I went to Sunday night's Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park against the New York Mets. I didn't realize how much I'd missed being there.

The Phillies will forever be joined in my mind with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Back on March 9, 2020, my husband and I were scheduled to fly to Clearwater, Florida, to check out Phillies training camp for the first time ever.

But about 24-36 hours before our trip, we both started feeling ill (with what could have been coronavirus in hindsight). We both had body aches and high fevers, and with more and more news breaking about COVID, we decided to err on the side of caution and cancel our getaway.

Fast forward to Sunday, May 2nd when I finally felt safe enough to head back to Citizens Bank Park. And, it felt like I never left. Last year's baseball season amid the pandemic was a mess, was it not? The season started late, there were fewer games, no actual fans in the stands, and it just felt like we were living in some sort of alternate universe. I never did get used to seeing cardboard cut-outs of people faces in the seats rather than human bodies.

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I wasn't sure how I was going to feel going back to a Major League Baseball game, even though I'm now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but I got over the reservation quick. Every possible safety measure was in place to keep parkgoers feeling comfortable, including hand sanitizer stations everywhere I looked. All purchases, including the 50/50, were non-cash transactions, there were no fountain sodas available, and there were mask monitors walking up and down the aisles to ensure everyone was playing by CBP rules. FYI, you do have to wear a face covering even when seated if you're not eating or drinking at that moment.

Although CBP is not yet full capacity for games (with many seats zip-tied off to allow for social distancing), the smaller crowd didn't take away from any excitement. Phillies fans were still cheerful, Mets fans were still obnoxious (lol), and enthusiasm for the game was high. Even though the Phillies lost in spite of a late 9th inning homer by Rhys Hoskins, it felt good to be back looking up at the lights, watching the bell above center field ring, and belt out 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'. Ooh! And I even got a free pink JT Realmuto t-shirt as a parting gift.

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