Vanderbilt University is increasing fan capacity at its baseball stadium after members of the program left a weekend series at Tennessee impressed by the atmosphere in Knoxville amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commodores will attempt to bring a similar atmosphere home, with WKRN in Nashville reporting that Vanderbilt is increasing the attendance limit to 40 percent of Hawkins Field’s maximum capacity. With a max capacity of 3,700, about 1,480 fans will be allowed at Hawkins Field when the Commodores (28-6) host Austin Peay on Tuesday night.
The increased attendance comes in the wake of Nashville mayor John Cooper announced increased capacities and Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin praising Tennessee’s atmosphere following the Commodores’ 10-4 win over the Volunteers on Sunday.
“This environment here, I don’t know what we’re doing in Nashville, but there aren’t many empty seats now,” Corbin said. “Let me just tell you, COVID does not exist in Knoxville. There are a lot of people here having a good time, and sometimes at our expense.”
Vanderbilt athletics director Candice Storey Lee responded on Twitter by writing, “Like Coach Corbin, I’m eager to get back to ‘normal’ and fill our stands at Hawkins Field. We also understand that the dynamics in each metropolitan area are unique and the pandemic is ongoing.
“Local conditions continue to determine protocols, such as our venue capacity. We cannot exceed the capacity limits set by our partners at Metro Public Health. We are in constant communication with them and have increased attendance only when permitted.
“The good news is that the limit has increased and we will adjust starting this week. We are allowing as many fans as the established venue limitations allow. Thank you for your unending support of our student-athletes, especially during such a unique time.”