CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cal Quantrill liked having fans back in the stands and No. 47 on his back Sunday as he opened the spring-training season for the Indians with two scoreless innings at Goodyear Ballpark.
A socially-distanced, coronavirus-induced sellout of 2,211 was on hand to watch the Indians beat the Reds, 5-1. The game ended after eight innings due to an agreement between the two teams based on MLB’s health and safety protocols.
“Oh, it was awesome,” said Quantrill, when asked about pitching in front of fans. “It felt real again. It’s exciting. Very thankful to have some fans in the stands again and hopefully we’ll continue to be able to have more and more.
“But yeah, maybe we didn’t realize what we were missing. It was great seeing people out there today.”
Last year MLB played its 60-game regular season in empty ballparks because of the pandemic. There were a limited number of fans allowed to attend games in the postseason. MLB and state authorities in Arizona and Florida have allowed a limited number of fans to attend spring-training games this year based on a percentage of a ballpark’s capacity.
Quantrill, who struck out one and walked one, said he switched from No. 38 to No. 47 to honor his father, Paul, who pitched 14 years in the big leagues.
“My dad wore 46, 48, 49, trying to be a little different, but pay some homage to him I…