The Chattanooga Lookouts, whether during their days at Engel Stadium or in recent years at AT&T Field, have a respected history of balancing Class AA baseball with various entertainment acts to delight those in attendance.
This year, it will be more about the action provided by the players.
Chattanooga's 120-game schedule is rapidly approaching, with the Lookouts set to open May 4 at home against the Rocket City Trash Pandas. There will be baseball, food and beverages, and team paraphernalia available inside the 6,340-seat facility that sat silent last year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, but fans will notice a different feel due to the continuing pandemic even before Chattanooga's opening day starter faces Rocket City's leadoff batter.
"This year in minor league baseball, they are not going to allow national anthems on the field," Lookouts president Rich Mozingo said. "They're not going to allow first pitches on the field. They're not going to allow bat boys on the field, so they're surely not going to allow entertainers to come in and be out on the field.
"At this moment, we don't have any performers lined up for the year. We're going to have some giveaways at the gates, but as far as performers on the field, we're 0-for-this season right this minute."
The Famous Chicken has been baseball's most recognized entertainment act for more than 40 years, and the Lookouts were able to host Ted Giannoulas, the man inside that famous suit, several times at both Engel and AT&T. The inflatable Zooperstars have become popular in recent seasons, but Major League Baseball is sending down the directives now to the minor league affiliates, and field access will pretty much be limited to managers, coaches, players, umpires and whenever grounds crew members are needed.
Chattanooga previously announced that the first Friday game each month at AT&T will be followed by fireworks and that a used car will be given away at every Saturday night home contest. Those evenings should have Lookouts fans appreciating at least a little return to normalcy, as should those games in which mini bats or Joey Votto bobbleheads are given away.
Out on the field, however, it will be baseball and baseball only, and Mozingo doesn't see that changing as the months transpire.
"I've been on two Major League conference calls and a bunch of other conference calls," Mozingo said, "and we will ask, 'What if? What if?' When we do, everyone keeps saying, 'We don't see the field bubble going away all year, regardless.'
"That's one I just think doesn't get lifted."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.