Rangers Allowing Max Capacity: The 2021 MLB season is right around the corner and teams are taking different approaches when handling the Covid-19 pandemic. To the surprise of many around the league the Texas Rangers announced they will be operating at full capacity, 40,518 fans have the opportunity to be in the stands.
This is a huge step for baseball as it has been over one year since the Coronavirus has entered the United States and vaccines are rolling out each day.
Last season the MLB did not allow fans at any regular-season game and all personnel in stadiums were approved, tested, and worked the event. Empty stadium seats were not fun to look at and at points, you were able to hear almost anything said on the field.
Teams decided to use different ways to bring fans into the stadium and that involved cardboard cutouts that fans had the option to purchase or even filling the seats with cardboard celebrities.
2020 MLB Playoffs
The NLCS Playoffs and the World Series were hosted in Arlington Texas at the brand new Globe Life Field and for the first time all season, the stadium was operating at 28 percent capacity which narrowed down to about 11,500 fans.
These series were the first times MLB fans were able to attend MLB games with strict social distancing and mask mandates.
Earlier this month Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that he was opening Texas back up fully, 100 percent open lifting the statewide mask mandate and all Covid-19 restrictions on businesses. With this move by the Rangers organization, it is believed that at least one Texas baseball team is listening to the Government and it will be interesting to see what the Houston Astros end up doing.
Rangers Executives Comment on Decision
“We’re not going to have the social distance seats available for Opening Day because we made a commitment to everybody [season ticket holders] that they could hold tickets if we would allow them for the proper Opening Day,” Rangers EVP and chief revenue and marketing officer Joe Januszewski said. “We’re going to honor that, so to do that, obviously we would be at a full capacity.”
For fans that do not feel safe, the Rangers are marking off some sections that will offer more space between fans and will be pods of two or four. The Rangers are implementing strict mask mandates in the stadium even though the state of Texas has lifted restrictions.
Globe Life Field will have hand sanitizer stations all over the stadium and social distancing will be enforced in all concession lines. The stadium will continue to operate without accepting cash as it did a year ago.
“We are pleased to play a part in people reasonably and responsibly coming back together,” Rangers’ president of business operations Niel Leibman said. “We expect it to be a very special Opening Day and I know I for one am extremely excited to have fans see our new stadium and watch some Texas Rangers baseball. It’s gonna require the cooperation of our guests and we’ve seen good cooperation in the past.”
Liebman understands that in this decision it will be up to the fans to cooperate to not let this opportunity go away.
Assessment on Decision
Overall, I feel that this is a very big decision from the Texas Rangers organization and one that many other organizations should consider. By no means are the Rangers forcing fans to come to the stadium if they do not feel safe and that is all that fans can ask for.
As a fellow MLB fan that misses going to the ballpark to enjoy a game, I simply want the option to go to the stadium as I would without a doubt take advantage of that opportunity and go. I have attended multiple sporting events at Hard Rock Stadium during the fall of last year and at no point did I feel unsafe or afraid of Covid-19.