field and show it off a little bit,” he said.