All was relatively normal at Globe Life Field on Monday, as the Texas Rangers hosted major American sports’ first full-capacity event since COVID-19 shut everything down last spring.
According to CNN, 38,238 fans paid to attend the Rangers’ 6-2 home loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Globe Life Field, which opened last season in Arlington, Texas, has an overall capacity of 40,518.
"It felt like it was my debut all over again. It was a good feeling to just have the crowd there cheering us on," Rangers infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa said after the game, which was played with the retractable roof open. "I think the introduction when I first came out early in the game, that was probably one of the coolest moments of my career to this date."
The Rangers are the only MLB team currently not limiting the number of fans that can be in attendance for games. It wasn’t a completely normal atmosphere at Globe Life Field, as the Rangers’ health and safety guidelines still require fans to wear face masks except when eating and drinking. Social distancing is also scheduled on the concourse, while there are hand-sanitizing stations throughout the stadium, which is only accepting mobile ticketing and contact-free payments.
“Since it’s at full capacity, that was something that we gave a lot of thought about,” fan Susanna Frare told The Associated Press of her family’s decision to attend the game. “But since masks are required and we’re doing our part and we know that the ballpark is doing their part to keep everything clean and sanitized as much as possible, we just thought it was worth it to come on out here.”
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Last month, Texas governor Greg Abbott removed mask restrictions and allowed businesses to open at 100 percent capacity.
“We expect there to be good cooperation and adherence to the mask requirement from Rangers fans,” Rangers executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick said when the team announced that they would welcome a full crowd. “We saw that for the exhibition games. It's not perfect, but the vast majority of our fans are doing the right thing. In spite of the challenges that the pandemic presents, there is a safe way and a responsible way to conduct events. We look forward to doing that.”
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