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Data: Axios research; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

22 of 30 MLB stadiums will increase to 100% capacity by the end of the month, and all but five stadiums will fill up by the end of the Fourth of July weekend.

By the numbers: On Opening Day (April 1), only the Astros (50%) and Rangers (100%) filled their stadiums at least halfway.

  • Two months later, 11 teams are at full capacity, 10 more allow at least 50% and just one is still below 20% — and the Mariners are set to increase that next week.
  • Eager fans are ready to come out to the park, too: A record 63% of fans feel comfortable attending an outdoor sporting event, per a Morning Consult poll.

The big picture: This has all been made possible by our nation's rapid rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine: 42% of the U.S. is fully vaccinated, up from just 17% on Opening Day.

  • Teams are doing a great job, too, as 20 clubs have reached the requisite 85% vaccination threshold to trigger relaxed safety protocols, and two more are set to join them next week.

The state of play: All but six teams have played at least 60 games so far, which last year would have meant the end of the ultra-condensed — and fan-less — regular season.

  • This year, we're fortunately treated to a full slate of 162 games, but just for fun, let's check in on what the playoffs would look like if the season ended today.
  • AL playoff picture: Rays (39-24); White Sox (37-24); A's (37-26); Red Sox (37-25, WC1); Astros (35-26, WC2)
  • NL playoff picture: Mets (30-24); Cubs (35-27); Giants (38-23); Dodgers (36-25, WC1); Padres (37-27, WC2)

The bottom line: With nearly five more months of baseball to go and stadiums planning full-capacity crowds nationwide, it's going to be a good summer for America's pastime.

Humans aren't the only ones returning to the ballpark: Tampa's Ray Tank returned to Tropicana Field's outfield Wednesday, writes Axios Tampa Bay's Selene San Felice.

Go deeper

The rays are returning to Tropicana Field's outfield tank

The Rays Touch Tank at Tropicana Field in 2019. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Here's yet another sign that Tampa Bay is rounding the bases to a new beginning.

What's happening: The Ray Tank returns to Tropicana Field's outfield Wednesday, with the touch experience coming back on June 22.

Updated 45 mins ago - Health

White House acknowledges U.S. will miss July 4 vaccination goal

Fireworks in New York City to celebrate the state reaching a 70% vaccination rate. Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Biden administration acknowledged on Tuesday that it will likely miss its goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4.

Why it matters: Despite falling short of the goal, the White House still believes most Americans will be safe to fully celebrate Independence Day, as COVID-19 cases and deaths remain at low levels throughout much of the country.

Exclusive: Quartz, NYT vets launch new media company about work

Photo credit: Emma Howells for Charter

Quartz co-founders Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, along with New York Times veteran Erin Grau, are launching a new media and services company called "Charter" that is centered around the future of work, the founders told Axios.

Why it matters: "There are other media companies that write about this topic — some occasionally and some more frequently, but it's one topic among many things that they do," Delaney said. "This is a driving focus for us."